Chapter 4 : Chapter 4
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Going into her rooms at the school, she took out the robes that she had chosen for the evening. Molly was having a dinner at the Burrow, and she was looking forward to it. It would be the first time everyone had come together since Ginny and Harry had announced Ginny's pregnancy and she had accepted the job. Her robes were red and gold, the Gryffindor colours, and she put her hair up in a French twist. All in all, she was happy with the results.
Heading out of the castle to the Apparition point, she pictured the Burrow's orchard and Disapparated.
Ron was waiting for her in the orchard. He was a little nervous but quickly calmed himself. He was dressed in royal blue dress robes that were cut in such a way as to emphasise his broad shoulders and slim waist. He shuddered slightly as he remembered the hideous dress robes he had worn at the Yule Ball during his fourth year and was grateful he had earned enough money to ensure he'd never have to wear such things ever again.
When Hermione appeared, Ron stood up and noticed how elegant she looked. He admired the way the robes hugged her curves and the way her hair framed her face. He smiled broadly and greeted her with a hug and a kiss.
"Oh, Hermione," he said, breathing in the floral scent of her hair, "you look beautiful!" He gave her another kiss and said, "I missed you, love."
"I missed you too, Ron," Hermione said, looking at him and smiling. "And you look very handsome. Almost makes me want to skip the dinner and go spend some time alone with you." She gave him a wink.
Ron grinned back. "As do I," he said. "But Mum will kill us if we're not there. And besides, who can pass up all that wonderful food!" He took her hand, and they walked through the orchard toward the house.
"So, is your mum in a good mood? I know that she's not exactly happy with our living arrangements. I just want to be prepared in case."
Ron shrugged. "To be honest, she hasn't said much since you left for Hogwarts," he said. "I guess she thinks you've moved to the castle and have your own quarters there. As far as I'm concerned, she can continue thinking that way. I think it will make life easier for us."
"Okay. That's good to know." They reached the house and Hermione was assaulted by Harry.
"Congratulations, Professor Granger!" Harry said, giving her a hug. "I always had a feeling you'd wind back up at Hogwarts one day."
"And congratulations to you, Dad," Hermione said, returning the hug and kissing his cheek. "Where's Ginny?"
"Loo," Harry said with a shrug. "Seems like she's there most of the time these days."
"Well, from what I've read, that's pretty normal," Hermione said with a smile.
Ron made a face. "Eww," he said, making a face. "That is a bit too much information." He turned to Harry. "So, mate, how are things?"
Harry chuckled. "Not much new since we last saw each other a couple of hours ago at work." He stepped aside as Ron and Hermione entered the Burrow. "Everyone else is here already. Fleur, Audrey, and Angelina are helping Mum in the kitchen, and Irina, Katie, and Tonks are with the kids."
Irina, Charlie's wife, had come from a large family in Romania and had been accustomed to taking care of a lot of children. She always enjoyed spending time with her Weasley nephews and nieces. Fred and Katie's twins, Gideon and Fabian, were already showing signs of the mischievous behaviour that characterised their father and his twin when they had been children. Tonks, who was pregnant and clumsy as usual, was entertaining the children by changing her nose into various animal noses. Ron smiled as he heard the often-raucous laughter coming from the sitting room.
He sighed. The almost relentless pressure from his relatives to propose to Hermione intensified in the days following her appointment as Hogwarts' newest Transfiguration professor. The more he spent time with his extended family, the more he knew he wanted to be with Hermione and to raise their children together. He subconsciously patted the pocket which contained a small, black box. Before he had arrived at the Burrow, he'd made a quick trip to Diagon Alley to visit his Gringotts vault where he'd collected the parcel he was hoping to present to Hermione before the day was done. His musing was interrupted when Percy and Audrey's four-year-old daughter, Molly, ran toward him and attached herself to his legs. He noticed she was shaking. He gently detached the girl from his legs and wiped away her tears.
"What's wrong, Molly?" he asked.
Molly raised a shaking finger toward the sitting room. "Teddy's mean," she wailed. "He called me pox-face."
Ron tried to keep a straight face. She’d inherited the infamous Weasley complexion with her flame-red hair and a face full of freckles. "Molly-love," he said gently, "you have a great face. Maybe you can tell Teddy he has mousy hair."
"But when I do that, he makes his hair turn purple," little Molly wailed.
Ron chuckled. Remus and Tonks' son, Teddy, was an Metamorphmagus like his mother and occasionally liked to tease the younger children. "Come here," he said as he picked her up. He walked over to join Hermione, Ginny, and Katie. Molly was very happy to see Auntie Katie and held her hands out to her. Katie laughed and said, "Come here, you little imp. I'm sure you'd rather be with me than with Uncle Ronniekins."
