|(Romione by Firestrong on Deviantart)|
Standing next to him, Hermione looked rather amused. Watching Ron so fidgety and tensed reminded her of Quidditch trials in their sixth year at Hogwarts. She laughed at the thought of using the Confundus charm on her parents today.
They strode down the suburban lane which was neatly lined with waist high hedges. The houses on both sides of the lane were identical. Two storeys high, exposed brick on the outside, a small square garden out front and a garage on the side. They drew up to the driveway of Number 6 and paused.
Hermione squeezed Ron's hand and led him up to the door.
Ron raised his hand to knock on the door and paused again. He looked at Hermione and gave a small smile. He then moved his hand towards the side of the door and pushed a small button. A chime went off somewhere in the depths of the house. They heard a chair scraping against the floor followed by muffled footsteps and then the door opened.
In the doorway stood a tall, thin man with neat brown hair. He wore rectangular spectacles and was dressed in a sky-blue shirt and khaki trousers that rather matched his hair. He beamed at Hermione, who squealed with happiness and let go of Ron's hand to hug her father.
"Miny! You're early! I was just setting the table." said Mr. Granger as he embraced his daughter.
"And you, young man, must be Ron!" he said, holding out his hand as Hermione turned around and beamed at him.
"Yessir! G'day to you, Sir! How are you, Sir?" Ron blurted and offered a limp hand shake to Mr. Granger.
"I'm doing fine. Why don't you come in Ron? Fiona will be with us shortly. She is out at the back, picking some fresh strawberries for the pudding."
They shuffled into the hallway and moved into the living room. It was a cosy room with not much furniture. A small TV stood in one corner and a there were two comfortable sofas in front of the fireplace. The mantelpiece above the fireplace was adorned with photographs of the Grangers. The remaining three walls were covered from floor to ceiling with books with only two windows punctuating the immense massif of tomes.
They sat down.
"So, Ron... Miny tells me you have started training at the..er.. Auror office?" he stole a glance at Hermione to confirm that he was using the right term.
"Uh..Yes sir! Harry and I started this year." said Ron, his face turning a shade of red. They had been training with poisons last week and Ron had nearly died due to a Basilisk venom cocktail which he had mistaken for apple juice. He wondered how much Mr. Granger knew.
"And what will your job be when you become an Auror?"
"Fighting against dark wizards and witches, there are still some Death Eaters who need to be caught, dealing with dark objects and Class 4 creatures." Ron could see comprehension begin to drain from Mr. Granger's face. He had expected this.
“It’s like being a policeman.” He explained. He looked around and Hermione smiled and nodded back at him. He felt slightly better.
"I see...I thought there would be not much to er… police, since that one...what was his name...Voldemort, died?" asked Mr. Granger.
"There are none like him, yes. But some of his old mates are still out there, hiding around the country. They can pose some danger...though they are not likely to do anything to attract attention. We think they are trying to rally together. And there will always be mischief makers and evil doers who need to be kept in check. Of course, business is nothing as lively as when You-Know-Who was going around killing people!" Ron finished, rather happy with the discussion so far.
Mr. Granger took everything in, surveying Ron with a mild expression. Just as Ron had finished, Hermione's mother walked into the living room, wearing a red shirt and a pair of jeans, and carrying a bowl full of freshly picked strawberries. Hermione leapt from the sofa and hugged her. They were identical in height and it was obvious that Hermione had inherited her bushy, brown hair from her mother. With both of them standing together, it looked like a huge shrub was floating five feet above the ground. They broke apart and Mrs. Granger moved towards Ron. He stood up and offered a hand but she brushed it aside and hugged him.
"So, you are the Ronald that my Miny keeps talking about!" she said warmly.
“How are Molly and Arthur? I told Miny that we must invite them as well.”
“Mr. Weasley is really busy, mum. He works in the Ministry as well, remember?” Said Hermione.
“Yes, I remember. I’m just saying it’ll be nice to have them over as well. They were so kind to us the only time we met.”
Ron remembered that day. He was surprised Mrs. Granger had such a positive opinion of his parents. His father had gone bonkers and had bombarded Mr. Granger with endless questions about things like pencil sharpeners and bus stops. Apparently, Mr. Granger remembered that day just like Ron. His face betrayed the fact that he was relieved that they weren’t meeting just as yet.
