Chapter 29 : Chapter 29: Mrs Weasley 1,2,3?
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“Hey you two jokers, you weren’t supposed to upstage me with your NEWTs,” Charlie greeted the twins as he leaned casually in the doorway of their room. The both of them leapt to their feet and charged at their elder brother almost tackling him to the floor as they hugged him tightly.
“You’re early! You’re two weeks early,” Fred informed him.
“Believe it or not I do know that. I figured I could get away from work and have a month here with you all instead of just a couple of days either side of the wedding. I haven’t seen any of you since Christmas, I owed you a proper visit,” Charlie told them.
“That’s great, Charlie!” George said. “We’re going out tonight. You have to come.”
“Of course I will,” he smiled. “There’s someone downstairs I’d like you both to meet first.”
“Did you bring us a dragon?” Fred asked excitedly and the three of them burst into laughter.
“What’s so funny?” asked Hermione having heard the laughter as she went downstairs and paused in the twin’s doorway. “Oh Charlie! You’re here, I didn’t think you were coming so early. How are you?” Hermione asked and hugged him.
“I’m well thanks, and you?” Charlie smiled.
“Fine thank you,” Hermione replied.
“Congratulations on your results. Mum was just telling me about how amazingly you did. You must be so proud, of course none of us expected anything less,” he told her and Hermione thanked him.
“Anyway, I was just saying to the twins that there’s someone downstairs that I want you all to meet. I think everyone else is down there already,” Charlie said and ushered them out of the room and down into the living room of the Burrow.
Ron, Harry, Ginny and Molly stood in the centre of the room talking to a girl with long, straight dark hair, lightly tanned skin, round eyes and thin lips. “This is Stephanie,” Charlie said to Fred, George and Hermione. “We’ve been together for just over a year now and I wanted you all to meet her.”
“Steph, these are my younger brothers Fred and George,” he said and indicated which twin was which. Stephanie smiled at the two and offered a polite greeting as she shook each of their hands. “And this is Hermione, she’s as close to family as you can be without actually being family. She’s like another sister.”
“You think I don’t recognise Hermione Granger, the brains of the Golden Trio?” Stephanie asked Charlie with a smile. “It’s such a pleasure to meet you,” she said to Hermione and shook her hand.
“And you, Stephanie,” Hermione replied feeling slightly embarrassed. Once Stephanie’s attention had been distracted from herself by Molly leaving to make dinner, Hermione glanced at Ron and Harry who gave a look that said she had been the same with each of them.
“You kept this a secret, Charlie,” George murmured with a smile. “I’m happy for you.”
“Thanks, mate,” Charlie grinned and then hesitated before asking the question he had been dying to ask since he had walked into the twins’ room. “What happened with you and Hermione in the end?”
George chuckled as he realised Charlie had no clue about his happy relationship with Hermione. The last that Charlie had known about the matter was that George refused to hurt Ron and so couldn’t be with Hermione because he cared too much for his brother. George kicked himself for not letting Charlie know but somehow it had completely slipped his mind.
“This is what happened,” George said with a mischievous grin as he strode over to Hermione who, alongside Ginny, was making friendly conversation with Stephanie and tapped her on the shoulder. Hermione turned around but had no opportunity to ask what he wanted before his lips came down on her own and his hands found their way to her hair. She smiled into the kiss as she wrapped her arms around his neck as she responded enthusiastically to the kiss. When they finally pulled apart both were red in the face and smiling widely.
“Well, that was one way to answer the question,” Charlie chuckled and Hermione eyed the two quizzically.
“Charlie asked what happened with us in the end. The last he knew was that I was too scared to tell you how I felt,” George explained. “I thought I’d show him.”
“You,” Hermione scolded but smiled as George intertwined his fingers with hers.
“Congratulations to both of you,” Charlie smiled as he placed a hand on George’s shoulder.
“Thanks,” the couple replied. The group then quizzed Charlie and Stephanie on their relationship asking every question that popped into their heads in an attempt to learn every single miniscule fact of the pair’s romance.
“So where are we going tonight?” George asked.
“The Leaky Cauldron?” Charlie suggested.
“God no,” Fred said in disgust. “Filled with psychopaths.”
“The Three Broomsticks?” Charlie tried again and was met by silence. “Come on, I haven’t been in years. For old time’s sake.”
“I’m up for it,” Hermione agreed and then the group gave their collective consent.
“Alright I’m going to get ready,” Ginny declared.
“I’m staying as I am,” Hermione said when Ginny tried to tug her upstairs. “It’s a pub, Gin, do you want me to go in a ball gown?”
