Chapter 50 : Happily Ever After
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On the other side of this picture was a picture of a baby girl seated in a bathtub, blinking innocently up at the picture taker. Her little tufts of red hair were sticking up from bath shampoo. Her laughing mum darted in and out of the picture, fixing the disgruntled child's hair so that it kept sticking up. A picture of a small boy was placed on the other side of the wedding picture. He looked about five years old, and he was seated next to his father. The two were wearing identical facial expressions, their bodies formed the same way. They were seated on the edge of the couch, watching a quidditch game with wide eyes. They jumped up and punched their fists into the air at the exact same moment. In the corner of the picture, almost out of sight, the two women of the house exchanged laughing glances and rolled their eyes, giving off the impression that this was a regular occurrence in the Weasley household.
On the other side of this picture was a picture of the annual Weasley-Potter Quidditch match. The picture depicted Hermione scoring a goal on a very shocked Ron, leading Harry to fall off his broom in surprise, and Ginny to almost tip over from her gasps of laughter. Hugo and Lily stood shocked on the ground with Rose, the picture taker, and James watched his parents, laughing. Teddy Lupin was up in the air, a beater's bat in his hand, and he was bobbing up and down next to Albus, who was trying to calculate, inside of his head, how Aunt Hermione could ever score on Uncle Ron. Next to the picture of the baby girl was a picture of all the current Weasleys/Potters/Lupins, taken by an enthusiastic Mr. Weasley, who darted into the picture at the last minute, a cheesy grin spreading across his face. James was giving Al bunny ears, and Rose was glancing up at the camera with a surprised look on her face, as if she had been so lost in her book she couldn't remember how she'd gotten into this position. Teddy and Victoire kept throwing each other secretive glances when they were sure the other wasn't looking, blushing whenever they happened to be.
Next to this photo was one that neither Rose nor Hugo really understood. It depicted Hermione posing with a beautiful woman with pale skin, auburn hair, and neon green eyes. It was the only picture on the mantle that wasn't moving. Although Rose had been told many times that this woman was her namesake, the only attention Rose Senior ever got was a single question:
“Why is she on our mantle?”
At which Ron would watch as Hermione bent down to Rose's level and said,
“She, my love, is the reason you are here.”
Of course, then, Rose said that she thought she was there because daddy put the broomstick through the hoop, and Hermione would laugh as Ron flushed and tell Rose that someday soon she would know the whole story. The final picture on the other side of the mantle was a signed photo. Neither Ron nor Hermione really wanted in up, but both agreed that sometimes they needed it. Colin Love had his arms spread out wide, Ron and Hermione squirming uncomfortably as they were pressed back against his arms. Written below the logo for The Perfect Match were handwritten words and a flourishy signature. Above the name, Colin Love, was a request. Don't make me say I told you so. Then, written underneath in parenthesis: I told you so.
On both ends of the mantle were two large bouquets of roses. Both had the same amount, and none of these roses had ever had to be replaced in their eleven years of existence. Each rose had a tag on it's stem. The Perfect Match date one. The Perfect Match date seven. The mantle described the Weasley's relationship, their wedding, their children, the road they had taken to get to where they were. Both Ron and Hermione often sat on their couch and looked at the pictures, at everyone that they cared about. They now laughed at how silly and young they were before they were married. Hermione often said that it felt like another life, another world, even. As you neared the couple, you could tell that they were laughing together, identically happy smiles etched onto their faces.
“So, really, Ginny got the better end of the deal, and she hasn't got anything to complain about. When Rose starts dating a guy you've never even met, you'll have no problem beating him up, as he isn't Harry.”
“Rubbish.” Ron said, kissing the top of his wife's head. “That's why we had Hugo.”
Hermione side glanced at Ron, her mouth spreading into a mischievous grin.
“No, now, if I remember correctly, we had Hugo because you went on a three month mission and I'd really missed you.”
“Oh, yeah,” Ron grinned, the tips of his ears, to his credit, only going slightly pink. “But that's not what we're telling the grandchildren.”
“Of course not.” Hermione nodded, adjusting her position so that she was sitting more towards her husband. “I can't believe she's going to Hogwarts in just three years. She grew up so fast.”
“Knowing you, you'll be saying the exact same thing when Hugo goes to Hogwarts.”
“Very true!” Hermione laughed. Then she frowned. “Ron, I know we've been holding off on telling Rosie about the war, but I think we're going to have to before she goes.”
“I know. I agree. Can you imagine her roaming the same halls as we did and not knowing everything we went through there?”
“Well, I'm pretty sure she'd find out sometime. And who better to tell her then us?”
“We did live it.” Ron agreed.
“I heard from Ernie McMillan's wife that they even added Harry and the second war to Binn's notes.”
“Someone gave Binns new notes? Blimey, can you imagine? I can just see the look on his...”
Ron's speech was suddenly interrupted by the piano playing entirely by itself. He opened his mouth to ask Hermione about it, but suddenly words written in delicate cursive floated into midair. Weasley Potter Productions Present they read, and Ron let out a loud groan just as the words vanished and turned into new ones. The Love Life and Times of Ron and Hermione Weasley.