“Miny has told us all about your wonderful parents and how they treated her like their own daughter during the tough times. Can we ever be thankful enough to Arthur and Molly for that?” Mrs. Granger said, apparently to Mr. Granger.
Ron smiled back at her rather uncomfortably, unsure of what to say.
“Mum, are my old school books still around? I think I might need a couple of them.” Hermione said and left the living room, and Mrs. Granger followed her out.
Ron looked at Mr. Granger and they both exchanged a smile.
Ron looked down at his shoes and wondered what to talk about. Hermione’s parents were dentists and Ron had understood nothing of what she had said about their jobs. A few moments passed in silence before he decided to break it.
“Hermione tells me that you are a dentist.” Ron said, unsure if he was making a statement or asking a question.
“Let it be, son. This small talk, it can be done away with when we both know why we are here.” Mr. Granger said.
‘We do?’ Ron thought to himself.
“Yes. We know that you and Hermione intend to marry and this dinner is for our approval.”
Ron started getting sweaty under the collar. He was not expecting this.
‘I was preparing a whole monologue to bring this up!’ his mind blared.
Ron had asked Hermione to marry him exactly a month ago. And he had spent two full months working up the courage before that. Harry had helped of course.
“Don’t be daft. Of course she will say yes. Why do you even have that doubt?” he had said one day when they were tackling a boggart infested junkyard.
He had planned the day thoroughly. He had picked a simple ring, not too fancy, but goblin made. It had an otter and a Jack Russell terrier, their Patronuses, engraved on it like a coat of arms. He had reserved a table at Gwen and Stacy (the only restaurant that paid house elves for employment), purchased a suit (again, Harry had helped him pick up the muggle clothing) and had even agreed to dab a little perfume. He was so distracted through that day that Wilkinson, their trainer, had admonished him for not paying attention at the briefing for the jinxes’ obstacle course that they were going to tackle next week.
Finally, in the evening, he waited for her outside the Ministry. She came, sharp at 6 o’clock. Ron was pleased to see that she had changed into a dress from her usual ministry robes, He had bought that dress for her especially for the day. Together, they took a muggle cab (Hermione was shocked) up to Charing Cross Road and went into Diagon Alley, where Gwen and Stacy was situated.
There, Ron had ordered a preparation of Bouillabaisse, one of Hermione’s favourites. And he had poured for the both of them two full glasses of wine.
He didn’t remember much of the conversation. All he remembered was that each moment had felt like it stretched on forever. Eventually, the plates and glasses were cleared away (vanished, by the elves) and he knew that the moment had arrived.
“…so I told Susan that we simply cannot let Zabini off with a warning. The Wizengamot has clearly established without doubt that he had hexed his house elf when she had demanded a day off!” Hermione was saying, with that blaze on her face that he had so come to admire.
Ron was not taking much of what she was saying though and was wondering how he should steer the conversation.
“…and then we decided to make the decision once we got priori incantatem on his wand. RON! Where are you?” she asked, snapping her fingers in front of his face.
“Hermione, I want to ask you something.”
“If this is about S.P.E.W. then I have already told you Ron. I don’t want you to be a part of it because of what people might say. I want you to make this battle your battle…”
“No, this is not about SPEW. It’s..er..something else.” He looked around and nodded at a house-elf waiting next to the kitchen door for his instructions. The elf snapped his fingers and instantly, their table vanished. The surroundings went dark except for tiny pinpricks of lights all around them which made it seem like they were surrounded by millions of stars. Hermione looked around in alarm, already drawing her wand.
“Hermione Jean Granger” Ron said, getting onto his knees. Hermione looked at him and gasped, covering her mouth with her hands.
“Through dark times and happy,
Through Devil’s snare and Wingardium Leviosa,
Through You-Know-Who and the Wars,
You have been the rock to my shaky boat.
And you have been the light that led me back when I went astray.
I cannot imagine my life without you.
In the past.
And in the future.
Hermione Jean Granger, will you marry me?”