“Fine!” Ginny sighed and sat back down.
“You look beautiful as you are, love,” George grinned at Hermione and she blushed and rolled her eyes.
“And your charm is never ending, Mr Weasley,” Hermione told him.
“It must be a Weasley thing, hey?” Fred said nudging his fiancé who arched an eyebrow at him before relenting.
“Yes Fred, you are pretty charming,” Angelina agreed and shook her head as he smiled proudly beside her.
“It must just be a Weasley twin thing then because Charlie’s charm pretty much ends at dragon related pick-up lines,” Stephanie said causing them all to laugh, with the exception of Charlie who was scowling.
“And you still agreed to go out with him?” Ginny laughed. Stephanie and Charlie exchanged a look, a silent message being passed between them.
“Well, that isn’t all she agreed to...” Charlie said and bit his lip waiting for them to catch on. Charlie could feel the heat burning in his cheeks and saw it also on Stephanie’s face.
The group stood in silence for a moment and Ginny reached out for Stephanie’s left hand and just as expected there was a diamond engagement ring glinting on her hand that they had somehow not noticed. They all stood in various states of shock and disbelief.
“Congratulations!” Ron said finally and moved forward to hug his elder brother and future sister-in law. The rest of the group followed his lead and the loudness of their chatter and congratulations caused Molly to re-enter the room.
“What’s all this commotion about?” she asked.
“Oh Mum, I was going to wait for Dad to get home and tell you both together but I’ll just tell him later... Stephanie and I are engaged,” Charlie told her. Molly was positively beaming as she looked at her son and quickly enveloped him in a warm hug proclaiming loud congratulations as she did so before doing the same with Stephanie.
“Welcome to the family,” Molly told her warmly as she fussed over the young woman and examined her ring.
“Thank you so much Mrs Weasley,” Stephanie said feeling overwhelmed by how welcoming, friendly and loving the family was.
“It’s Mum now,” Molly corrected her before hugging Charlie happily again.
After sitting and talking for a while the group apparated to Hogsmeade and entered The Three Broomsticks. Upon seeing the group Madame Rosmerta pushed two tables together so that they would have enough space and they thanked her before sitting down. The pub grew gradually louder and busier as the night went on and after buying a new round of drinks George gave a toast.
“I’d like to say well done to Fred, Ron, Ginny, Harry, myself and of course my beautiful Hermione on our NEWTs results. And then I’d like to congratulate Charlie and Stephanie on their engagement, we’re all so happy for you both. And finally Fred and Ange I just want to say good luck to both of you in the lead up to your wedding. I’m sure it will be amazing,” George said and was thanked by the group who all raised their glasses in response and grinned.
“Ron,” Harry murmured nudging his best friend.
“Yeah, mate?” Ron asked.
“That girl at the bar, on the left has been staring at you and smiling at you all night. Why don’t you go talk to her?” Harry suggested. Ron looked over to her and sure enough the girl was smiling at him, or possibly someone directly behind him. The girl had flawless pale skin, long wavy hair and seemed quite tall. She was undeniably beautiful and Ron smiled bashfully back at her. She gave a friendly wave and Ron was forced to look behind himself to make sure he wasn’t making a fool out of himself. Seeing no one behind him he turned back and made a ‘who, me?’ gesture. The girl laughed and nodded and he returned a shy grin.
“Don’t just sit there and smile!” Fred exclaimed. “Go talk to her.”
“What? I...um...I’m...” Ron stuttered.
“Shut up and get yourself over there,” George encouraged and grinned, high-fiving his twin as Ron nervously stood from the table and approached the bar stumbling on chair legs and bumping into people as he did. “Clumsy git,” George muttered with a chuckle. They watched curiously as Ron pulled up a stool beside the girl at the bar and began talking to her.
“Hi,” Ron said slightly breathlessly feeling overly conscious of himself.
“Hi, my name’s Shanice,” she replied her friendliness making him feel more comfortable.
“Ron,” he told her. “Ron Weasley.”
“I know,” she smiled. “I recognised you from all the pictures in the Daily Prophet and stuff. You were very brave.”
“I just made friends with the wrong guy,” Ron joked trying to brush it off.
“I get it. You don’t want to talk about it, do you? It probably gets tiresome,” she spoke understandingly.
“To be honest, yeah. I’m known for being Harry Potter’s sidekick, there’s more to me that a lot of people don’t know about. So, why don’t we talk about you?” Ron suggested, remembering that girls liked guys who actually showed an interest in them.
“What do you want to know?” she asked.