“Oh god.” Ron said, just as Hermione cried, “That's Ginny's handwriting!”
Starring Rose and Hugo Weasley as younger Ron and Hermione.
“Our own offspring!” Ron hissed to Hermione.
Albus Potter as young Harry Potter.
Lily Potter as Ginny Weasley.
James Potter in various parts, and also as older Harry.
Teddy Lupin as Viktor Krum and also older Ron.
Victoire Weasley as older Hermione.
Beside her, she heard Ron's knuckles crack, and she immediately covered his hand with her own. Suddenly, Hugo and Al sprang out from behind the kitchen doors, both sporting faux Hogwarts robes. They sat down on two chairs facing each other, and Al stuck his hand out.
“Hi, Al. I'm Ron Weasley. What's your name?” Hugo asked.
“Oh, I'm Harry Potter.” Al said, puffing his chest out and adjusting the pair of glasses he was wearing. He sighed and turned towards the kitchen. “Mum, my glasses are too loose!”
Ginny's (dead) head poked out of the kitchen door and she glared at her son.
“Al, it'll be fine. Get on with it!”
“Right,” Al said, turning back to Hugo. “Nice to meet you, Hugo.”
“Nice to meet you, Al.” Hugo replied.
Suddenly, a petite figure burst into the room, clutching a book to her chest. Rose walked into the compartment, put her hands on her hips, and said,
“You have dirt on your noooooose.” Suddenly, she spotted Al and started jumping up and down. “Ohmigod! YOU'RE HARRY POTTER!”
Ron smirked as Hermione's hand flew to her mouth.
“I did not sound like that.” she hissed, and Ron nodded and patted her hand sympathetically.
“Yeah, I am.” Al said. Both children turned toward Hugo. At the sight of his cousin and sister's eyes on him, Hugo started looking frantically around the room, suddenly spotting something on the mantle. He grabbed the package, which, upon further inspection Hermione realized to be a pumpkin pasty wrapper, then opened it and stuffed it into his mouth.
“Hugo! Manners!” Hermione cried, just as he opened his mouth and said to Rose,
“I'b Won Wethwee.”
Three desks moved into the room and set themselves up next to each other. The three children hurried to sit down.
“It's levioooosa. Not leviosaaaa!” Rose insisted in her terrible posh voice. James emerged from the kitchen wearing a tall wizard's hat. “Yes, Professor Flitwick?” Rose said in a sickeningly sweet voice.
“You got a 112 on your charms exam.” James squeaked. Hugo turned to Rose.
“You're a know it all. I hate you.” He said. She burst into false sobs and went to sit in the corner of the room. James once again burst through the kitchen door, roaring, and this time dressed in a troll costume, accessorized with a tin foil club.
“I AM A TROLL!” James yelled, and Hugo, Al, and Rose all attempted to stifle their giggles by pressing their hands to their mouths.
“I'LL SAVE YOU, HERMIONE!” Hugo yelled, grabbing a piece of wood as his wand. With a few slashes of the useless weapon, James roared and fell to the ground.
“Oh, Ron!” Rose cried, rushing over to Hugo.
“That's right. I'm awesome. Now let's go eat.”
The play progressed to show Hugo being knocked out by a giant chess piece (once again being played by James) and Rose rushing over to him, sobbing.
“Please don't leave me, Ron.” she slurred between her surprisingly convincing fake tears. After a few seconds of this dramatic crying, Hugo sprung up and said,
“I am not going to tell you I love you, Hermione, because I am an insensitive jerk.”
From the kitchen, Hermione heard Ginny snicker. Looking over at Ron, she noticed that his face had turned bright red. Laughing into her hand, Hermione watched as the words second year flew into the room. Hugo got up and started pacing, looking extremely woebegone.
“Hermione has been petrified.” he sighed, sounding a lot like Eeyore. “And earlier this year she was turned into a cat.” (Hermione buried her face into Ron's shoulder) “She was a lovely cat.”
“You were.” Ron whispered, just as Rose waltzed into the room. She noticed Hugo, then jumped into his arms and threw her arms around his waist. After a few seconds of hugging each other so hard it looked like they were trying to kill each other (as a matter of fact, they probably were, seeing as they were brother and sister and tended to take advantage of the fact that hugging meant that they were actually allowed to squeeze each other as hard as they possibly could), Rose pulled away and walked back into the kitchen. Hugo turned toward his parents, blinking, and said,
“That was nice. I liked it. But I'd bet she likes Harry, so it's not going to occur again until I'm seventeen.”
With that, the words third year floated before the set, and Hugo ran to the kitchen to grab something. He came back holding a rat, Animal, who was James', and Rose's kitty, Crookshanks JR.
“Look! Scabbers is shivering in fear!” Hugo said.
“Because of Crookshanks?” Rose asked incredulously.
“Yeah. He's going to eat my rat!”
“Hmph.” Rose said, and then she turned on her heel and walked into the back of the room. Everything went dark for a second, and then Hugo's voice could be heard crying,
“MY RAT! HE'S GONE! THERE'S BLOOD! HE'S DEAD!”
