Hermione awoke with surprise by a loud noise and fell off the couch hard. Without thinking she reached out to break Julian’s fall but was shocked to find that he was no where to be found.
"Julian?" Hermione said in a loud panic, "Julian, honey where are you?" As if on cue, Julian came running out of the kitchen all covered in flour, "Mommy!" he shouted as he raised his flour covered hands, "We make pancakes!"
Hermione got up off the floor as Julian grabbed her and led her into the kitchen. Molly was busy retrieving the offending pots from the floor and Harry, Arthur and Ginny were sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast. Hermione began to feel slightly embarrassed as they all watched her enter, she had no idea how to act seeing as this was the first time Molly and Arthur had ever seen or even heard of Julian.
"Morning dear, did we wake you?" Molly said as she turned to moved the pancakes to the table, Hermione shook her head nervously. Molly smiled, "Good, now sit and have something to eat."
Hermione nodded slowly as she moved toward the table. "Sit here mommy," Julian called out excitedly as he patted the table hard. "Ok honey," Hermione answered as she took a seat. She looked over at Ginny who was smiling and took this as a good sign.
"How are you this morning Hermione?" Arthur asked as he took a sip of his morning coffee. His face was soft and welcoming which made Hermione feel more at ease. "A little tired," she answered honestly, "but nothing I'm not use to," she said as she nodded toward Julian, "this little one has always kept me on my toes."
"Mommy can I have juice?" Julian interrupted as he pointed at the jug of pumpkin juice that was sitting on the table. "Sure honey," Hermione answered as she got up, "I'll just get you a glass ok?"
"Nonsense, sit down," Molly said instantly, "I'll get it," she pulled out her wand and floated a glass over to Julian who grabbed it with enthusiasm, "thank you," he said politely as Hermione poured him a drink.
"Your very welcome dear," Molly said beaming as she watched Julian take a sip of his drink. Hermione felt overwhelmed, it had been her and Julian for so long she had forgotten how wonderful it was when surrounded by family and friends. She decided it was time she told them the truth.
"Molly, Arthur," she began, "I owe you both an explanation ...”
Hermione felt relieved that after she had told Molly and Arthur the truth they were nothing but supportive. Of course, they did feel it would have been better if she had stayed and not lied to Ron and the rest of them about her real reason for leaving but as all that was done now, they could only be grateful that both her and Julian were both safe and well.
"Well, now that’s all sorted," Ginny said as she began to clear the table, "As tonight is the big rehearsal, I have a surprise for my bridal party." Hermione looked at her curiously as she cocked her eyebrow, "what kind of surprise Ginny?" she asked suspiciously, experience had taught her that when it comes to Ginny and surprise, it was not always a good thing.
Ginny rolled her eyes, "The good kind Hermione," she answered as she finished cleaning up, "I booked us for an entire day of pampering!! Manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, hair makeovers – the lot!"
"Oh,” Hermione answered a little less enthusiastic then Ginny had hoped, “that’s um, great”
"Well don't be too excited," Ginny said sarcastically
"No, no I am excited Gin," Hermione answered quickly,” it's just ...” she looked sideways at Julian who was now sipping his second glass of pumpkin juice.
Molly followed Hermione’s line of sight and had a wonderful idea, "Arthur and I would love to look after Julian for you today dear," she offered,
"No, Molly I couldn't ask you to do that," Hermione responded, "It's too much-"
"Nonsense," Molly interrupted, "it will be no trouble."
"Great, that settles it!" Ginny said as she packed the dishes away into the cupboard, "Our first appointment is at ten so you better get ready Hermione."
Hermione nodded as she turned to Julian, "What do you say sweetie, you want to spend the day with Nana & Papa today?" she asked, motioning to Molly and Arthur. Hermione noticed Molly's face beamed when she said 'Nana'.
