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Chapter 12

The Only One He Ever Loved

Molly smiled back, closing the door behind her before sitting next to Hermione on the bed. The older woman appeared to be searching for something to say before settling on,

"Did you have a nice birthday?"

Miranda's leaving the country, what else could I have asked for?

How about having both Ron and Hannah to share my birthday with?

"An interesting one," Hermione remarked, laughing softly. After a moment, she said seriously, "We both know why you've come to see me, Molly."

Molly didn't look surprised at her statement. She folded her hands on her lap and said; "If this was any other situation, I would be sending Harry to suggest a game of Quidditch to him, but …" She paused, biting on her tongue. "Your situation has complications a mother doesn't know how to fix."

Hermione lowered her gaze. Her situation with Ron was unique; she just prayed things would carry on looking brighter. "It's been like a mine-field since Ron and Harry came home. Everyone tip-toeing around carefully; me, trying not to step on a mine."

Molly placed a kind hand on her shoulder. "I know my boy better than anyone, and I can tell you that I didn't expect Miranda to become a permanent member of the family," she said gently. Hermione would have felt better if she hadn’t heard Molly say the same thing about Fleur when Bill brought her home. "You've always been in Ron's heart," she continued. "I knew the minute I heard about him and Harry going into the Forbidden Forest to find those spiders." She shook her head, making a 'hm' noise.

He's always tried to protect and help me. But is that enough to re-build a relationship? Is simple love enough?

Though I wouldn’t call my love for him simple … hard and frustrating at times, but at others; imperative, wholesome and fulfilling.

"We've both been hurt severely and I … I don't know if we can come back from this," Hermione admitted gravely, glad she had someone other than Crookshanks to tell her secrets to. She bowed her head, which was starting to throb.

"The only question you need to ask yourself is, 'are you going to try?'" Molly asked seriously. Hermione looked up at her, her eyes full of determination.

"When have I ever not at least tried?" Hermione asked, a small smile appearing on her face. Sure, it was going to be hard, but the tougher the situation, the sweeter the reward. Ron was worth it.

"You'll always have a home here, whatever happens," Molly said compassionately, her cheeks shining pink. "You've always been a daughter to me, Hermione. Nothing can change that."

Hermione could feel hot tears in her eyes and turned away to wipe them. When she turned back, she couldn't help but move closer and lean into in a well-needed hug.

"Harry and Ginny are giving Hannah a bath, so she won't disturb you," Molly said a few minutes later, after Hermione explained she was going to talk to Ron. Molly made her way to the door, but before leaving said, "Good Luck."


Hermione didn't remember the walk between bedrooms taking so long. Each footstep echoed off the walls and caused her stomach to flip over like a pancake. She only hoped a plan or even an opening sentence would form before she reached the top of the staircase.

What should I do? Act serious and ask to talk? Look pleased and snog him? Or maybe I should let my anger out and hit him? Maybe he should have the first move …

Why is this so hard? Ron broke up with Miranda, so logically there should be a happily ever after with a big stage kiss. Too many lies have been told, too many secrets kept and as much heartache as I can stand.

Can I even trust Ron? … Can he trust me? I probably wouldn't trust myself if I were him. We both had our reasons for each lie, so that should count for something … right?

Her heart beating uncomfortably against her chest, Hermione knocked on Ron's door. She heard him mutter, "Come in," and slowly opened the door. He was lying on his bed, his expression hard as he tossed a small box into the air, caught it, and repeated. When he saw her, he quickly sat up, stuffing the box into his pocket.

"Her-Hermione … hey," Ron said, flushing. He looked surprised to see her and looked slightly on edge. "What are you … I mean; I was going to come and … erm." He ran his fingers through his hair and motioned for her to sit on the bed.

"I thought you might have come to see me," Hermione admitted shyly, glancing up at his face.

"I was going to," he assured her, his hand resting a few inches away from her knee. He licked his lips, pausing, before saying, "I wasn't sure if you wanted to see me."