The lights turned on, and Hugo bolted over to Rose, who was petting Crookshanks.
“What is it, Ron?” she asked disdainfully.
“Your cat ate my rat.” Hugo seethed. Rose yawned complacently.
“Sure he did.”
“I hate you!” Hugo said again.
“I hate you too!” Rose shouted. Then she got up and started walking towards James, who was wearing a blond wig. Rose punched him in the nose, and he let out a loud yelp.
“Oh, my NOSE!” he cried, writhing on the floor and milking the fake punch for all he was worth.
“That felt good.” Rose breathed, turning around and beaming.
Hugo nudged Al.
“I am extremely turned on right now.”
“HOLD IT!” Hermione jumped up, holding her arm out. “Ginevra Potter, how could you have my six year old child say that?”
Rose and Hugo blinked up at their mum as Ginny walked out of the kitchen and crossed her arms.
“He doesn't know what it means.” she said, looking annoyed as she backed back into the kitchen.
Hermione bent down in front of Hugo.
“Do you know what that means, love?” she asked.
“No.” Hugo said honestly.
“Okay, fine.” Hermione said, and she sat back onto the couch next to a very amused Ron, muttering incoherent sentences about difference in parenting styles. She snuggled closer to Ron as Fourth Year came into play, and he automatically started to stroke her hair. Rose, Al, and Hugo all sat side by side on a bench as Lily and Teddy walked into the room, seven year old Lily was in a blue dress, Teddy in a fur collar.
“She's pretty.” Hugo said, pointing to Lily.
“Look at him! Oh, he's dreamy!” Rose swooned in the direction of Teddy. Just then, James walked into the room, sporting a gray beard and purple robes.
“That's Viktor Krum.” he said in a whithered voice, “And that's Fleur Delecour. There's going to be a tournament. And a ball. Thank you.”
Then he left the room.
“A ball!” Rose squealed. “Oh my gosh! What am I going to wear? Who shall I go with?” She looked over at Hugo, then started to gaze longingly Teddy.
“I wasn't like that!” Hermione said loudly. “Besides, I fancied Ron at that point.”
“Shhhh!” Rose said, putting her hands on her hips and doing an awfully Hermione-like movement.
“She can't use that look on me,” Hermione whispered to Ron, her brows knit together furiously. “I gave her that look!”
Ron chuckled and moved his hand from Hermione's hair down to her back, where he proceeded to rub it in soothing circles.
“I don't know what made me do it.” Hugo groaned, sitting down on the floor and hiding his head in his hands. Suddenly he looked up. “Hey! You're a girl!”
“Well spotted.” Rose said, rolling her eyes.
“Come with me to the ball!” Hugo suggested brightly.
“No.” Rose said shortly.
“C'mon. It's alright for a guy to go alone, but for a girl it's kind of pitiful.” Hugo said tauntingly.
“I will not go to the ball with you, and I won't be going alone, because believe it or not somebody has already asked me!” Rose hissed, standing up and winking at Teddy. He winked back, trying not to laugh, and Hermione realized that Aunt Ginny must have been paying him a lot of money to do this.
“WHO'RE YOU GOING WITH!” Hugo yelled.
“Inside voices, Hugo.” Hermione said, and once again Rose rolled her eyes as she said her line.
“It's a surprise.”
Everyone walked into the kitchen, where Hermione and Ron could hear Ginny handing them clothing and the pieces being put on over their Hogwarts costumes. All of the actors returned at the same time, looking dashing in their yule ball outfits. All six of the children started to dance with someone, James prancing around the room by himself. Hugo glared at Rose while she danced with Teddy, or, Krum. Finally, the group broke apart when Hugo started bellowing at Rose.
“HE'S USING YOU!”
“WHAT? NO, HE'S NOT!”
“YES... HE IS! HE'S TRYING TO GET TO YOU THROUGH HARRY!”
“Well you know what the solution is, right?” Rose asked, looking near tears.
“NO!” Hugo responded, still yelling.
“Next time there's a dance, ask me before someone else does, and not just as a last resort.”
Ron squeezed Hermione's hand, and she squeezed back. Just then, Rose stomped off and Hugo sat down and started to cry.
“Okay, that is not what happened.” Ron protested, jumping out of his seat.
“What? You didn't cry over me?” Hermione asked in mock horror.
“Well... I did... but not when anyone else was around and they were very manly sobs. Yeah, they were man sobs!”
“Man sobs?” Hermione asked, bursting out into hysterical laughter.
“Shut up.” Ron said, and Hermione patted his arm, half amused, half sympathetic as Ginny poked her head out of the kitchen and stuck her tongue out at Ron.
“That was for the comment you made at Sunday night dinner two weeks ago.” she said smugly. Ron started to swear at her, but Hermione roughly grabbed his arm and pulled him down.
“Please, do not swear in front of our children, Ron.” Hermione said, glaring at him. “God forbid one of them turns out like you did.”