He knelt there, suddenly realising that the poem didn’t sound remotely as romantic as he had originally imagined it.
“Ronald Bilius Weasley,” Hermione said, “It’s Levi-oh-sa, not levi-o-saa!”.
Her voice was shaking but she knelt down and looked him in the eye and said, “Yes!”
Ron snapped back into the present. Mr. Granger’s lips were curling up ever so slightly and his eyes were twinkling behind the glasses.
“Erm…Yes Sir, we are in love and would like to get married. I was not aware that Hermione had informed you already.” Ron admitted.
Ron felt extremely uncomfortable at that moment. He as not expecting the elephant to enter the room so quickly and suddenly felt that he had to carefully consider each of his words and actions. He looked at Mr. Granger and could see that the smart man behind those glasses could sense his unease.
“I must admit, there is very little in common between our lives and that of you and your family. When we received the letter saying Miny was accepted to attend Hogwarts, we thought it was a joke. But then one of your teachers arrived and introduced your world to us. That is when we knew it was not a laughing matter. We, Fiona and I, did not want to send Hermione away to Hogwarts.”
Ron was listening raptly. He had never imagined what it was like for muggle-borns to get the Hogwarts letter. He had grown up watching his brothers head off, one after the other, to the school and knew it was only a matter of time before he and Ginny went there too.
“But when your teacher changed that sofa that you are currently sitting on into a cow, the eager and wonder filled look in Miny’s eyes told us that not letting her go would break her heart. And so she left.”
He paused, as if to let that sink in.
“Each year when she came back, she told us stories that made us increasingly worried. I remember being mortified and, pardon me, scared like a wet kitten, when she told me she spent months being unconscious in one of her years. I was positively beside myself when she told me she was kept underwater for hours as a part of some competition. Twice, Fiona asked her if she should go back. If she would not be safer in our world? Both times she asked us to not worry and that she really was safe at Hogwarts despite what her stories made it seem like.”
Once again, Ron felt ashamed that he had never considered this aspect of Hermione’s life. He remembered breaking his arm when he was 5. He was knocked off Charlie’s broomstick after Fred threw a watermelon at him. Everyone, including Ron, had laughed as he carried his broken arm back to his mother. Half a cup of skele-grow and one day later, he was back on the broomstick trying to get back at Fred. He knew muggle cures (and muggle healers) were not as swift as magical herbs and potions. The many injuries and adventures they had during their time at Hogwarts must have surely unsettled the Grangers.
“Then a few years ago, when, uh, Voldemort was threating your world, imagine our horror when Miny told us that we were in danger too because of her friendship with you and Harry. And that we could be used to get to her and you. I was indignant that she separate herself and us from your world. This was not a danger we were prepared to accept.”
Ron knew what was coming up next.
“I suggested to her that we could move to someplace far away.” he continued, his expression the same, but a touch of irony poked out from underneath those glasses. “Where they couldn’t find us.”
“But Hermione does not run away from her problems.”
Ron was feeling many things at this point. Terrible for the Grangers, greater admiration and love for Hermione, continued shame at his own ignorance.
“Son, you must be wondering where I am going with this.” Mr. Granger leaned forward and looked straight at Ron.
“We may not get along fine. As I said, our worlds are different. We are dentists here in London and I can scarcely imagine what work you and your family does. And forgive me for saying this, Fiona will certainly scold me if she finds out, I am not particularly looking forward to meeting your father again. The only choice we made for Hermione was to send her to Hogwarts. Since then, she has made all of her choices on her own. We have learned to trust her to make the right decisions.”
“Guys! Come on in. I’m starving. Let’s start eating.” Hermione called out from the other side of the wall. Mr. Granger stood up and Ron followed suit. As they made their way to the kitchen, Mr. Granger put his hand up to Ron’s shoulder to hold him back. Ron looked around and faced Mr. Granger.
“I want you to know that when Hermione tells us that she intends to marry you, we trust her choice.” This time, a genuine smile came on his face. He stepped away and into the kitchen.
As voices and the sound of silver on cutlery made their way from the kitchen, Ron realised how lucky he was that he was Hermione Granger’s choice.
A Fanfic based on the extraordinary world created by Queen JKR.