"Yeah!" Julian said excitedly, "Nana, can we make more pancakes?" he asked Molly whom Hermione noticed was trying desperately to hold back her tears of joy, "Of course we can dear," she answered, "We can make chocolate-chip one's this time, would you like that?" Julian nodded as he smiled happily.
"ok sweetie, lets go get you ready," Hermione said to Julian as she got off her chair, "Thanks again Molly," she said as she smiled and led Julian out of the kitchen.
Ron had been sitting on his childhood bed at the Burrow since he left Harry and Ginny's. He was leaning forward, his elbows on his thighs as he stared at the picture in his hand. It was here in this house, in this room that he had given his all to Hermione and she had done the same in return.
He just couldn't believe Hermione had lied to about the job in France. He was so depressed for months after she left and despite his attempts to owl her, she had never once replied. His life had been turned upside down then and now, it seems she had returned three years later to do it all over again. He hated that no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't be rid of his feelings. He gave a long hard sigh as he hung his head in his hands. His mind was going around in circles making it impossible to think straight.
He got up and walked over to the window. He pressed his forehead against the cool glass and closed his eyes. The image of Hermione and Julian, sleeping peacefully on the couch etched in his head. He put his hand on his chest; his heart was hurting so much he couldn't stand to hold it in any longer. He let go of the picture in his other hand and as it dropped to the floor, so did the tears from his eyes.
Mr Weasley was making his way up to the attic to retrieve some of the kid’s old toys when he noticed his youngest son standing alone in his room.
"Ron?” he walked closer to the door, "what are you doing here? He asked,
"I have a son dad," Ron answered still facing out the window, his voice was high pitched and shaky. Mr Weasley walked in and stood alongside his son, "I know Ron," he replied, "Hermione told us everything this morning," he put his hand on Ron's shoulder, “Are you ok?"
Ron looked at his father, Mr Weasley could see the fear in his eyes, "I'm scared dad." Ron said honestly, "What if I can't do it? What if I'm terrible father?"
Mr Weasley ran his hand through his hair and sighed, "Ron,” he began, “every new father feels that way at first. I know I did. But when Bill finally arrived and I held him in my arms for the first time I-"
"That's what I mean dad," Ron interrupted, "Julian’s not a newborn, he's a two year old boy. What if I can't get that connection with him?" Ron walked toward the bed and sat down; he wrung his hands nervously before he looked up at his dad again,
“What if it's too late?"
"It's never to late to try and be a good father Ron," Mr Weasley answered as he joined Ron on the bed, “He knows who you are son, all you need to do is be there for him.”
Ron sighed, “I don’t know if I can do that dad,” he said softly, “two years is a lot of time wasted.”
“But there is also a lot of time left,” Mr Weasley replied, “Think of all the wonderful things that are still to come!”
Ron snorted, “Ha, like what?” he asked sarcastically
“Like teaching him how to fly and how to play Quidditch,” Mr Weasley answered, “or teaching him how to play chess,” he continued, “not to mention his first years at Hogwarts and no doubt answering the many questions he might have about girls.”
Mr Weasley put his arm around his son’s shoulders, “the list goes on Ron. These are only some of the many things you can teach him.”
“I guess teaching him Quidditch would be kinda cool,” Ron said, half smiling, “but I’m not sure about the girl thing. I wasn’t much good at that,” he concluded sadly.
“I disagree,” Mr Weasley said as summoned the discarded pictured on the floor and handed it to Ron, “you found the love of your life when you were eleven years old,” he said kindly, “there are not many people that can say the same.”
Ron took the picture and stuffed it back in his pocket, “I’m not so sure about that anymore either,” he said glumly, “she lied to me dad, I can’t seem to see past that.”
“Hermione did what she thought was right at the time Ron,” Mr Weasley responded, "She thought she had your best interest at heart.”
Ron’s face turned to stone, “well she was wrong,” he said flatly, “and I’m not sure if I can ever forgive her for that.”
“Everyone makes mistakes Ron,” Mr Weasley replied, “Even Hermione.” He got up off the bed and picked up some of Ron’s old toys off the bed, “just think about that before you make any rash decisions ok?”
