The Sugar Quill
Author: Gemini (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Sleeping Dragons  Chapter: Chapter One: Of Weasleys and Weddings
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters belong to the great and wonderful J.K. Rowling.

Author’s Note: This fic is set seven years after Harry, Ron and Hermione’s graduation. I urge the shippers of H/H and D/G to look past the, well, lack of it. This is my first piece of fanfiction and I hope you enjoy it! I’d appreciate any constructive criticism and/or comments. If you’d like to send an email, please do so at stardust_gc@hotmail.com

 

Chapter One: Of Weasleys and Weddings

 

"Hermione! Are you almost done?" Ron yelled, waiting in the living room. "It starts in five minutes!"

I was in our bedroom upstairs. I had come home from work only an hour earlier and had almost no time to prepare myself. After a quick shower, I was frantically trying to flatten my hair. Since Hogwarts, it managed to tame itself, but still retained a few of its former characteristics. I made a mental note to myself to buy some new Sleekeasy’s Hair Potion next time I was in Diagon Alley. "I’m coming… Just wait please." I grabbed my Ministry report from the dresser and rushed downstairs to where Ron was waiting.

"Took you long enough," he said, kissing my cheek. "You look beautiful." He had changed into more formal robes, but still managed to stay casual. Ron hated formality.

"Thanks," I replied. "I’m sorry, I wanted to freshen up so I don’t look like I work twenty-four hours a day." We smiled at each other, knowing full well that if I could work for twenty-four hours a day, I would. I walked to the corner of the room, pulled up the floorboard and put my report inside, sealing the compartment shut with my wand.

Tonight was the tri-monthly dinner that we all attended. The Weasleys were all on different schedules. Getting them together was tough, but Ron’s parents managed to do a good job of bringing us together every few months to catch up and stay in touch. We were spread around even though Bill had transferred to the Gringotts bank in Diagon Alley. Charlie was still the furthest away in Romania with his wife, Samantha.

Though Ginny, with Harry, still lived near us, she traveled so often that her schedule was almost impossible to coordinate. She became an entertainment reporter for Witchbeat after outgrowing her shy and reserved personality in her school days. Often, though, there were a few articles about herself in the magazine because of her relationship with the famous heartthrob, Harry Potter. During her sixth year, she had finally confessed to Harry what she felt (though he already had a sneaking suspicion) so he wouldn’t leave Hogwarts not knowing. They began dating two years after Ginny herself graduated Hogwarts. Five years later and they were still together. As for Harry, he played alongside Ron on the Chudley Cannons, a team who moved up in the league since they got Harry as a Seeker and Ron as a Keeper.

Ron and I married five years after graduating Hogwarts. In fact, our second wedding anniversary is in a few weeks. I used to have such a schoolgirl crush on him during my early years and I think he had begun to suspect something after we had that awful row the night of theYule Ball. Our friendship became a bit strained after I told him that my parents and I were going to vacation in Bulgaria that summer. But we had no time to quarrel in our last three years at Hogwarts; the Dark War had gotten to us all. But I’ll never forget that last day in our seventh year, when he first asked me if I wanted to go on a date with him after our graduation ceremony. He was stumbling over his words and his ears glowed an amazing shade of red. His eyes kept darting behind me and when I turned around I caught Harry, Seamus and Dean, all sitting on one of the couches, giving him encouraging looks and a thumbs up each. When they saw me looking, they looked like deer caught in headlights and quickly turned to open the upside-down books in front of them. I still tease him about that, but he just smiles as if recalling a fond memory.

Ron reached for the Floo powder jar by our fireplace. "Are you sure you have everything?" he asked. I nodded. "Here goes then."

He tossed some powder into the fire, which glowed a bright emerald green. "Ladies first," he said, gesturing me into the fire. I stepped in and shouted, "The Burrow!" Keeping my arms tucked in and my eyes closed, I felt myself being transported. I disliked traveling by Floo powder, but it was safer than Apparating and easier than a Portkey enchantment. A few seconds later, I stumbled out of the fireplace in the Burrow’s kitchen to find myself being steadied by Harry.

"Hermione!" He grabbed me in a big bear hug and lifted me well off my feet. "Haven’t seen you since I got back from the Caribbean."

I laughed and returned the hug. "Well, if you weren’t always off gallivanting somewhere with my sister-in-law, I’d see you more often!"

"Who’s talking about gallivanting?" Ginny stood by Harry’s side with a grin on her face. Harry let me go and she stepped forward to give me a hug too.

I felt Ron come out the fire from behind me and let Ginny go so she could rush and almost attack him with a hug. Harry followed suit, but instead of a hug, he and Ron simply clapped each other on the back a few times. Ginny and I rolled our eyes at each other.