Ginny snorted as she ushered the children back into the kitchen to put on their Hogwarts robes.
“I thought you liked the way I turned out!” Ron said indignantly.
“Well, I do, but I wouldn't want my son to have any of your bad traits.”
Ron's retort was drowned out by a shushing noise as the children walked back into room, along with the words Fifth Year. Rose started walking along the length of the room, her eyes fierce.
“It's sort of fun, isn't it? Breaking the rules, I mean.”
“Who are you and what have you done with Hermione Weas- er- Granger?”
Rose stopped and stamped her foot impatiently.
“Hugo, you ALWAYS mess up that line! Mum wasn't always a Weasley. She was a Granger for twenty three years, and then she fell in love with dad and got married to him! And then we came along when her name was Weasley.”
“Okay, that's enough.” Ginny said, pushing Harry out into the scene. Hermione raised her eyebrows at him, and he threw her a guilty smile.
“Can't you put a leash on your wife?” Ron asked, and Hermione slapped his hand and gestured for Harry to proceed. He cleared his throat, then picked Rose up. Her face turned red, and Hermione realized that Harry was tickling her instead of just holding her. Rose, however, refused to back out of character, just because Uncle Harry was making her scream with laughter.
“Grawp! NO!” Rose squealed between giggles. Hugo ran at his Uncle's leg and started punching it. Finally, Rose pointed her finger at Harry and said, “Grawp! Put. Me. Down.”
Grinning, Harry put down his niece, and everyone rushed out of the room.
Act Two came into view, and Teddy, Victoire and James came out and started chopping things up.
“Slughorn's having a Christmas party.” Victoire said casually.
“Oh. I expect you'll be going with McLaggen.” Teddy replied scathingly.
“I was going to ask you, actually.” Victoire said, rounding on him with a pink face. Teddy and Victoire were much better actors than Hugo and Al, and a little better then Rose, so the storyline suddenly became more interesting.
“Oh.” Teddy turned to Victoire with wide and hopeful eyes.
“But if you'd rather I go with McLaggen...” Victoire said angrily, averting her gaze.
“No. I wouldn't.” Teddy took a deep breath. “I want... well, I want to go with you.”
Slowly, tentatively, Victoire reached over and took Teddy's hand. He smiled at her.
“Wait- that doesn't make sense.” Hermione said. “We didn't hold hands until we were seventeen.”
Ginny emerged from the kitchen mid eye roll.
“Well, you guys are unbelievably slow and boring. I had to take some liberties.”
“Wow, Ginny.” Ron said, shaking his head. “If you're going to recreate our love story, at least do it right.”
Victoire and Teddy looked at each other uncertainly.
“Oh, continue.” Hermione and Ron said simultaneously. Teddy stood up, and James walked over to Teddy. They both headed into the kitchen. A few seconds later, they burst through the door, Teddy with a remarkably red face.
“MY SISTER SNOGGED DEAN?” he yelled. “WHAT? I THOUGHT SHE WAS A PERFECT LITTLE ANGEL!”
“She is perfect.” James said.
“I wish I could snog Hermione.” Teddy sighed.
“Errrr...” James said. He turned to the door, looking grateful as Victoire walked into the room, looking cheery. But as soon as Teddy saw her, he grabbed a dummy that was sitting in the corner of the room and pressed his lips to it. Victoire froze, then burst into tears at the sight of Teddy snogging 'Lavender'. Victoire took her wand out and pointed it at Teddy, whose eyes widened. He pretended to run away, then walked over to the couch and plopped down on it. Victoire sat delicately next to him and pretended to scrutinize a piece of paper.
“No, listen. They aren't afraid of garlic, they just don't like it.”
“Oh, you're talking to me now?” Teddy said. Victoire ignored him.
“I'll do your opening and closing, but that's it.”
“I love you, Hermione.” Teddy sighed gratefully, slumping back against the couch, then winking playfully at his aunt. She rolled her eyes, smiling, and gestured back to Victoire.
“Don't let Lavender hear you say that.” Victoire responded.
“I won't. Or maybe I will. Then she'll break up with me.”
“Just break up with her!” Victoire snapped.
“I can't. I'm scared, like a little tiny bird.” Teddy said softly.
“Coward!” Victoire teased, just as Ron stood up and roared Ginny's name.
“Yes?” Ginny asked innocently.
“I was not scared to break up with Lavender!”
“Yes you were!” Hermione, Harry, and Ginny said in unison.
“Fine. But that still doesn't give you the right to compare me to a little bird.”
“I'm your wife. I hereby give Ginny consent to compare and contrast you to a little tiny bird to her heart's content.”
“Ooohh, the woman has spoken.” Harry smirked, before withdrawing himself from the scene.
“I thought you loved me.” Ron complained.
“Oh, but I do.” Hermione said, winding her hand around his neck and bringing his lips down to meet hers.
“Baby number three.” Ginny said loudly, swinging the door to the kitchen shut. The pair broke apart and turned to look at a disgusted Teddy and Victoire.
“Anyway.” Teddy said, and then he got onto the floor and started murmuring “'Ermione!”