Ron nodded, “yeah ok,” Ron replied half-heartedly as he watched his father walk toward the door.
“Dad?” Ron said suddenly, Arthur turned to face his son, “yes son?” he answered,
“Just doing my job,” Mr Weasley answered before he stepped out of the room. He was about to walk to the attic when a sudden thought hit him.
“Son?” he asked Ron, who was now staring at the picture again, “would you help me get something from the attic?”
Ron stood up, “sure dad,” he answered. He placed the picture gently on the bedside table and followed his father to the attic, “what are you looking for?” he asked.
“Some old toys,” Mr Weasley responded as he riffled through some old boxes, “for Julian.”
Ron paused, “Julian?” he asked, “why?”
“Because he’s downstairs in the kitchen with your mother,” Mr Weasley answered, “Ah, here they are,” he said as he pulled out an old dusty box, “some of these could use a bit of a clean before I let him play with them though,”
“What?” Ron said as he tried to get his head around the situation, “Julian’s downstairs? Where’s Hermione?”
Mr Weasley picked up the box and made his way to the door, “She’s out with Ginny doing last minute wedding stuff,” he answered as he struggled to walk toward the door, “could you hold the door open son? This box is a lot heavier than I thought,”
“Here, let me,” Ron said as he went to take the box from his father, “so Julian is downstairs?” he asked trying to sound casual but failing miserably. Mr Weasley nodded, “indeed he is. Your mother is making him her famous chocolate chip pancakes.”
Ron’s eyes lit up, “chocolate chip pancakes?” he repeated, his mouth beginning to water, “they’re my favourite!” Mr Weasley laughed, “Well she’s making plenty if you want to join us,” he said.
Ron paused at the top of the staircase, “I don’t know dad,” he said nervously, “you don’t think it’s too soon?” he asked.
“It’s never too soon to make an impression,” Mr Weasley answered, “you don’t have to tell him you’re his dad straight away if you don’t want to son,” he said softly, “just come and meet him, you might be surprised.”
Ron nodded, “ok, I guess it can’t hurt,” he said as he took a deep breath and followed his dad down the stairs. His palms became sweaty as they made their way down to the living room. Ron dropped the box on the couch and decided to give the toys a little clean before he showed them to Julian.
He reached into the box and to his surprise pulled out an old friend. It was a toy Quaffle Bill had given him when he was a little boy. Bill had enchanted it so that it would fly around the room and Ron would spend hours trying to catch it. Ron remembered that day, he wouldn’t come out of his room, which was probably Bill’s intention in the first place, but Ron spent the entire day running around the room catching and re-catching the mini Quaffle.
Ron held it out in front of him and let it go. It hovered above his hand for a moment then fell back down into his palm. Obviously the magic had worn off over the years so Ron reached for his wand and performed the charm on it again. Instantly the Quaffle flew from his hand and started to dance around the room.
“Yaay!!” a little excited voice sent chills up Ron’s spine as he spun around to see Julian standing by the kitchen door. He had his eyes glued on the Quaffle which was still zooming around the room, he seemed really excited.
“Accio Quaffle,” Ron summoned as the Quaffle flew safely into his hand again. He paused for a moment before he turned to Julian, “would you like to play?” he asked nervously. Julian seemed just as nervous as he walked slowly toward Ron. He held his hand out, “my turn?” he asked. Ron smiled as he nodded and sat down on the floor. He motioned for Julian to move closer. “This is a Quaffle,” Ron said in a serious but still nervous tone, “we use this when we play Quidditch,”
“kich” Julian repeated enthusiastically, “I play kich too?” he asked. Ron laughed, “Sorry buddy, you’re a little too young to play Quidditch,” Julian frowned sadly, but Ron handed him the Quaffle anyway, “but you’re never too young to start learning,” he said happily. Julian smiled and took the Quaffle in his tiny hand. Ron moved to sit on the couch as he watched Julian chase the Quaffle around the room.