“Anything and everything,” Ron smiled. Across the pub the group at the table continued watching, wishing that they could hear what was being said.
“I want this for him,” Hermione mumbled.
“’Mione, he’s just met the girl. We don’t know anything about her; she might be a terrible person. I want him to be happy too but give him a chance to find the right person,” George told her.
“You’re right,” Hermione sighed.
“Aren’t I always,” he grinned back at her, taking her small hand in his own and resting them both on the table. “God you’re beautiful.”
“God you’re drunk,” Hermione teased but even in the dim lighting of the loud pub George could see her blush.
“Drunk or not you are still my beautiful bookworm,” he smiled. Then he added “And I still appreciate the attractiveness when you blush.” Hermione gave a soft laugh and a smile which grew as he squeezed her hand. She tore her eyes away from his intense gaze and inspected their joined hands with a faint smile as she bit her lip. She felt him watching her as she watched their hands and really thought about the security that the feeling of his warm, strong hand gave her. She loved the slight contrast in their skin tones and how his fingers flexed several times and the way in which he subconsciously brushed his thumb gently over the back of her hand every so often. It was something so simple that meant the world to her. Her eyes flicked back up to his own to see a dopey grin plastered on his face. ‘Definitely drunk’ she thought to herself and could not help but chuckle as he used his free hand to take another drink from what Hermione assumed was his sixth or seventh drink so far and he never broke eye contact with her
“I know exactly what you’re thinking, Granger,” George told her and rolled his eyes. “I am not drunk. I know you’re trying to work out how many drinks I’ve had -and it’s six by the way- but I’m fine.”
“Strangely enough I believe you,” Hermione grinned. “You’re talking coherently: no slurring, you’re just as smart, attentive and, might I add, charming as ever.” George simply grinned in response as he looked across the table to Fred, Ginny, Harry and Stephanie who were talking and laughing. “Looks like the future Mrs. Weasley is fitting in well, huh?” Hermione said following his gaze.
“Mrs. Weasley,” George chuckled as he thought about it. “So it’ll be Mrs Angelina Weasley in two weeks, Mrs Stephanie Weasley whenever they get married and then...” George paused as he caught Hermione’s eye. They both just stared at each other and Hermione squeezed his hand breaking into a nervous smile.
“And then?” Hermione asked and her smile became a smirk as her voice took on an almost challenging tone.
George arched an eyebrow at her and bit his lip, “Well...at some point...Mrs Hermione...” George was cut off by soft lips pressed firmly against his, sealing a silent promise.
“One day,” she assured him and loved the way his eyes twinkled in that moment. She looked back across to the bar where Ron was still sat with the mystery girl who had now rested a small hand on his left knee. Hermione smiled as she saw Ron lay his hand atop hers as the pair continued talking.
“So you work at the Ministry?” Ron asked, impressed. “What department?”
“The Foreign Affairs and Sports department,” she answered. “It’s amazing. You wouldn’t believe some of the people I’ve met.” She proceeded to list famous Quidditch players she had encountered whilst working there and Ron listened attentively as he had all night so far.
“That’s so amazing,” Ron said. “What about family? Do you have any siblings?”
“An older brother,” she answered. “You might know him actually, he went to Hogwarts too.”
“Oh yeah, what’s his name?” Ron asked curiously.
“Oliver, Oliver Wood.”
Ron gaped at her, “Oliver Wood is your brother?”
“I didn’t mention that my full name is Shanice Wood, did I?” she asked embarrassedly.
“You forgot the surname,” Ron informed her, still shocked. “I didn’t even think Wood had a sister.”
“Oh he probably wouldn’t have mentioned me. He didn’t like people knowing I existed for a good few years of his life. Don’t ask me why, I still don’t know. But towards the end of his time at Hogwarts he became a lot more protective and proud of me, when I started playing Quidditch I think. Now we’re really close. Don’t get me wrong he was never horrible to me or about me but unless I was essential to conversation he never really talked about me,” she explained.
“Wow,” Ron said. “I just never knew...”
“Oh and Ron?”
“Yeah, Shan...ice...Shanice...” Ron blushed furiously. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be!” she said quickly. “No one’s ever called me that before but I like it.”
Ron just nodded, “You were saying?”
“Oh I was just wondering if you want to invite your audience over or take notes on what we’re saying so you can tell them later?” she asked with a playful glint in her eyes as she gestured to Ron’s friends and family who were sat across the pub staring at them. Ron looked across at them and grinned as Shanice waved at them all. They looked alarmed and promptly pretended they hadn’t been observing the two dropping their gazes to the table and mumbling in fake conversation.