Victoire gasped, fell to her knees, and grabbed his hand. The dummy Teddy had been using as Lavender suddenly moved, and it walked toward the pair. When it spoke, Ginny's voice filled the room.
“That's it. I'm breaking up with you.”
Finally, the words Horcrux Hunt appeared in the air. Ginny and Harry walked into the room, drew up two chairs behind Hermione and Ron, then sat down. Teddy ran off of the set, and Victoire called after him. She started to cry, and punched him several times in the gut when he came back. They ran over to the back left corner of the room and grabbed some fake basilisk fangs, then started running back over to James.
“They've only practiced this once.” Ginny whispered to Hermione. “And I wasn't there.”
“WAIT!” Teddy yelled, and Victoire stopped running a good eight paces away from him. “We've forgotten the house elves!”
Hermione's stomach tightened nervously as she comprehended what was about to happen.
“You mean we need to get them fighting?” James asked.
“No. We have to get them out of there! We don't want any more being hurt.”
Victoire paused, steeling herself, then took a deep breath. Teddy nodded at her, and she flew at Teddy, threw her arms around him, and kissed him on the lips. When it became too awkward to watch anymore, Harry and Ron cleared their throats, and the two broke apart, flushing and beaming shyly at each other. Ginny grinned widely and said,
“Why don't you guys go off and talk?”
“But what about the rest of the play?” Teddy asked.
“Ach, we know what happens. Maybe we'll do it for their twentieth anniversary.”
Victoire and Teddy nodded, and Hermione inconspicuously waved her wand to turn the girl's hair color back to its silvery blond as they exited the room.
“Ahh, young love.” Ginny sighed, taking a sip of Hermione's wine.
“Ten years married and your view of love is kind of boggled, though.” Ron said without thinking. “What?” he asked at Hermione's glare. She jabbed him. “I still love you!” Ron said hastily. “It's just... I've learned that some new things about the subject. Before, I was like 'Love is thinking that you can't live without a person and being willing to do anything for them'. Although I still can't live without you... well... now I'm thinking that love is holding someone's hand while they're giving birth and being there to help them even though times are so tough you can hardly stand them.”
“I know what you mean,” Harry said. “With the kids, I feel like I'm performing an act of love for Ginny just by picking up milk at the grocery store.”
“I do love it when you do that.” Ginny said, wiggling her eyebrows at her husband. He grinned back at her. “So,” Ginny started, turning to Hermione and Ron. “Ten years married. What's the best part? Besides not constantly being afraid of Hermione leaving you for Viktor Krum, Ron.”
“Er- I dunno.” Ron said. “I guess Rose and Hugo are the best thing. But there are lots of little things, too. You know, I still grin every time I hear someone say Hermione Weasley.”
“Me too. This isn't an out of earth experience for me anymore. I know it's real, but I don't think I'll ever be able to let go of how hard we worked to get where we are.” she laughed, then said, “It seems simply odd that we've been married for more time then it took us to actually get together. The seven years seemed so much longer.”
“It's difficult to believe that we've been best friends for twenty two years.”
“I feel like I know you too well for that little number.” Hermione agreed.
“So, Hermione, what's your favorite part of being married to Ron for ten years?”
“Being able to walk into the bathroom while Ron is taking a shower.” Hermione said without blinking an eyelash or even considering any other answer.
“You wanna think about that, Hermione?” Ron asked mockingly, while Harry and Ginny stared at her.
“Well, when we were just living together, I could never do so much as walk in there while he was showering! If I ever needed something, I had to wait an hour. Now, I can not only walk in, but I'm welcomed! If I need to pee, I go right in there. If I need to grab a band aid, I can just waltz in, no problem. It's amazing.”
“Ditto.” Ron said sarcastically. “Yeah, screw the kids, we can walk into the bathroom 24/7 now!”
“Speaking of kids, we need to go.” Harry said, getting up. “Lily needs her sleep.”
“I think they went to the playroom.” Hermione said, and Harry headed off to find his kids. “And Victoire and Teddy are probably on the balcony in the attic. She loves it up there.”
“It's the middle of December.” Ginny reminded Hermione.
“It's heated.” Hermione told her.
Harry came back with all five of the kids trailing after him.
“Say goodbye to Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny.” Ron said, kissing the top of Rose's head.
“Goodbye.” Rose said cordially.
“And don't forget to thank them for taking care of you.” Hermione piped in, smiling at Harry and Ginny. Hugo leaned against her, and she ran a hand through his hair.
“Thank you.” Rose and Hugo chorused.
“Well done.” Ginny teased.
“Hey, thanks for letting me borrow your Quidditch book, Uncle Harry.” Hugo added.
“No problem.” Harry said easily.
“Happy anniversary, Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron.” Lily said sweetly.
“Night, you lot.” Ginny laughed, closing the door.
“Okay, bedtime!” Ron said, clapping his hands together as he turned towards his two children.
“No!” Rose and Hugo complained. Hermione raised an eyebrow at them and, realizing that the point of protesting was rather moot, Rose and Hugo shut their mouths and instead decided to make a competition of who could get up the stairs faster.