After a while Julian became tired and sat down on the floor, the Quaffle between his folded legs. He looked up at Ron and motioned for him to come join him. “Come,” he said smiling. Ron slid off the couched and shimmied over to Julian who handed him the Quaffle,
“Play,” Julian said as he nodded his head encouragingly. Ron showed him some tricks Bill had taught him when he was younger, Julian watched with excitement and cheered whenever Ron had finished. They sat there for almost and hour, playing and laughing. Ron felt so happy that he had finally made a connection with Julian that the anger that had once blinded him slowly disappeared.
Hermione could kiss Ginny for organising the day of pampering, it was just what she needed. It had been years since she could remember ever feeling this relaxed. Between raising a child and working she had only dreamed of being pampered like that. She looked and felt fantastic.
Hermione and Ginny made apparated into the backyard of the burrow to prepare for the wedding rehearsal. Harry and Ginny had decided that since they had spent most of their childhood lives there it was only fit to be married in the backyard. It was also handy seeing as they were such a high profile couple, this would ensure their wedding would be private and personal.
“My, don’t you two look ravishing,” Mr Weasley said as he greeted the girls at the back door, “everything all ready for tomorrow then?” he asked hopefully,
“Everything is on schedule,” Ginny said beaming, “thanks to Hermione and her brilliant adherence skills,” Mr Weasley smiled as he gave Hermione a quick peck on the cheek, “That’s our Hermione,” he said sweetly, causing Hermione to blush. Ginny giggled as they made their way further into the kitchen.
“Oh Ginny you look fabulous!” Mrs Weasley said proudly as she greeted her daughter with a hug, “thanks mum,” Ginny smiled. Mrs Weasley then turned to Hermione, the look on her face turned to amazement, “Oh my! Hermione,” She said breathlessly, “You look absolutely stunning,” Hermione’s face reddened once more as she smiled, “thank you Molly,” she said shyly, she was not use to this attention, well not since the Yule Ball anyway.
“Well come, come,” Molly motioned toward the living room, “the others have been waiting in the living room for you two,” Hermione and Ginny exchanged looks as they giggled. They had meant to be a little late, apparently as Ginny had explained, it makes for a dramatic and memorable entrance.
Ginny made her way through first, her dress swimming elegantly behind her. Hermione heard the voices in the other room go quiet before they all began to talk at once. Hermione smiled, Ginny got the entrance she wanted and now, it was her turn.
Hermione took a deep breath and entered the living room and by habit her eyes immediately sought out Ron. He was talking to Neville, most probably about Quidditch as he was making these wild hand gestures and laughing.
“Mummy!” Julian ran toward Hermione and gave her legs a crushing hug. “Hi sweetie,” Hermione said as she bent down to kiss Julian’s forehead, “have you been a good boy for Nana and Papa?” she asked in seriously stern tone.
Julian nodded excitedly, “Yip, and daddy’s here too mummy, look!” he said excitedly as he pointed at Ron who was now watching their conversation, along with everyone else in the room. Hermione became stiff and uncomfortable, there was no way she was ready for another confrontation with Ron today. Julian however thought otherwise and began tugging Hermione closer to Ron until they were just inches from each other. Hermione closed her eyes and prepared herself for more of Ron’s angry comments, but to her surprise, he began to laugh.
“Thanks buddy,” Ron said to Julian as he ruffled his red mane, “I couldn’t have done that without you.” He took a deep breath as he looked at Hermione, he could see she was a little uncomfortable, as if unsure of what to say. Ron decided it was time he made a mends so he quickly grabbed her hand and lead her out into the kitchen.
“Um, mum can you give us a minute please?” Ron asked Mrs Weasley who was finishing off some final preparations in the kitchen,
“Sure dear,” she answered happily, “I’ll just take these out for the others,” she said as she picked up a tray of entrees and left the room.