"You’re here!" I heard. Molly and Arthur came into the kitchen and greeted us. They were beginning to show their age, having been grandparents for six years already. Arthur’s hairline was non-existent and Molly had that glow that grandmothers get when they had the chance to spoil their grandchildren. "Dinner’s almost done here; we were just saying hello to Bill and Abby in the living room."

"Abby?" inquired Ron.

"Bill’s girlfriend of the month," whispered Ginny into his ear.

Molly frowned at Ginny. "You kids go on ahead and say hi to the others. I’ll finish up in here." She herded us towards the living room.

"Harry, can I talk to you for a second?" asked Arthur, beckoning Harry into another room on the opposite side of the kitchen.

The rest of us walked out into the living room leaving Molly behind to put the finishing touches on the dinner. The Burrow was much nicer looking since the times I had visited it during our Hogwarts days. Since Voldemort’s second defeat in our seventh year, Arthur accepted the promotion at the Ministry and had escalated upwards ever since. He became the Minister a few years later, and the Weasleys have long lost their status as a poor wizarding family.

I saw Bill with a brown-haired girl I had never seen before, Fred and a very pregnant Angelina, and Percy with Penelope and two of their kids, Emma and Charlotte. Their eight-month-old daughter was nowhere to be seen. The two girls threw themselves at Ron while we exchanged greetings with Percy and Penelope.

"Where’s Bethanie tonight?" asked Ron.

"Home with a sitter," replied Percy glumly. "She’s a little sick so we thought it’d be safer if she didn’t come." Percy’s tight work schedule alongside me at the Ministry of Magic allowed him little leisure time, and all of it was spent with his family.

I had seen Percy already that day at the Ministry so I walked over to Angelina. "Oh, Hermione, I feel like I’m going to just fall over any second," she wailed. I tried to embrace her but her large belly was in the way. Fred came over to us after chatting with Ron about the Cannons’ future games.

"It’ll all be worth it when they arrive, dear," he said, putting an arm around her waist. Angelina and Fred looked so different that we all wanted to know what the twins would look like when they were born. Fred’s red hair and fair skin were completely different from Angelina’s black locks and chocolate complexion. The two had married in the same year as George and Katie (though still many months apart) after Fred and George successfully established Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes in Hogsmeade. They had settled down and each pair owned a flat near the store.

"I know," she replied. "I can’t wait till I can get back into Quidditch. My team needs me!" Angelina played for the Falmouth Falcons. "I’ve been keeping track of their game," she explained to me, "and they’re not faring so well while I’m pregnant and Katie’s gone to a reserve status." Katie Bell had taken to being a reserve player on the Falmouth Falcons a few months after she gave birth to Alden. The two former Gryffindor Chasers had gone on into professional Quidditch along with Alicia Spinnet, who had been snapped up by another team. Last I heard, she was still together with Lee Jordan.

"Where’re the others?" I asked.

"Charlie and Samantha are using a Portkey so they’ll be here soon…" Fred answered. Two thumps and a happy voice that could be identified as Molly drifted from the kitchen into the living room. "And I think George and Katie have just arrived."

Sure enough, George and Katie walked in a moment later accompanied by Alden who was hanging onto Katie by her neck. It was unsafe to let little kids travel by themselves using Floo powder. "Hello, hello!" cried George. Alden detached himself from Katie’s hand and ran over to the rest of his cousins.

"We come bearing gifts," said Katie. She carried a small parcel over to Angelina. "This is from Alicia. She says she’s sorry she couldn’t make it to the shower." Angelina opened the gift and held up two small jumpers, one pink and one blue. The fronts were enchanted to change pictures every few seconds. Everyone was oohing and aahing when Charlie and Samantha made their appearance in our midst, holding onto an old book, along with six year old Leo and four year old Maddie. The living room was getting crowded.

Harry walked in alone, looking grim. I saw Ron shoot him a questioning look, but he simply shook his head and mouthed, Later. He joined Bill and Abby in the corner and began to strike up a conversation with them.

I was chatting with Percy and Charlie about dragon skin and its uses when Molly hollered, "Dinner’s ready!" There was sudden stampede towards the dining room where delicious aromas were emanating.

"Gather around everyone," said Arthur. We took our appropriate places around the table with Molly and Arthur at either end. Almost instantly, we began talking and comparing stories.

Penelope and Samantha had engaged Angelina in a discussion about having children and how it changed their lives. "You will be so amazed at what it’s like," Penelope was saying. (Katie chimed in from the other end of the table with, "And you lose a lot of sleep!") Thank goodness I wasn’t going through that yet. I couldn’t imagine not being able to work for so long. I once confided this to Ginny, who simply just gave me an incredulous look, then left it alone after realizing it was me speaking. It’s well known that I love my work.