“Ah, how I love being a mother.” Hermione said lightly, taking Ron's hand. “It gives me so much power.”
“I know. I don't know how you do that. They never listen to me. Except when I'm mad.”
“That's because you're a total softie, and they know they can break you.” Hermione said, placing her head on Ron's shoulder as they made their way up the wide staircase.
“Am not! Can not!” Ron protested. Hermione turned to look him square in the eye.
“Ron, they flew around on your broomstick when we'd specifically asked them not to, and you still gave them ice cream. George got in more trouble than they did!”
“Well, he was the one that gave our children a lock pick.” Ron replied, defending himself.
“But they made the choice to disobey their parents.” Hermione reminded him. “And yet they still got rewarded. And you didn't even give them vanilla! Oh, no. You gave them chocolate.”
“Triple chocolate.” Ron confessed. Then he sighed. “Fine. Our children are minxes. I deserve to be disrespected by them.”
“That's the spirit!” Hermione cheered sarcastically. Her smile grew softer. “The truth is, Ron, they make me melt, too. I mean, how could they not? They're both exact mixes of me and you, and that never ceases to amaze me. However, I never let them know that my insides are jelly. You need to know the appropriate time to show them that you are, in fact, a weakling.”
The two had just reached Hugo's room. Hermione opened the door and walked into the room. It was a dark blue, with pictures of wizards on broomsticks painted all over the wall. Quidditch posters were spread around the room, all depicting Hugo's favorite players flying around in their glory. On a dresser across from his bed lay little pictures of him with his Grandfather, who he loved dearly. Arthur and Hugo often enjoyed talking about muggle things together, and Hugo never failed to be fascinated by both the muggle and magic world. Hermione had an inkling that her son was going to have a job with something to do with muggles when he grew up, like a liaison. Either that, or a Quidditch player. The man himself was lying on his side in bed, the book Harry had just given him being held up by his pillow. Hugo was almost cross eyed trying to read it. Ron liked to sleep on his back, and Hermione and Rose both liked to sleep on their stomachs, so no one knew why Hugo slept on his side, but that was the way it had always been, ever since he was a baby.
“Hi, sweetheart. Ready for bed?” Hermione asked, coming over to the side of the bed.
“Yeah.” Hugo said, and then he closed his book and lay it carefully on his bedside table. “Daddy, will you tuck me in?” Hugo asked. Ron nodded, then went over to his son, lifted off the covers, then sheets, then lay them on the bed and patted the covers down close to Hugo's body. With a sleepy nod and a smile, Hugo allowed his mum to push his bangs back and kiss his forehead, then his dad. Hermione shut off the lava lamp on the right side of the bed, and Ron took the regular reading lamp on the left. Finally, Hermione handed Hugo the stuffed broomstick that he always hugged when he slept.
“Hugo, tomorrow you're cleaning your room.” Hermione reminded him just as she was about to shut the door.
“No!” Hugo argued softly, his eyes closed. “You can't make me.”
“We brought you into this world, we can take you out.” Ron said good naturedly.
“Daddy and I will help.” Hermione said. “And if you do it you might just get rewarded.”
“Okay.” Hugo said, involuntarily moving his legs around under the covers. Hermione smiled softly to herself, then shut the door three-fourths of the way, just as she always did. Meanwhile, Ron walked over to the bathroom, across the hall from Hugo's room, and flipped the left switch on so that his son would be able to sleep. Never the right, always the left. It was just the way Hugo liked things.
Next, and last, they headed into Rose's room. True to form, she was lying in bed on her stomach, reading a book as well. Whereas her six year old brother had been engrossed in a small book about sports, Rose's attention was fixed on a tomb much too big for a eight year old. Unlike Hugo's room, Rose's sanctuary was the color of a rose, not quite pink but not too red. Somewhere right in the middle. Her canopy bed was home to soft pink covers, so light that you could barely see the pink tinge. Rose was no girly girl, but did take pride in her name. On the scale, she'd fall somewhere between her mother and her Aunt Ginny. A lamp was emitting a soft glow, lighting up to room and making Rose look a little pinker then usual. Ron tickled his daughter's feet, and she turned around, her long red hair flying. It wasn't as bushy as Hermione's had been, and Hermione knew that it would either get straighter or curlier as time went on.
“Daaaaad.” Rose said, looking up at Ron with reproachful eyes.
“Yes?” Ron said, looking around innocently. Rose laughed.
“You're not allowed to tickle me.”
“Who said anything about tickling?” Ron asked.
“Actions speak louder then words.” Was Rose's cunning reply. Ron let out a false groan.
“I think my eight year older daughter is wiser then I am.”
Rose said nothing, but she looked pleased with herself.
“How's Little Women coming?” Hermione asked quietly, sitting down on the bed and stroking Rose's hair.
“Good. I'm at the part where Marmee is teaching the girls a lesson on how it's not good to play all the time.” Rose replied, not looking up from her book. “I really hope Jo falls in love with Laurie. It seems as though he's already in love with her.”