Hermione stood in the middle of the kitchen scared and unsure of what was going to happen. Ron stood nervously scratching the back of his head as he continued to stare at Hermione. A few minutes of deafening silence went by before he finally spoke.
“Hermione, I think I owe you an apology,” he began, his voice cracking nervously, “Um, I’m really sorry about the way I acted yesterday. I shouldn’t have lost my temper like that and-"
Hermione instantly shook her head, “No Ron, I’m sorry." she interrupted, "It’s entirely my fault,” she said quickly, “I handled things terribly. I never should have left you without telling you the truth; you have no idea how-”
Ron put his finger on Hermione's lips to silence her, which made her look at him confused.
“its ok Hermione,” he said calmly, “I’ve had a lot of time to think things over," he slid his hand down to her arm and intermingled his fingers with hers, "you know, when you told me everything I was focusing on the wrong things,” he continued, “all I could think of was how you had lied to me and how I had missed out on things with Julian,”
Hermione dropped her head sadly, “and you had every right to be mad,” she said softly, “I did a terrible thing”
Ron shook his head, “No Hermione, you did what you thought was right at the time,” he corrected her, “anyone would have done the same." He pulled her closer and looked deeply into her eyes, "I realised something today after spending time with Julian,” he said as he closed the gap between them, “there is still more things to come," he whispered, "and I want to be around for the rest of it."
Ron leaned in and gently brushed her lips with his which sent shivers down Hermione's spine. She could tell he was waiting for her permission to go further and willingly she leaned upward for more. The kiss was soft and gentle but Hermione felt herself yearning for more. Ron wrapped his arms around her lower back and pulled her closer.
Hermione and Ron instantly broke apart to find Ginny leaning casually against the kitchen door frame grinning devilishly,
"When you two are done slobbering over each other, we have a rehearsal to begin,"
Hermione quickly began to rearrange her hair and clothes, "sorry Gin we just-"
"All clear guys!" Ginny interrupted as she called out to the others, she was still smirking as she gave Hermione a wink and walked out to the backyard.
Harry strolled in seconds later with Julian in tow, "Hey guys, I need to ask a favour," he paused suddenly when he noticed Ron quickly rearranging his shirt and straightening his hair,
"Sure Harry, what is it?" Hermione asked a little too cheerfully. Harry noticed her lipstick had smudged over to her right cheek and tried to suppress his laughter.
"Well, I was hoping Julian could be the ring bearer for tomorrow?" he asked, "I mean, if it's ok with you two?"
Hermione looked at Ron who nodded, "Yeah sure," he said as he bent down to pick up Julian, "what do you say Julian, you want to be in the wedding with me and mummy?"
"Yeah!" Julian cheered, making all three of them laugh. Ron kissed Hermione on the forehead, "we’ll talk later ok," he whispered before he headed out to the backyard with Julian still in his arms.
Hermione smiled as she began to follow but Harry held her back, "Um Hermione," he whispered suddenly, "you might was to check a mirror before you go outside, you might want to re-apply your lipstick."
"Oh no!" Hermione shrieked and automatically touched her lips, "thanks Harry, I'll be out shortly," she turned and bolted out of the kitchen.
Moments later Hermione joined the rest of the bridal party out in the back yard for the rehearsal. She stood at the end of the aisle and waited for Ron to escort her to the other end. He was bent on one knee whispering something to Julian who was giggling. Hermione laughed quietly to herself, it was such a relief to see that Julian was comfortable with Ron and that they were getting along fine.
Ron looked up to see Hermione waiting and began to jog over to her to begin the rehearsal, “Sorry,” he said breathlessly as he held out his arm, “just had to have a quick man to man with my son,”
Hermione laughed as they were given their queue and began to walk down slowly, “Oh really?” she said sarcastically, “and just what did you have to talk to him about?” Ron imitated pulling a zip across his lips, “Sorry, it’s guy stuff. My lips are sealed.”
