The Sugar Quill
Author: MissDaisy  Story: Settled  Chapter: Default
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The Burrow was a mess with spangled wrapping paper, empty champagne bottles and torn golden streamers lying everywhere

Many thanks to Helen H. for the helpful and constructive beta.  Thanks also to coquillage and magicaljules for multiple readings and generally tolerating me, especially when I’m being a Prima Daisy.

 

For Katinka, who wanted some Ron and Hermione. 

 

 

 

 

Settled

 

The Burrow was a mess.

 

“Glad we aren’t the ones who have to clean this place,” Ron drawled sleepily.  “Mum’s going to go spare when she wakes up tomorrow and sees what it looks like now that everyone has gone home.”  

 

It was true, The Burrow was a mess with spangled wrapping paper, empty champagne bottles and torn golden streamers lying everywhere. Bill and Fleur’s wedding had gone off without a hitch and the entire household was exhausted. Tomorrow, Harry, Ron and Hermione were setting off for Godric’s Hollow; tonight, they relaxed together in Ron's room. 

 

“Lazy,” Hermione said, with a smile in her voice. 

 

“Not true, Hermione!  We worked like house--madmen to get this place ready for the wedding, didn’t we, Harry?” Ron replied, with a wink at Harry.

 

“Yeah, Hermione. We spent the whole day at it.  And you should feel even sorrier for me than you should for Ron--It isn’t his birthday,”  Harry added. 

 

“Please, at least you were together,” Hermione replied.  “I missed you both so much.” 

 

Ron and Harry had gone on to brave the Dursleys without Hermione, as she had needed the time to say goodbye to her parents.  It had been tedious waiting for Harry’s seventeenth birthday and freedom, but they had brought Ron’s chess set and so many Chocolate Frogs, Hermione would have been nauseated for them had she known.  Harry’s need to stay at the Dursleys’ until he came of age coupled with Bill and Fleur’s anxiety to be wed meant they would henceforth be celebrating both events on July 31st

 

Hermione had only joined them at the Burrow that afternoon and in the fuss of the day’s events, they hadn't had time until now to tell her how Mrs. Weasley had taken the news that the three of them wouldn't be returning to Hogwarts next year. 

 

“She fussed a bit, well, rather more than a bit.  You know Mum,” Ron said. “Couldn’t expect anything less.  But not for very long, really, all things considered.”

 

“As she just spent spent the whole morning of her eldest son's wedding teaching you spells for cleaning clothes and packing up her stores of Insta-Cook and MeatPreserva, it couldn’t have been that bad,” Hermione said practically.

 

“Well, you missed the funny bit,” Ron told her and Harry, attempting to skirt the topic of his mother’s anxiety.  His astonishingly accurate imitation of Mrs. Weasley’s distinctive tone did the trick in no time flat. 

 

What about Hermione?  What do her parents have to say about all this? A young woman of her age traveling about who knows where with not one, but two unattached young men? It’s just not decent.”

 

Given that Hermione was lying on Ron's bed, using his lap as a pillow while he twirled his fingers through her hair, playing with the elegant curls, Mrs. Weasley’s concerns were both further from and closer to the mark than she realized. 

 

But his behavior had been purely decent. Since Hermione had arrived at The Burrow that afternoon, Ron had not left her side.  His affection for her had not taken the same form as his very public attachment to Lavender Brown, but still, Ron had not missed a chance all day to brush a hand down her arm or rest his arm across her waist.

 

“Speaking of that,” Harry started up from his seat at Ron's desk and headed for the door. “You’re going to have to get this thing settled, you know.” He gestured inadequately at the two of them, but the expression on his face was firm.  “We have to stay together now.  I can’t stand it if you two stop talking to each other again, because Ron looks too long at a pretty barmaid or some bloke pays Hermione a compliment.”  Harry’s determination not to undergo another year like last year was clearly overriding his embarrassment.  This would normally have made Ron feel guilty if he hadn’t been so annoyed at Harry for ruining a perfect evening by mentioning his weakness for pretty faces.  And his jealousy over Hermione.  What was he on about?  “I, erm, need you both. So, you know, settle things, why don’t you?” he said gently, closing the door behind him.  Oh, right.  That’s what he’s on about.  Well. 

 

“Settle things, huh,” Ron said quizzically, looking down at Hermione. “Hermione, it is settled. Isn’t it?  It is for me.”

 

She sat up slowly and turned to face Ron, her head tilted to one side.  “It is?” Hermione asked. “You might have let me know,” she chided him gently. “You’ve never even kissed me.” 

 

“Well, you’ve never kissed me either, you know,” Ron replied.  “Not properly, that is.”

 

“Ron, I’m not going to just throw myself at you!” Hermione exclaimed, blushing a bit at the thought. 

 

“That’s what Lavender did.”  Ron wagged his eyebrows at her.

 

Hermione fell forward, giggling. “Well, I’m just not going to go first, so get that idea right out of your head.” 

 

“Oho, you won’t do that, but you will attack me with canaries? Lucky for me you can’t conjure vultures.”

 

“Let’s not talk about last year,” Hermione said quickly, shaking her head dismissively.

 

“Okay by me,” Ron said, relieved.  “But I did tell you that I love you, Hermione.  That happened too.”  His face felt hot and he began smoothing the faded bedspread, as though getting all the wrinkles out was far more important than seeing her reaction. 

 

Hermione took Ron’s hands in hers, looking at them. “You did at that, didn’t you?”

 

“I never…I mean, no one else…I mean…I love you, Hermione, I really do.” 

 

He took one of his hands out of hers and cupped it under her chin, raising her eyes to his.

 

“Are you scared?” he asked quietly.

 

“Terrified,” she answered. “It seems as though only a second ago I was a swotty little bookworm with no friends and now I’m about to chase after bits of Voldemort’s soul. It’s so unbelievable and horrifying.”

 

“Oh, Hermione, I’m sorry.  I wish things were different,” Ron breathed, wrapping his long arms around her.

 

“At least I’ll have the two bravest boys in Hogwarts with me,” she said into his chest.

 

And I’m the tallest,” Ron added.

 

Hermione laughed weakly.  “That you are.”

 

“And we’ll have the smartest witch in Hogwarts looking after us. What could go wrong?” he added.

 

“Lots,” she answered in a muffled voice. “But Dumbledore would want us to go with Harry,” she continued, looking up again, tears in her eyes.

 

 “That’s what I told Mum,” Ron said, gently laying his forehead against hers. “That’s why she stopped fussing about the three of us going off and started fussing about us having clean clothes.” 

 

They were both silent for a moment.

 

“I feel so scared. It’s just not possible without Dumbledore. You know it isn’t.”  Hermione was white-faced and whispering. 

 

“Don’t say that,” Ron breathed. “Please, Hermione, don’t ever say that.” He leaned in closer and gently, finally, determinedly kissed her.

 

It was a promise stronger than any Unbreakable Vow, a joy powerful enough to conjure a thousand Patroni, a passion more potent than any magic they had ever felt flow through their veins.

 

“I love you, Ron,” Hermione said.  “I do, really.”

 

“So, it’s settled,” he said simply.

 

 “It’s settled,” she replied, with a grateful sigh.

 

“Of course,” he said, grinning just a bit indecently, and pulling her back to lay along side of him on the bed, “there’s no rule that say we can’t settle things just a little bit more.”

 

Some time later, Harry opened the door, intending to finish the last of his packing, but quickly closed it again.

 

Good to see that things were settled.

 

//
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