The Sugar Quill
Author: Thing1 (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Let's Just Keep Our Fingers Crossed  Chapter: Chapter 2
Next Chapter
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Chapter Two

Ron fought the urge to start pacing by going over to sit next to Remus, who smiled at him with a rather knowing and confiding look. Ron gave him an exasperated grin and small shake of the head in return, knowing that Remus, more than anyone else, sympathised with what he was feeling right now. Hermione is very like Katie; Remus explained when I got married that it’s an art form learning to balance a life with such a clever and strong partner. He was right; I didn’t think that anything would change when we got married, and that I already had a handle on my relationship with Hermione after nine years. ‘Wrong’ seems too pathetic a word even for that revelation. When you’re married and living together, storming off to sulk is not an option.

Ron nodded his head in Malcolm’s direction, the boy now up and moving again as he chatted with Houghton Adams. His energy level seems to have gone up threefold in the past year…. Is that to be expected?

"Congratulations. Hope your study has recovered."

Remus laughed heartily and glanced over at Malcolm with an adoring look before winking at Ron.

"All’s well. Malcolm is just bursting now, and wants to try all sorts of things. We’ve had to come down rather firmly on him, of course, but now we spend an hour every day doing very simple things, so he’s managing to contain himself. Mostly."

"Mostly?"

"Remember when you first started doing magic, Ron? Didn’t you want to see what you could really do every minute of every day?"

Ron thought about that, and then gave a small laugh. "Actually, I did. But I needed to for defensive purposes. Mum and dad kept Fred and George off me while I wasn’t able to any magic to ‘fight back’, but once I could, well, you can imagine."

Remus laughed again. "Good point. Hadn’t thought of that. Being an only child, I never had that particular issue to contend with. But thanks for pointing it out. Malcolm hasn’t got round to teasing his sisters just yet, but it’s only a matter of time. We’ll have to make it clear that it’s not on to use an unfair advantage."

"I’ll coach Roarke and Annie when the time comes."

"Thank you. But don’t let Katie catch you doing it," chuckled Remus.

Ron shook his head emphatically. "No. And don’t rat me out to Hermione."

Remus gave him a softer look now. "Excited?"

"Yes. And terrified."

"You’ll do wonderfully. I see how you are with Malcolm. You’re a natural."

"Thank you. Means a lot coming from another ‘natural’."

"You think? I never considered myself one; I never expected to have a child, so I never really thought about it."

"You were such a good teacher, Remus…."

Remus shook his head, but he still smiled. "That’s a different thing altogether. Teaching is ‘temporary’. Being a parent is all day, everyday. And it has much different responsibilities. You just wait. You thought your life changed drastically when you got married? That was nothing. Hermione is your equal, and you’ve entered into a partnership with her. Your son or daughter is a drastically different relationship, and your life will change profoundly for it. But it’s worth every second, if I might say so."

"And every destroyed room?"

"And every single destroyed room. But try not to laugh when you should be furious, as it undermines your position….Malcolm! Do come here!"

Ron looked back over at Malcolm who seemed to be engaged in doing something with one of the programmes while Adams watched him with an indulging smile. He stopped instantly at the sound of Remus’ voice, gave a rather guilty small smile, and handed the programme back to Adams before dutifully coming over to take his father’s outstretched hand.

"He’s showing he can flip the pages over without touching the book," muttered Remus under his breath before Malcolm reached him. "He knows I don’t want him doing anything unsupervised and certainly not out in public. No real control just yet and who knows what he might do, however innocently?"

Ron shook his head and again felt a small tinge of panic at the thought of what it was going to be like once he reached this point. If keeping a constant eye on Malcolm is an issue, imagine what it must be like with a more…rambunctious child. I think I’ll have a long talk with dad…no, better talk with mum about it.

Malcolm climbed up onto Remus’ lap and Remus wrapped his arms around Malcolm rather firmly.

"Sorry, dad."

"Alright. I know you’re excited, Malcolm, but please when I ask you not to do something, don’t do it. And the same rule applies for when mummy says not to do something. We’re not trying to be unfair, we’re just keeping you safe, understand?"

"Yes."

"Good. I love you."

"I love you, too."

Ron smiled and his panic receded somewhat. He leaned back to glance past Remus at Hermione, who seemed to have caught the exchange between Remus and Malcolm as well, and when she saw Ron looking at her, gave him her own radiant smile. Oh, I love that look. Same smile I first saw when I asked her to marry me. Eventually….

***

 

Voldemort was dead. It was almost too much to believe at first. It took several weeks after that final terrible night for it to really sink in. But after the evidence of the battle had been repaired, after the Ministry had been rebuilt and the government fully functional again, and after the lost were mourned, the fear had dissipated at last and joyfulness returned to their lives.

