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Hermione smiled at George as she sat next to him at the table. Mrs. Weasley had invited all of her children and their fiancées to dinner. The already cramped kitchen was now overflowing; the table had had to be extended and more chairs brought in.

Bill and Fleur, her stomach slightly larger than the last time Hermione had seen her. Percy and Audrey, who was a short brunette and worked at St. Mungo's. Fred and Angelina, who seemed very content at Fred's side. Harry and Ginny, who was leaning her head on Harry's shoulder. And even Ron and Luna, who were actually sitting together and chatting amicably.

Hermione had never seen Molly happier than when she'd looked out over the sea of faces that was her family. It made Hermione's heart clench to know that so much love and happiness could exist in one room. And Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were enjoying their place at the center of it all.

"Alright, everyone quiet down," Molly said, and the clamor in the room began to die down. "I believe that everything happens for a reason. I can't help but think that maybe this law was a blessing in disguise. It brought my children together with the person that truly completes them and will make them happy for the rest of their days. I am so thankful that we are here together. All of us safe and happy."

Fleur burst into tears and Bill chuckled and wiped them away. "Hormones," he said, staring at his wife fondly.

Hermione blinked away the mist that had clouded her eyes. George laced his fingers through hers, leaning down to place a gentle kiss on the corner of her mouth.

"There's been a lot of disapproval of that law," Mr. Weasley said. "There have been groups of protesters at the Ministry for weeks. Hundreds of letters of complaint to sift through. It's been dreadful."

Mrs. Weasley smiled again. "I think, with everyone together, this would be a good opportunity to talk about wedding dates. Now, Harry and Ginny aren't getting married until next summer. Percy and Audrey have set their date at September 24, which is in just over two weeks. But, what about the rest of you?"

"Angie and I were talking and we were thinking sometime in November," Fred said, slinging an arm around her.

"And Ron and I agree that a ceremony towards the end of the deadline would be best. So that's the beginning of February," Luna said, her eyes focusing on something above Mrs. Weasley's head that Hermione couldn't see.

Ron was nodding in agreement and he didn't even look upset about the subject. When had they gotten so chummy?

Molly nodded. "What about you two, Hermione?"

Hermione met George's gaze uncertainly. Since the day at the lake, she had been avoiding all talk of her upcoming wedding. But she supposed that she couldn't escape it forever.

"What about January?" she asked him. "It's toward the end of the deadline, like we discussed."

George nodded and squeezed her hand that was still cradled between his. "January sounds great."

"Alright, then it's settled," Molly said. "Now, let's eat."


After a long evening of laughter, everyone had finally returned to their respective homes. Hermione was reading in the sitting room by herself, trying to unwind before she attempted to sleep. She wasn't sure how well that was going to go.

This evening had brought back all of her anxiety in full force. She was going to marry George. She was going to have to … sleep with him. And have children. And while she cared deeply for the man, she wasn't sure that she was ready to be a wife or mother. It was just too much too soon.

The sound of approaching footsteps made her glance up from her book. Ron was standing just inside the door.

"Can we talk, 'Mione?"

Hermione smiled at the old nickname. It had been too long since they'd spoken and she'd missed him dearly. "Yes, of course," she said, patting the seat next to her.

She closed her book as he sat next to her on the sofa. He seemed at a loss for words, so Hermione said, "You and Luna seem to be getting along."

Ron grinned. "Yeah. Did you know she's a huge Quidditch fan? She bought us tickets to a Chudley Cannons match. It was great."

"Really? That's wonderful, Ron. I'm glad you're happy."

Ron was watching her, remorse etched across his features. "Yes, well, I'm sure you won't be surprised when I tell you that you were right. As always. Once you get past the shock of her, Luna starts to grow on you."

Shock, indeed. Luna had worn fluorescent, polka-dotted wellies to dinner that evening. And it wasn't even raining.

"I'm sorry for those things I said, 'Mione. I didn't really mean them. I was just angry. I'm glad that you found someone to make you happy. Even if it is my brother."

Hermione leaned forward to pull him into a tight hug. "I forgive you, Ron. I've missed you so much. I'm going to be getting married. I can't do that without my best friend by my side."

He leaned back to meet her gaze, a hint of a smile playing around his lips. "You know, if you'd asked me before, I never would've thought you and George were right for each other. But when I see you together, it just seems to make sense. Just let me know if he ever makes you unhappy, and I'll take care of it."

The thought of Ron going up against George was laughable, but she said nothing. Just smiled at her best friend. "Thank you, Ronald. I appreciate that."

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