Hermione bit her tongue as she attempted not to spoil the book for her daughter.
“Well, mark your spot, it's time for bed.” Ron said, trying not to laugh at his wife's obvious struggle.
Rose looked up, her eyes pleading.
“Oh, please let me finish the chapter! I'm almost done.” she added. Hermione glanced at Ron. They silently communicated, and she nodded.
“Fine.” she said, getting up. “But just the chapter.”
“Okay.” Rose turned back to her book and began to read. Suddenly, she looked up. “Mommy, will you stay and braid my hair? I've already brushed it out and everything.”
“Sure.” Hermione said, and she sat back down and gathered Rose's thick hair in her hands, then began to braid. “Maybe you can read the rest of the chapter out loud to me?” she suggested.
Rose nodded, and began to read. It wasn't until twenty-five minutes later that a very tired Hermione had headed into her and Ron's bedroom and started putting on her Pjs, attempting to be quiet and going as far as to leave the lights off as to not wake up her sleeping husband.
“You let her read an extra chapter, didn't you?”
Hermione turned around, startled.
“Guilty as charged.” she sighed, slipping on the tank top she always wore. “See. She does make me weak sometimes.”
She crawled in bed next to Ron and he kissed her softly on the lips, then drew his arms around her, placing his chin on the top of her head in the darkness. She let her head fall onto his bare chest and curled into a fetus position against his body. This was their pattern, what happened nearly every night, regardless of what was going on. It was unfathomably comfortable and amazingly familiar.
“I will never, ever understand your love for books.” Ron murmured.
“And I will only ever partly understand your love for Quidditch.” Hermione teased quietly.
“So be it.” Ron sighed, kissing the top of her head.
“Goodnight. I love you.”
The words were said every morning and every night, so often that they were sometimes taken for granted. But the pair could never forget their meaning. It was just that they were just as apart of Ron and Hermione as their wedding rings, and the nervous ticks that came with them. It never surprised Ron to see Hermione bring her diamond engagement ring to her lips while she was reading anymore, and it never shocked Hermione to see Ron twist his silver wedding band around his finger when he was nervous or agitated.
“Love you, too.” Hermione yawned, running her hand once through Ron's hair.
A few minutes later, Hermione's voice came through the darkness.
“It's just that... books are comforting. And even when they're not predictable, they are predictable at the same time.”
“What do you mean?” Ron asked. It was his turn to yawn now, and he did so as he posed his question.
“The thing I love most about them is... no matter what happens beyond the words once upon a time, the characters always live happily ever after.”
And so they did.
A/N: First things first, I have to say: someone nominated me for a Dobby! It's best canon, one of my one-shots called Her Own Fairytale. And ooooohhh myyyy godddd I can't believe it happened. I've wanted that since I first got onto the site. Can you believe that? I screamed so loud and called my best friend and told my parents and basically everyone I know who would actually care. Yeah, ehem, I just felt like sharing that because it's so AWESOME! Moving on...
So I'm probably not very good at goodbyes. To be honest, I've barely had any wrenching goodbyes in my entire life. Maybe one or two. But neither of them were going to be viewed by a hundred-plus people, neither of them were going to be in permanent print, and therefor neither of them required eloquence of any sort. What I'm trying to say is... this is probably one of the hardest goodbyes I've ever had to say. I'll try to make it interesting, and if it's boring... humor me. It's been 50 chapters, guys. I think I'm entitled to some melancholy.
I started working on this story in July of 2009. As many of you know (or don't, if you've never read any of my author's notes, which would not surprise me, as many reviewers seem to be rather ignorant of the stuff I put in the notes and ask questions that have already been answered. But I digress) I got the idea for this story swimming in the ocean with my cousin. On a side note, I went back there for the first time since and kept on expecting a stroke of genius to hit me. Alas, no 50 chapter fics came to mind. Then again, this wasn't exactly meant to be 50 chapters at first. At first it was supposed to be a short story, then a novella... and then it turned into this. Can you believe I actually cut two or three dates? One of them that I can remember was Ron and Hermione being put in a canoe and falling into the water... I sincerely doubt that would have been very interesting, and in the end am glad I cut it. Which is a bit of information you probably never needed to know, but in case anybody cares, here it is.
That same cousin who helped me get the idea is the one that came up with the idea for the title to this story. I know, she's brilliant, isn't she? It started out titled 'The Perfect Match', but let's face it, that's boring as hell. I actually remember the exact moment she came up with it. I remember walking up and down the bricks on the path to my house, pacing as I always do on the phone, and suddenly hearing her say the name. My voice turned squeaky with excitement, and I realized how perfect it was. At first, Triple Chocolate Ice-Cream was simply a cute little thing I put in to show how well Ron knows Hermione. But it kept coming back, until it actually made itself title worthy. Confession: I've never actually had Triple Chocolate Ice-Cream. I don't really know where that came from, why I picked that particular flavor. It was so long ago, it really was.