"Of course I did," she whispered. "I've been waiting in my room since you went upstairs." I wish Ron wouldn't bottle things up. That's one of the reasons why it took so long for us to get together in the first place … and to break up …

"Oh," he said, looking embarrassed and glancing away. "I was going to wait until the morning to talk to you. I wasn't sure what to say … if you were going to be angry or not."

Hermione furrowed her brow. "Angry? Why would I be angry with you?" she asked, wondering if she had said anything in the past twenty-four hours that he could have taken the wrong way.

He looked taken aback, surprised even by her question. "Have you not been awake for the past few weeks?" he asked seriously. "I'd bet my broomstick you didn't expect me to bring home Mir … someone. That things could get so awkward and tense …" he paused, before saying much quieter, "That I didn't trust you … caused you so much pain."

Hermione grimaced, realising that he must have felt so awful that he started to avoid her. A pang of sympathy, mixed with an indescribable feeling washed over her. Ron felt dreadful for lying about having a girlfriend and taking her side in an argument, while Hermione had lied about having a baby! Hermione wondered if he had forgiven her yet, when she hadn't forgiven herself.

Licking her lips, she shuffled closer to him, placing her hand on his. They each glanced down fleetingly, before returning to each other's faces. Ron looked warm and confused, while Hermione said, "Believe it or not, I've given the situation a lot of thought. Now, I'm going to be completely honest with you so please don't say anything until I'm done."

Ron looked scared.

She cleared her throat, feeling slightly uneasy with how honest she was about to be. Too many lies had been told over the past few years, lies that had lead to so much heartbreak that she couldn't see how telling the truth would make anything worse.

"While you undoubtedly hurt me over this whole situation -" she began, watching as he frowned deeply "- I understand that you had reasons for your actions. I've known you a very long time, Ron. Long enough to know how you work and feel." She paused, taking a deep breath. "Long enough to know that while you make mistakes, you also make me happier and feel more loved than I've ever been."

Ron flushed, looking overwhelmed by Hermione's confession. He mouthed soundlessly, the colour returning to his cheeks. "I never wanted to hurt you," he explained.

"I know," she said softly, her hand interlacing with his.

He looked strained, and said in a rush, "I thought you were getting bored with me." Hermione looked puzzled, but said nothing. "Your letters started to get shorter and more formal … you used to write heaps to Viktor and I just thought …" He trailed off, looking uncomfortable.

Hermione sighed heavily, feeling foolish. "The shorter the letter, the further along I was with the pregnancy. Everything was so baby-mad that I didn't have much to report to you on. I didn't want to lie … more." She blushed, realising how silly that sounded. "What I mean is, it took a lot out of me writing those letters that I just tried to sound casual and write less. I'm … I'm sorry."

Her eyes fell to her lap and she concentrated on how warm and moist Ron's hand felt in hers, wondering if it would be the last time she could feel it. She had tried hard to not let anything slip in the letters, afraid of what might happen, when in reality, they helped Ron end things with her.

They were silent for so long that when he spoke, he almost startled her. "I got an owl this morning." He glanced at her and Hermione guessed he was seeing if she was listening, because he continued. "From the Department of Housing and Homeless. I signed up for Auror Accommodation in London, figuring I couldn't mooch off my mum forever."

He's leaving? Oh Merlin, have I driven him away?

"Oh?" she asked, her voice croaking.

Ron nodded. "They've found me a flat in Crouch End; I can move in next week." He reached into his pocket, pulling out the small box he was playing with earlier and watched it carefully. "I've had a look around and it's quite big. Great bedroom for Hannah, right across the hall from ours."

Hermione's face lost all colour and she gasped as Ron looked up at her, grinning. "I … what? Our room ..?" she stuttered.

"You'll probably have a million reasons why we can't do this, but can I just say that we're both idiots and that I love you?" He squeezed her hand tenderly.

