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One thing is clear.
I wear a halo.
I wear a halo when you look at me.

“Feeling better, Hermione?” Ron asked, knocking on the door before opening it slightly.

“You can come in, Ron,” she said. “I’m decent.”

He felt his ears heat up at her sarcastic retort as he entered, but he was glad that she was feeling well enough to use such a scathing tone.

She had just changed into some black robes, as the memorial was to begin in roughly an hour. They were all scheduled to meet at the field of the Last Battle where those that died were to be buried, and Harry was expected to speak, though everyone knew that he wouldn’t.

“What’s going on downstairs? Is everything okay?” she asked, speaking of the frequent wails that floated up from the first floor.

“It’s Fred. He’s back.”

“Back!” she cried, a smile of delight on her face. “That’s wonderful, Ron… Back… But how is he-”

“He’s bad,” Ron replied shortly, sitting down on his bed and sighing heavily. “He’s basically been drunk for the past weeks… He just can’t admit that George is… gone…”

Hermione sat down beside him, putting her hand on his shoulder. “Ron, I’m sorry. It’s hard for all of us, but especially for Fred… Why, it must be-”

“I was thinking, Hermione,” Ron said, raising his voice over hers. “That maybe you should stay here.”

“What? Well I suppose I’m staying here,” she replied, looking a little flustered. “I don’t have much of another –”

“No, I mean… for today.”

“What? Not go to the memorial? Are you insane? Everyone’s going.”

“Not everyone,” he replied defensively. “I heard Harry say he didn’t want to go this morning… and if he doesn’t go then I won’t-”

“What?” Hermione exploded. “Harry is going.”

“No he’s not.”

“Yes he is. He has to.”

“Says who?”

“Says decency!” Hermione cried. “We all could have been killed on that field –We all could have been buried there. Your brothers… Ron… your brothers. What about them? If it had been us instead of them, I know they’d be there to say good-bye. It’s up to us now.”

“I can’t go back there… You can’t go back there, Hermione.”

“I am going,” she said, once again staring at him with that look of fiery determination. “And I know after Harry gets it out of his system now, he’ll be going too. He lost friends that day. We all did.”

“I don’t want you to go.”

“No one wants to go, Ronald!” she screamed, pushing him back in disgust as she got up from his bed. “Believe me, we’re all dreading returning to that place. But we must. In honor of those who never left.”

She stood there, staring at him with those wide brown eyes, almost begging him to understand.

In one swift motion he was off the bed and standing before her without even thinking about it. Her expression had changed to curiosity, but he didn’t give her a chance to say anything, as he leaned in to kiss her for the first time on the lips.

She pulled away abruptly in confusion, and he continued to stare down at her, letting her frantic eyes search his. After several seconds that felt much longer than they really were, she lifted her chin to kiss him back.

He really didn’t know what he was doing, but he wasn’t going to stop. He couldn’t stop –wouldn’t stop. There was too much pain to be felt if he did. Too many bad memories and those horrible “what ifs.” He put his hand upon the small of her back, a request for her to come closer, which she did. He felt her hands wrap around her neck, she shivered slightly at his first attempt to deepen the kiss.

And as quickly as it started, she pulled away, resting her forehead on his chest. They both fell into an amazed silence, and he only held her tighter than before. After a while she lifted her eyes to meet his again.

“I’m glad you changed your mind,” she said quietly, smiling cryptically at him as she reached up to touch her lips with her fingers.

He looked away, clearing his throat with sudden anxiety as she pulled the door open.

“Let’s go,” she said.

He sighed, stepping forward and battling with the lump that had risen up his throat.

“You’ll feel better in the fresh air afterwards,” she continued soothingly, taking his hand.

Standing there in the hazy field, Ron didn’t know whether to feel relief or immense sadness. The massive amounts of people who had come to attend the memorial had dwindled down to a few scattered mourners here and there. The sun had made its way up the sky, and was beginning to break apart the clouds and fog. He could see Ginny and Harry’s figures before Lupin and Tonks’s graves. Harry had made a request that Lupin’s grave be moved to rest with his parents at Godric’s Hollow, and that Tonks’s be moved as well. They would place a special marker for Sirius, too, and at last the true Marauders and their loves would be together once again.

His parents were at Percy’s grave, still battling with what to think of their son who had first filled them with pride, then disowned them, then returned to regain their trust, dying in the process.

Ron scanned the field to find Fred, Bill, Fleur, and Charlie at George’s grave. Fred had finally broken down and was openly sobbing against the stone, while the others knelt to soothe him and shed their own tears.

But he was looking for Hermione, who had slipped away from the others to pay her respects to each and every marker on the field. He finally saw her figure in the far corner of the field, where no one had bothered to go. She was sitting quite still beneath a tree, staring it seemed, at one particular stone. Leaving Colin Creevey’s grave, he began his long walk to be at her side. When he was within earshot, he called her name.

“Hermione? Who’s over here?” he looked at the markers, which had been left smooth and unmarked. “Why aren’t they named?”

“This is where Draco Malfoy is buried,” she said quietly, hugging her knees close to her chest.

Realization dawned in Ron’s mind. This is where they buried the Death Eaters.

“That’s his… There…” she said, pointing straight at the one across from her.

“How can you tell?” he said, remaining aloof as she stood up slowly and walked towards it.

“He was felled right here… I saw it happen.”

“Who killed him?” Ron asked, finding his bitter tone to be suddenly too harsh for the “decency” that she had pleaded with him for earlier that morning.

“One of his own,” Hermione replied quietly, looking down and smiling sadly, her faint laughter turning to tears. “Can you imagine, Ronald? After everything he did… and he was killed accidentally by one of his own.”

“No one else is over here, Hermione… Let’s go back,” Ron said, hating to see her cry over such a pathetic person.

“It’s okay, Ron,” she said, shaking him off. “They’re all at rest now… No matter whose side they were on, they’re all at peace now.”

At these words, an odd expression crossed Ron’s face. Hermione looked at him in concern. “Are you all right?”

“Did you mean it, Hermione? When you said that your father would have liked me?”

She frowned in confusion at first, but then broke into a smile, walking towards him. “Yes… But whatever would make you ask me again?”

“Because when we go over to see your parents… When I go with you… I’m going to ask his permission to marry you.”

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