Harry had arrived at the Burrow one day shortly after breakfast smiling. Ron looked at him closely and realized he hadn’t seen Harry smile like this in a long time. He was fully recovered physically from what had happened, they all had, but he had been emotionally dark and withdrawn still. Of course, the fact that they had lost Pettigrew that night wasn’t helping in the slightest. Harry hadn’t bounced back like he usually did after that, and Ron was starting to worry about him. Now he looked more like his old self.

"Ron. What are you doing today?"

"Well, as I start full-time with the Cannons on Monday," he paused while they grinned at each other, "I thought I’d use this last day of unemployed freedom to take Hermione on a picnic."

Harry gave him a rather dubious look.

"Ron, it’s practically December; you’ll freeze. Not very romantic to be sneezing and sniffling at each other, is it?"

"Harry, I think I can handle a few heating spells. Sure it’s chilly, but it’s still clear."

Harry glanced out the window.

"Don’t know, Ron, looks a little dodgy…."

"Oh shut up, Harry. I know what I’m doing."

Harry laughed and sat down across from him at the table. "Hmm. Sounds like you’re concentrating more on just getting away somewhere private with Hermione."

"And if I am?"

"Enjoy yourselves. Any particular reason for the determination?"

Ron scowled at him. "Careful…."

"Oh for goodness sake, Ron. You dithered about for ages before finally admitting you were in love with her, why dither now? You two are a sure thing. Just ask her…."

"Stop right there. We’ve had this conversation. Yes, I’ve given it real thought. Yes, of course…. Of course I want to marry her. But let me choose the right time to ask. We’ve all just been through so much; we need time."

"For what?" asked Harry, now looking a little angry. "Why waste anything you’ve got? Who knows how much time any of us have?"

Ron said nothing and just looked at him. Harry sighed and put his head in his hands for a moment before looking back up with an apologetic smile.

"Sorry, mate. Look, I didn’t mean for that to sound harsh. I meant well, it just came out wrong. Marry Hermione. Do it sooner rather than later. It means so much to me that you have each other… stop; that came out wrong too. You two are my best friends, and I am thrilled for you. And I can’t wait to see you get married. Why wait? There’s no point to waiting."

Ron nodded and reached for the picnic basket he’d packed earlier.

"Harry, I promise. Sooner rather than later. I just want…I want the perfect moment to ask."

Harry smiled, and then looked back out the window.

"Better get a move on before it rains, then, or no chance for a perfect moment today."

"It is not going to rain and I have no intentions of asking today. I’ll ask when I’m ready. When we’re ready."

"Fine. Have fun."

Ron and Hermione had had almost a perfect day, but it did start to cloud up in the afternoon, so they packed up and started walking back to the Burrow. They were about half way there, strolling down a small tree-lined road in contented silence, when the skies opened up.

There was no quiet drizzle to warn them. One moment it was chilly but clear, the next they were soaked to the skin as rain pelted them. Startled, they dashed under one of the large trees and stood close to the trunk, looking out at the rain with slightly stunned expressions. Finally Hermione gave a small laugh.

"What’s so funny?"

"Not sure. That was a little sudden, that’s all."

"Harry said it would rain, and I told him not to be so pessimistic. I’ll hear about this, I promise you."

Hermione giggled and hugged him.

"It’s just a little rain…."

"Little rain? Look at this! The road is already getting flooded!"

Indeed, puddles had already started to form on the pavement and along the edge of the road. The ground was already wet and waterlogged from showers earlier that week, and parts of the roadside threatened to turn into small ponds rather quickly.

"Come on, we’ll just Apparate back the rest of the way," said Ron, pulling one arm away from Hermione to reach for his wand. But she stopped him and shook her head.

"It’s not that far. We’re already wet, so let’s just finish our walk. I want you all to myself."

Ron kissed her for a few moments, then pulled back to look at her. "While I’m thrilled to the bone at that statement, I’m also getting soaked to the bone, as are you. We really should…."

Hermione shook her head and pulled back and walked out onto the road again, opening her arms and turning her face up to the rain, her eyes closed. Ron watched her, captivated at seeing the water run over her face, and across her still smiling lips. After a while she lowered her arms and turned back to face him with a smile.

"Come on! This is wonderful!"

"Hermione, it’s getting worse!"

"Ron, we so very nearly lost everything. It’s made me appreciate the really simple things all that much more. Something as simple as taking a walk in the rain through the countryside. Right now, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than that."

At that, Ron came over to join her, having nothing else to say. He took her hand and watched her for a few moments, then started to laugh.

"Who would ever have thought; bossy little Granger, closet romantic, wanting to be one with the rain."

She laughed too. "Bossy little Granger would have been outranged at the idea. Grown up, wiser Granger knows a thing or two and can think of nothing more romantic than strolling though a storm with her rather handsome and quite wonderful boyfriend." This made them both laugh harder.