Hermione gawped at him, speechless at what to say or do. Her mind swam with so many questions that she began to feel light-headed. Isn't it too soon? Can we really make this work - living and being together? Do I love him enough to put all the pain behind me? Do I love him enough to trust him completely? Will Hannah be alright moving in with him? What if we fight more than usual?

"I got you something else for your birthday, other than the necklace," Ron suddenly said, handing her the box he was holding. When she opened it, she found a silver key on the end of a pewter otter. "I spent all day looking for that key ring in Diagon Alley before Harry helped me find one on the Indernet."

Hermione grinned to herself. Internet, Ron. Internet. "What's so special about the otter?" she asked, holding her breath as she knew the answer herself.

Rubbing his neck, he said, "Well, it's your Patronus, isn't it? I figured you might be a little nervous living with me, so the otter would be there to protect you - like Patronus' are there for." He cleared his throat and added, "I sound like a dork, don't I?"

Giggling, Hermione assured him, "You don't. It's one of the most romantic gestures I've ever heard of and makes me love you even more." Her cheeks tinged pink as she leant in and kissed his cheek. Ron's smile increased and his eyes brightened at her words. "I love you too, Ron," she confirmed. "And yes, I'll move in with you."

She smiled shyly, her head spinning as Ron placed a hand on her cheek, his thumb rubbing against the pink skin. He leant in, brushing his lips against hers. She shuddered involuntary, feeling a rush of lust and love engulf her body completely. She sighed against his soft caress and opened her mouth slightly to deepen the kiss, wrapping her arms around his shoulders, wanting to feel his warm body against hers.

He seemed to take the invitation and in turn, placed his hands on her waist. She felt his tongue run along her bottom teeth, and shuddered in pleasure once again.

It was only when she needed more oxygen did Hermione pull away slowly. Her face was red and her lips felt slightly numb. She motioned for Ron to lie down and crawled into his arms once he obliged.

"What are we going to tell everyone?" she asked a few minutes later, resting her leg between his as he held her closer, his hand stroking her hair.

"Nothing," he said simply. "They'll work it out."

She would have laughed if it wasn't so true. Suddenly realising that everyone probably already knew what had happened caused her to be thankful that she and Hannah would be moving in with Ron within the next few days. The grins, stares and 'awws' would become trying if she remained here.

What am I going to say to Hannah? She's only known Ron a few weeks and lived here her entire life, what if she doesn't want to go?

She loves Ron, though. Why wouldn't she want to live with him? She's already started to call him 'daddy'. I guess those pictures I gave her and the stories I told helped.
The fear that her daughter might ruin what happiness she had longed for scared Hermione more than losing Ron again.

"Are you all right?" he asked, glancing down at her. "You've gone all quiet and tense."

"I'm just worried about Hannah," she admitted. "You saw what she was like at the hospital, she might not want to live anywhere else …"

"This is different though," Ron said, kissing the top of her head. "St Mungo's was a cold scary hospital. At our place, she'll have two loving parents, her own room and a heap of toys. I can get to know her better than I already have these past few weeks and we can finally be a family."

"What if she misses your parents too much? Or Ginny! Hannah's barely spent a night away from them since she was born," Hermione asked, grabbing a handful of his shirt anxiously.

Ron made soothing sssh noises, wrapping his arms around her closer in what she guessed was an attempt to calm her down. "Hermione, it's going to be okay. We can explain everything to Hannah and assure her she'll still see Nana, Granddad and Auntie Ginny a lot. After all, we'll need some alone time once in a while."

He sounds so grown up, so mature.

Glancing up at him, Hermione realised how lucky she was. Ron had seemed to think of everything and she thanked him for it. A new chapter in her life was about to begin and she was so thankful that it involved him. He looked down at her and she leant in for another kiss; a slow and passionate kiss that stroked each vertebra in her spine with each flick of his tongue.

Hermione had never felt so loved or protected than she did right now, lying in his arms, surrounding her with affection and warmth. The thought that this feeling never had to end made all the months of anguish and heartache worth it. She had her Ron back, and Hannah finally had her daddy.

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