"Then Jackson passed back to Clifford but by then Chang had already gotten the Snitch! It was so close." Ron was relating last month’s Cannons vs. Arrows match to Charlie. "Of course we would have won but Harry was off in the Caribbean." Harry looked apologetic as he took a piece of the turkey pie. I couldn’t help but notice that he looked a little tense.

"Emma, dear, have some more peas. They’re good for you." Molly, of course.

Percy was telling me, "And then he just dumped the papers on my desk and asked me to finish them within the hour. The hour! As if I could write up a report of world wide wizarding trade relations within the hour!"

Bill was near the end of the table with Abby. I could catch little snippets of their conversation. "And that’s Katie, she’s George’s wife… Leo over there is the oldest of the nieces and nephews, he’s six… That’s Harry. Oh, of course, you know who he is… That’s Ron’s wife, Hermione, she’s part of the Research of Dark Arts Defense Department at the Ministry…" Abby was nodding and looking as if she was concentrating, trying to memorize every fact Bill gave her.

"Excuse me, can I have your attention, please?" Arthur stood up, clinking his spoon on his wineglass. He waited for us to quiet down. "Prior to dinner tonight, Harry asked me if he could make an important announcement during dinner." His eyes twinkled. "Harry?"

Harry stood up, walked a few feet away from the table and gestured for Ginny to stand alongside him. The rest of us gave each other grins and nudges. We had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen.

"Ginny," he began, his voice wavering. "I first saw you when I was eleven chasing after the Hogwarts train at King’s Cross." His voice steadied. "I knew you as Ron’s sister in my second year when we grew closer after I came to your rescue in the Chamber of Secrets." We laughed. Abby looked puzzled. "We became close friends in fifth year," he paused with a knowing look on his face, "and then something more after we graduated." He got down on one knee, pulled out a small velvet box and smiled nervously as Ginny gave a little squeal of excitement. We, particularly the wives at the table, stared in awe at the huge, sparkling diamond,. "Virginia Weasley, will you do me the honour of being my wife?" His last few words were drowned out as we whooped and catcalled around the table.


She let out what sounded like an "Of course!" and promptly began to cry. Harry chuckled, relieved, and gathered her into his arms. We cheered louder when he put the ring on her finger. ("That’s one big rock, Ginny!" whooped Fred.) Following the others, Ron grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the newly engaged pair to congratulate them.

* * *

"So when’s the wedding, Harry?" asked Bill, grinning.

"Hmm?" Harry looked dazed. "Oh, uh… Ginny?"

Ginny turned to him from her conversation with Angelina and Katie. "Oh, a spring wedding would be nice. You know what’d be wonderful though - a sort of winter wonderland kind of theme. Maybe we could enchant the hall to let down a bit of snow? Though summer would be nice: an outdoors reception and everything…"

Fred leaned over to Harry who looked a little alarmed. "Just let her do everything. Trust me."

"Are you sure you’re all full?" Molly asked us for the third time.

"Please, Mum, I can’t eat another bite," said Ron. Those around the table heartily agreed with him.

"Molly, you’ve certainly outdone yourself this time," said Samantha. She was sitting nestled into Charlie’s shoulder.

Penelope, who we all enjoyed referring to as a ‘Miniature Molly,’ turned to her two daughters, "What do you say, kids?"

"Thanks, Gramma," they chorused. Percy grinned proudly and reached out to tousle Charlotte’s hair.

"Percy," groaned Charlie, "I only wish my kids were as well-behaved as yours." His kids, Maddie and Leo, gave him patronizing looks.

Ron bent over to me. "When we have kids," he whispered, "let’s have them go wild, okay?"

I smiled and whispered back, "Let’s also buy them lots of books." He grimaced and turned back to the table.

I looked at those around me. Molly and Arthur sat together at the head of the table, playing with a few of their grandchildren. Ginny was showing off her ring to Charlie and Bill. Fred and George were running around with Percy’s little girls. And Harry… Harry was staring off into space, fiddling with a fork in his hand. I frowned. Something was wrong. I had dismissed his behavior as anxiety with the proposal but I now knew that wasn’t it.

I had no time think, though, because at that moment, someone knocked on the front door. We all looked at each other, no one really wanting to have to go answer. Finally, Charlie sighed. "I’ll get it."

He left us and a few moments later we heard the door open. We heard a happy "Hello!" from Charlie, then a low voice speaking in earnest. Charlie came back into the dining room. "Harry, Ron, Hermione," he said. "Remus Lupin’s here. He wants to speak with you."

Ron and I looked at each other puzzled, but Harry simply nodded and rose to meet Remus. After excusing ourselves, we followed.

//
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