They stood there in the downpour, shaking with laughter. Finally Hermione grabbed at her soaked hair and pulled it back from her face, fastening it quickly with a small band as she caught Ron’s eye and gave him a radiant, but rather mischievous smile. Ron felt his breath catch at the sight, and returned her smile with a questioning look.

"You know what I loved to do when I was little?"

"Read books?"

Hermione guffawed at him and gave a little jump. "I didn’t spend all my time reading, Ron. I also really loved to do this!"

At that she jumped up and came down as heavily as she could in the rather large puddle at his feet, soaking him further and adding mud to the mix. Giving a shout he jumped back, but she followed him, still jumping through the water as hard as she could, laughing again. Right, two can play at this game….

Ron launched a counter attack, drawing a shriek from Hermione who did retreat a bit, but kept up her vigorous sloshing. They must have been yelling and leaping about for several minutes before they finally reached the edge of the road, and Ron’s left foot sank heavily into the mud there as he misjudged a jump.

"Hold it! Hold it! I’m stuck!"

Hermione did stop leaping about and came over to offer him an arm to hold to steady himself as he pulled his foot free. It came away from the mud with a ‘shulck’ noise they could hear even over the sound of the rain pounding on the tress and the pavement, making them both dissolve into giggles again.

Ron kept hold of Hermione’s shoulder for balance as he held his foot up to inspect the damage and tried to sound indignant as he said, "look at what you’ve gone and made me do, woman!"

She would have none of it, but did lean in closer to give him a very gentle kiss on the lips.

"Sorry," she whispered.

Ron stopped laughing and just gazed at her face. She had changed so much from the bossy little girl he’d met all those years ago. Hermione would never be considered a ‘classic beauty’, but she was breathtaking in her own simple, no-nonsense fashion. And she looked stunning to him even standing here, wet to the bone, hair a wild mess from the wet and the leaping about. Ron looked at her intently, watching her warm brown eyes and the slight smile on her face. She said nothing else, but seemed content just to stand here with him in this ridiculous rainstorm.

Harry’s right…this is forever. So why wait? Time isn’t to be wasted; we won, but who knows when the next lunatic will rise up? I want this. I want her. I want that life, and I’m not going to waste one more second….

"Hermione," he said softly, lowering his leg back to the ground so he could turn to face her and grasp her lightly by the arms.

"Hmmm?"

"I…well, I was going to do this properly one day. But, well, I guess I forgot something in all my scheming. I was thinking so much about how to do this, I forgot why I wanted to…." He trailed off a bit as she shook her head slightly.

"What? You’re not making any sense, Ron."

"Well, that’s to be expected," he said with a faint laugh, then smiled at her. "I’ll try again. Marry me."

Hermione’s face took on a very unfamiliar look of shock and total surprise. Ron panicked for a moment, and rushed on.

"I’d wanted to do this the right way, you know? Flowers, dinner…maybe when we were a little older…." He grinned, now feeling a determined calm come over him. "But what I was trying to say, rather poorly just now, was that I was wasting time trying to think of something ‘perfect’ that others thought up. This is all about you and me. I love you. And right now, this just seems…a perfect time for us. Does that make sense?"

She nodded mutely, but still said nothing. Ron waited a few moments, watching her and just waiting to see what she’d say. The rain continued to pour over them, and the sky had started to get darker, but he felt, probably for the first time in his life, completely calm. Eventully she gave him a very shaky smile.

"It is perfect," she whispered.

He nodded. "This is forever, Hermione. I know that. I’ve known it for a long time, despite my original reticence and rather pig-headed determination to admit it."

"Well, I could have…."

Ron put a finger to her lips. "No, I didn’t make it easy for either of us, it wasn’t you. I wasted some of our time, but I don’t want to waste another second."

Hermione flung her arms around his shoulders and buried her face against his neck.

"Forever," he felt her whisper against his neck.

"Is that a yes?"

"Yes."

"Good."

"I love you, Ron," she said, pulling back and finally giving him a huge, happy and very solid smile.

Ron just nodded, now feeling tears in his eyes. Forever.

//
Write a review! PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of reviewing a story or piece of art at the Sugar Quill is to provide comments that will be useful to the author/artist. We encourage you to put a bit of thought into your review before posting. Please be thoughtful and considerate, even if you have legitimate criticism of a story or artwork. (You may click here to read other reviews of this work).
* = Required fields
*Sugar Quill Forums username:
*Sugar Quill Forums password:
If you do not have a Sugar Quill Forums username, please register. Bear in mind that it may take up to 72 hours for your account to be approved. Thank you for your patience!
*Comment:
The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For questions, please send us an Owl!

-- Powered by SQ3 : Coded by David : Design by James --