Molly rubbed her face into Katie's shoulder, then gave the others a toothy smile. "Molly loves Auntie Katie," she announced.
Hermione smiled at her. "Your Aunt Katie is a very good Quidditch player. Maybe one day she'll take you for a ride."
"You bet I will!" Katie told her niece. "Besides, don't you listen to Teddy. I think your freckles are beautiful."
Just then Teddy came over to them, and little Molly announced, "Auntie Katie says my fweckles are bootiful. So there!" With that, she stuck her tongue out at him.
Teddy stuck his tongue out at little Molly as his hair turned a bright shade of red and his face appeared to have over-large red specks that made him look like he had spattergroit. "Pox-face, pox-face, ickle bickle poxy-face!" he cried as he ran to the other room.
Molly wriggled out of Katie's arms and chased after Teddy, her hair streaming behind her. "Teddy meanie!" she cried.
The adults laughed as Angelina came into the room. "Oi, you miscreants," she said, "dinner will be served soon."
Katie came over and gave Angelina a hug. "It's great to see you again, Ange," she said as she linked elbows with her and marched out toward the garden. The others followed them.
Remus smiled as he saw Hermione coming outside. "Well, Professor Granger. I understand that you are taking over the post of Transfiguration this year. It will be a pleasure working alongside you."
Hermione's eyes opened wide as she understood what he had just said. "You're teaching again at Hogwarts?"
"I am," he replied, his eyes twinkling merrily. "Minerva owled me a couple of months ago and offered me the Defence position again."
"That's wonderful. We never forgot the year you taught us at Hogwarts."
Ron and Harry joined Hermione and Remus. "Wicked!" Ron said. "At least we'll know the kids will be in good hands."
Harry nodded. "You were one of the best Defence teachers we ever had," he added.
"It will be nice to teach alongside two of my former students. It was no surprise to find out that Neville Longbottom took over Herbology from Professor Sprout when she retired."
Molly started giving them looks, so they finally took their seats around the table. Hermione sat in between Ginny and Ron and gave Ron's hand a squeeze.
Ron felt a calming reassurance when he felt Hermione squeezing his hand. He smiled at Hermione as Fleur, Audrey, and Angelina started bringing the food to the table.
"Mmmmm, cottage pie!" Ron exclaimed when Audrey put the dish near him. "Excellent!"
George grabbed the dish and pulled it toward him as he scooped out a generous serving. "I'm sure this was Angelina's contribution," he said. "She makes a wicked cottage pie."
"Good thing I made three of them," Angelina said, coming outside and shaking her head at her husband. "You know, George, you have that every week at home. You could save some of it for everyone else."
"Take it from me, Harry," George said, looking at him, "once your wife gets pregnant they get ornery!"
"Oh, is that so?" Ginny said, glaring at her brother. "Well I will have you know that being pregnant has not made me ornery."
"Oh, right," George said with a nod. "I forgot. You were ornery before." He grinned and then ducked as Ginny shot a Bat-Bogey Hex at him.
"Ha, ha! You can't retaliate!"
Molly shot George and Ginny a glare that could freeze fire. "George, Ginny, you will stop that at once," she said sternly.
George and Ginny looked down at their plates and mumbled their apologies.
"Now," Molly said as she wiped her hands on her apron, "of course we are celebrating the appointments of Hermione and Remus to the Hogwarts academic staff tonight. And Ginny and Angelina will be adding to our growing family. Let's drink to that."
Everyone else stood, raised their glasses, and drank to the health and good wishes of Hermione, Remus, Ginny, and Angelina.
After the toast, there were sounds of silverware clinking and multiple conversations around the table.
"Daniel, chew with your mouth closed."
"Do you have any names picked out yet?"
"Are you ready for the school year to start?
"I haven't had a lot of morning sickness like I did with George Jr."
"No morning sickness here, thank goodness."
"So how does it feel to be a father, Fred?"
"You know how your parents keep telling you to wait until you have children when they're frustrated with you?" he asked Angelina.
Angelina rolled her eyes. "Believe me, I've heard that many times."
"Well," he said, "Gideon and Fabian are a handful-and-a-half, and I can see what Mum meant when she told George and me that!"
Right at that moment, a clump of mashed potato hit him squarely in the face. Teddy and Victoire were holding their hands over their mouths, trying but failing to hold in their laughter.
"You see what you have to look forward to, Harry?" Fred asked, glaring at his niece and Teddy.
Suddenly, a pea hit George in the nose, and it wasn't hard to tell where that one had come from, since George Jr was getting ready to throw another one.
"Now, do you see what you two taught –" George started to ask, but then a roll sailed across the table and Harry caught it neatly. Soon the food was flying fast and furious over the table.