So what I meant to say in these past two paragraphs that have gone off on completely unrelated tangents is THANK YOU, COUSIN! Without you this story would not be fifty chapters long, would not have the same title, and would probably abandoned. While I was pre writing all the chapters, I would call her and read them all out loud to her, and she was soooo patient with me. We would spend hours on the phone, me pacing circles around my bedroom, discussing Ron and Hermione's vows and what Hermione thinks about this and why Ron thinks this and all that. Without her this story would probably have less depth. Also, thank you for putting up the stipulation “don't write anything that you would be embarrassed to read out loud to me!” As we've gotten older, I admit that's stretched a bit, but it did help keep this story 15+. And most of all, thank you for being there when I was crying after finishing the writing of this last July. In this case, Ron and Hermione getting married was so hard to write because it was the end.
I finished this story July of 2010, and it's been sitting on my flash drive ever since, waiting to be read. Which is why it was always so tough to read your reviews and not be able to tell you everything that ever happened... So, anyways, thanks to the validation-gods (aka the staff) for putting up all fifty chapters. I've been on HPFF for five years- though I think I've only had this account for three- and I still get tons of rejections, but they're so very patient with me :)
Lastly, thanks to you. You weeded through 50 chapters of mediocre writing (which has gotten a bit better as the story went on, and has gotten much better since its completion), annoying typos (which I'm afraid to say I still have trouble catching) and Ron and Hermione being total and complete idiots. On behalf of those two, I apologize ;) ESPECIALLY if you've reviewed, thanks for brightening my day since 2009. There are certain people's names who I recognize and get excited to see your reviews (amongst these are golden_trio, magiccarpet, lizmusic45, ShePotter, dablubanana, AlPadfootPotter96, loisemoses, Kittyluna, NaidatheRavenclaw, peace2lovepotter, followthebutterflies95, ang3l1c Flow3rs, and Jade) Sorry if I forgot you there, but these guys are really consistent reviewers with so many nice things to say and they really deserve thanks. -applause for awesome readers-
I'm actually not sure if anyone's been reading this since chapter one, or any of the early chapters, or even any of the chapters in that first year. If you did start reading way back then, leave me a review and tell me. I'd love to know. Also, thanks to those who have reached out and contacted me on the forums. I have made some excellent friends through this story. Example, I now literally send everything I write to magiccarpet before I post it just to bounce it off him. My cousin has long ago gotten too busy for consistent opinion giving time, so you've been a godsend for all the stuff I write. I don't know if I'd write as much/quickly without this guy, I really don't.
Which probably brings you to the thought process of, “What is she talking about? She finished this story a year ago! Is there something new coming up?” INDEED THERE IS! I've just put up the first chapter of War of the Exes. It's also prewritten, and is 25 chapters long. It's... well, I find it to be pretty awesome. It's sort of my take-two at the whole Ron and Hermione break up, how do they get back together? thing. Except it's a bit more complicated and slightly better written and there's more depth and no game show. But believe me, there are still games. Lots of them. I had such a fun time writing it, so I hope you'll read and review and tell me what you think.
Also coming up soon is Sleepless. That's a thirty chapter series of events that are connected by one thing: they all happen when Ron and Hermione can't fall asleep and depend on each other to do so. It's composed completely of my Head Canon, which is cool because I've never written a story so long based on Head Canon. Every emotion felt and thought thought in the story is something that I actually believe would happen. Unlike World According to, Because I Love You, and War of the Exes. Sometimes you have to forgo Head Canon for plot (I, personally, do not believe Ron and Hermione would break up after they got together. Maybe once for a week or two, but then they'd realize very quickly that they were being stupid and reconcile.) Anyways, I'm in the middle of writing chapter 26 and absolutely love it. That's going to come out as soon as I finish posting Because I Love You, which is 21 chapters, for the record.
In news of the sequel, I've decided that I need to take a bit more time with it before I can post it. The thing is, The World According to Perfection is all about Hermione's pregnancy and I am ashamed to say that I know just about nothing on the subject of pregnancy. I wrote the story a while ago, but I think I need to go back and edit it a lot, as well as do a bit of research on having a baby. The first time I wrote it I just asked my mom questions, but she did it quite a few years ago and couldn't really remember much depth about it. So, seeing as I don't like to have more than two stories going at the same time, it miiiight be a while until that one goes up. Who knows, maybe I'll bend my two story rule. The only thing is, updates take longer.
In the mean time, for those who might possibly get withdrawal, I have a ton of Romione on my author's page. No joke, 14 out of 18 of my stories are Romione, and I obviously have two more coming. So I hope some of you will go there and check out my other stories. Also please feel free to check out my Meet the Author page. I love getting contacted over on the forums, and you can ask my anything- from an in depth analysis of the pros and cons of all the movies (this I've actually done over there...) to my favorite word of all time. For the record, it is moot.
I'm almost crying now, so I think I'm gonna stop writing this. In conclusion, thanks to you all for being so sweet, supportive, hilarious, and patient. I love you all for reviewing so much and so kindly, and hope you will review one last time to tell me what you think of this fluffy little excuse for an epilogue! As always, ~writergirl8
EDIT 11/14/2011: Sequel now up!!!