Hermione shook her head, “Honestly!” she said as they made it to the end of the aisle. Ron kissed her hand and they split to their respective position awaiting Ginny and Mr Weasley to make their way down the aisle.
It was a perfect picture, Ron and Julian standing side by side, Hermione couldn’t help but watch them all throughout rehearsal. Her heart almost exploded with happiness when Ron offered to help Julian with his part, it was so sweet she couldn’t help but smile.
After the rehearsal everyone made their way inside for dinner. Molly had outdone herself again in the kitchen and prepared an exquisite feast. After they had eaten it was decided that they should call it a night seeing as they had to be up early the next day for the wedding. Julian had already fallen asleep in Ron’s arms so he offered to escort them home.
“Thanks for tonight guys,” Harry whispered as they entered the house, he caught Ron’s eye and gave a fake yawn, “Oh, wow look at the time. I guess we better get some sleep,” he said as he grabbed Ginny’s hand, “we got a big day tomorrow love,” Ginny looked at him as if he were crazy, “Harry it’s still early,” she said as she tugged against him, “I might have a night cap before – ouch! Why are you pinching me?” she looked at Harry angrily until she realised what he was trying to do.
“Oh um, right,” she said as she stretched her arms, “now that you mention it, I am a bit tired,” she winked at Hermione and smiled, “see you guys in the morning. Oh and Hermione, I made up a bed in the room next to yours for Julian.” she kissed them all goodnight and followed Harry to their room.
“Well that was subtle,” Hermione said sarcastically, as she began to take off her wrap, “thanks for carrying him home by the way,” she said as she nodded toward Julian in Ron’s arms, “you could put him to bed now if you’d like,”
Ron smiled, “I thought you’d never ask,” he said in relief, “my arms were beginning to get a bit tired,” Hermione laughed, “I thought as much, he’s not as light as you think after a while huh?” she took Julian from Ron and walked down the hall to Julians room.
Ron followed but stood in the doorway for a moment unsure of weather or not to go inside. He wanted to kiss Julian goodnight but didn’t know if he should just let himself in the room without Hermione’s permission.
“Honestly Ron, you can come in you know,” Hermione whispered when she noticed Ron standing in the doorway, “can you help me arrange the pillows so he doesn’t fall off the bed?” she asked. Ron nodded as walked inside and began to place the pillows where Hermione had instructed. Once Julian was tucked up in bed, both Hermione and Ron kissed him goodnight and slowly began to leave.
“Well the party definitely wore him out,” Hermione whispered as she closed the door quietly, “it usually takes me a while to try and get him to sleep.”
“Must be all the food he ate,” Ron laughed softly as they made their way to the lounge, “did you see how much he had on his plate?” Hermione nodded, “yes, I think he may have inherited that particular trait from you actually,” she said mockingly as the came to a stop by the fireplace.
They stood in silence for a moment unsure of what to do next when Ron cleared his throat, “Um, so I guess I better get going," he said as he shifted nervously, "it is getting kinda late." Hermione nodded slowly, "yeah I suppose it is a bit late," she added as she fiddle with a strand of her hair, "so, um, you'll be ok to get home then?" she asked,
"Yeah, I'll be fine," Ron answered as he bent down to kiss her gently on the cheek, "I'll see you in the morning." He turned to leave when Hermione grabbed his arm,
"Wait," she said as she coiled her arms around his neck and pulled him in for a kiss. Ron was caught by suprise but did not pull away, instead he leaned in closer urging the kiss to become deeper. Hermione could feel the need for more building up inside her again and relucltanly pulled away,
"I don't want you to leave Ron," she said breathlessly, "Istay with me tonight?" Ron lifted Hermione into his arms and kissed her softly on the forehead,
"Forever," he replied as he carried her back down the hall to the room and slowly closed the door.
A/N: Firstly, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!!!
Again, please forgive me for any grammatical errors, my beta is still very busy and I wanted to get this out as soon as I could after the Christmas/New Year period!
Please, please review because I always love to hear what the readers have to say :)
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