"Victoire, zat iz not proper!" Fleur scolded her daughter.
"Molly, no. Now behave!" Percy said sternly.
Angelina shook her head as she stood up and cast a Sonorus Charm on her throat. "Everyone stop, right now!" she announced.
Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked up at Angelina.
"Children, you know better than that. Now sit down and behave, or we will send all the children off to bed without your sweets."
She looked around, cast a silent Quietus on her throat, and started Vanishing the mess from the table.
"And here I thought we wouldn't have to worry about something like this until we got to Hogwarts," Hermione said, grinning at Remus.
Remus shrugged. "It's good practise. However," he said, turning to Teddy, "you are the oldest, young man. So you need to set a good example for the other kids."
"Thank Merlin they are not all the same age. Can you imagine if all of them went to Hogwarts the same year?"
"Well, there are going to be at least three children going in the same year, since Angelina, Ginny and I are due about the same time," said Tonks. "And that will be a year or so after the twins enter."
Teddy's hair turned a deep midnight blue as he tugged on his mother's sleeve. "I'm sorry, Mumsy and Dadsy," he said.
Tonks pulled her son into a hug. "At least I know you're sorry for what you did," she said.
Eventually, the plates were cleared away, and Molly and Fleur helped bring out the cakes and the tarts to the table. Angelina followed with a full tea service floating behind her.
As the cakes were served and the tea poured, Ron stood up and cleared his throat.
"Yes, Ron?" Charlie called out.
Fred and George looked at each other with widened eyes. "A Galleon says he'll finally do it," Fred said to George.
"You're on," George said.
"Erm," Ron started.
"I can't hear you!" Fred exclaimed.
Harry frowned at Ron as he pointed his wand at Ron's throat and silently cast Sonorus at him.
Ron looked at Hermione and took her hand as he went down on one knee. He pulled out the little box from his pocket with his other hand and presented it to her.
"Hermione, we have known each other since we were firsties at Hogwarts. We have gone through so much together, and... erm... well, uhhh..."
His face turned as red as his hair, and he took several deep breaths.
"Hermionewillyoumarryme?" he asked in a rush.
Hermione squealed and threw her arms around Ron's neck, giving him a kiss.
The table erupted in cheers.
"Finally!" Ginny exclaimed.
George slapped a Galleon into Fred's hand, and Fred pointed his wand toward the sky and shot fireworks from it. Molly, Fleur, Irina, and Audrey were wiping tears from their cheeks, and Remus, Arthur, Percy, Charlie, and Bill were pouring Firewhisky for each other.
Ron and Hermione finally broke their kiss, and Ron slipped the ring onto Hermione's finger.
"Oh, Ron, it's gorgeous!" Hermione gushed, looking down at the beautiful ring on her finger.
All the women gathered around Hermione to look at the ring.
"Auntie Katie, what happened?" Molly asked, looking at Katie.
"Molly, your Uncle Ronnie and Hermione are going to get married. That means you're going to have an Aunt Hermione."
"Auntie Hermi, Auntie Hermi!" Molly cried, running over to Hermione.
Hermione looked down at the little girl and bent down to pick her up. "I love that name."
Molly put her arms around Hermione's neck. "Auntie Hermi," she said. "I'm glad you're going to be my auntie," she said.
"Me too, Molly. Maybe you, Dominique, and Victoire can be my flower girls. Would you like that?"
"Yeah!" The little girl struggled to get down and then ran over to Victoire and her sister Dominique. "Auntie Hermi says we can be flower girls!"
Ron chuckled as he saw her run to her cousin. He turned his attention to Hermione. "Hermione, you have made me the happiest man on the planet," he said. "This ring has been in the family for many generations. It belonged to my great-great-great grandmother. You do me and my family honour by agreeing to wear it."
"I feel honoured to wear it," Hermione said with a smile. "It's so beautiful." Hermione smiled as she saw Molly and Arthur walking over to them.
"Hermione," Molly said as she took Hermione's hands. "We are so pleased and honoured that you will be an official part of our family. Arthur and I always hoped you two would come together, and our wishes have come true."
Arthur placed his hands on Hermione's and Ron's shoulders. "Indeed they have," he said. "We offer our blessings to you, and our congratulations."
"Thank you, Arthur and Molly," Hermione said with a smile, giving them each a hug. "I have always felt like a part of your family, and since my parents died a few years ago, you really are the only family I have."
"You are like a daughter to us," Molly said, wiping away tears from her eyes. She then turned to everyone else. "Let's drink to the happiness of Ron and Hermione."
Everyone stood up, mumbled Ron's and Hermione's names, and took a sip of their drinks in tribute to the newly engaged couple.
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