“Sorry about them,” Ron chuckled. “Would you like to meet them all?”
“Meet the Harry Potter ‘best seeker my brother has ever met’ not to mention The Boy Who Lived?” she asked dramatically. “I suppose it sounds like fun.” Ron laughed at how her manner had gone from excited to barely interested in a matter of seconds and realised he had fell in love with her sense of humour. Ron instinctively grabbed her hand as he led her over to the table and silence settled over the group as they looked at the two.
“Wow...now that’s not intimidating at all,” Shanice remarked sarcastically. A small smile tugged at the corners of her lips.
“We’re not that bad,” Charlie said, speaking first. “I’m Charlie. Ron’s older brother.”
Shanice gave a low whistle, “Charlie Weasley. Another famous name. Ollie said you could have gone into Quidditch professionally. You were his role model.”
Curiosity lined Charlie’s face, “Ollie?”
“Oh sorry, my brother: Oliver Wood. I’m Shanice by the way, which in hindsight is probably where I should have started,” Shanice said and the group noted that she spoke animatedly with a constant use of hand gestures.
“Oliver Wood’s sister?” Harry exclaimed. “I didn’t even- Ouch!” Harry was interrupted by a sharp elbow to his ribs as Ginny shook her head at him warningly.
“Sorry, I meant it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Harry corrected himself.
“And you Potter. Oliver still talks about you,” Shanice told him. The rest of the table introduced themselves to Shanice in turn and she admitted that Oliver had mentioned Harry, Charlie, Fred, George and Angelina to her.
“Actually Quidditch isn’t the only thing he mentioned George in,” she said after a while and George and Hermione inwardly cringed.
“Oh yeah?” George asked in a manner that he could only hope was nonchalant.
“Yeah he came by one day and said someone had threatened to beat the crap out of him,” Shanice told them all, eyes twinkling with mischief.
“Fancy that,” George muttered looking around and wishing he could just sink through the floor.
“Oh this sounds like a story I want to hear,” Fred grinned and chuckled as George cursed him under his breath.
“It’s fine,” Shanice said. “Ollie has a habit of chasing anything in a skirt so if he came on strong and you got protective, I can understand it. I, for one, found it hilarious.”
Hermione blushed and George rubbed the back of his neck and laughed. “Sorry about that. Oliver’s a great guy, -mental Quidditch captain mind you- but he’s great. It was just that one time that I wanted to kill him,” George admitted. Conversation then drifted to Shanice’s work and before the group left the pub Ron and Shanice exchanged details promising they would go out together soon.
“She seems like a nice girl, Ron,” Charlie said as they arrived back at the Burrow.
“Yeah,” Ron grinned to himself. “We’ll see...we just met I suppose.”
“She liked you though,” Fred said. “Clearly she can overlook the goofiness and minor stupidity!” This sentiment earned a glare and eye roll from Ron and a few laughs from the others.
“Did you have fun?” Molly asked bustling into the living room. “Stephanie, dear, how are you? Do you want anything?”
“Oh no thank you Mrs Weasley,” she said politely.
“Actually Mum I wouldn’t mind a-” Fred began and earned himself a glare from yet another family members.
“You, Fred Weasley, are well aware of where you can find whatever it is you want,” Molly told him. Only moments later both Weasley twins were busy searching for food in the kitchen.
“Hey Hermione?” Charlie called and gestured for her to join him. Hermione glanced curiously at him before crossing the room and sitting beside him. “Don’t look so afraid you’ve known me long enough to know that I won’t bite.”
“You can never tell with you Weasleys,” Hermione teased which caused him to laugh. Within moments his face turned serious and Hermione grew apprehensive.
“I want to talk to you,” he said slowly and Hermione waited for him to continue. “ Are you and George in love?”
Hermione flushed ever so slightly before breathing deeply and replying, “Very.”
“That’s all I needed to know,” Charlie grinned and patted her knee.
“What?” Hermione asked in confusion. “That’s it?”
“Yeah. I see the way he looks at you, I just needed to make sure,” he told her softly. “I’m so happy for you. You both deserve this, you’re good for each other. You balance each other out.”
Hermione grinned and hugged Charlie, “Thank you.”
“Anytime Hermione,” Charlie said and smiled fondly at the younger witch. Hermione was smart and she was brave and she was independent but Charlie could see just as well as anyone that she needed George. And understandably, George needed Hermione.
I hope you enjoyed the chapter and as per usual I would love to hear from you! Thanks as always for all of your support and for reading the story, I really appreciate it.
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