AN: Hallo all! Here it is; the final chapter. As you probably have noticed I'm only an amateur writer and I don't do these things to become famous but only for my own pleasure. I hope you have liked this story and I hope the ending won't disappoint you too much. Thank you for all of your lovely reviews.
I am sorry for any grammatical and/or spelling mistakes you will have to endure.
Disclaimer: I do not owe any HP characters or Dumas novel.
CHAPTER 17 HOPE
The silence was something Ron had become accustomed in Azkaban. Still, silence this pregnant in Burrow was something totally new to him. He looked everyone around him in silence. Both Fred and George were avoiding his gaze. Molly didn't seem to be over her crying yet, in fact it had started again while he told his story. Arthur seemed to be totally loss in what to do. Ginny and Harry were looking directly on him, as if trying to see something hidden in him. Hermione was also looking at everyone around them.
She must have already made up her mind, Ron thought.
Ron looked at his plate and saw he still had two potatoes left. Nobody makes potatoes like mom. He ate them, enjoying every bit like it was his last. After that was done nobody had still say anything.
"I guess that is it then…" he muttered to himself, but clearly enough for everyone to hear.
Ron was just about to turn to Harry and thank him for being a good husband to his only sister when somebody slapped him right to his cheek. He turned to see Ginny there, tears in her eyes. Ron had hardly felt anything but he was sure his cheek was red.
"Ginny…" Molly would have probably said more if her voice would have been strong enough.
Ron looked at his sister. Her face and eyes were red. She seemed to have troubles of standing. Harry was behind her, looking at her extremely worried look on his face. Harry did notice that Hermione send him a look like saying "don't interfere".
Ginny was speaking now, or at least very hard trying to.
"You-…you could have…why…we would…how dare you?" came out, without making sense first. Ginny composed herself enough to talk properly.
"You are stupid, stupid prat, Ron Weasley! Why didn't you come to us when you escaped?" she demanded.
"But, Ginny, I told you Malfoy was probably spying…"
"We would have helped you! We would have helped you no matter even if Malfoy or the whole bloody ministry was after you!" she was shouting now.
"I…I didn't want to put you to decide between helping me or do your auror duties to imprison a traitor-"again Ron was cut off.
"There was never a choice to be made! We never once, once believed that you were a traitor…" her voice became softer "…and we would have told auror duties to go to hell for you" she finished.
Ron looked at his sister and then Harry behind her. Harry didn't seem to be able to make sentences at the moment but his expression told Ron that Ginny had spoken his thoughts.
"And you are…you are not…" Ginny tried to say before her voice totally broke off and she surprised Ron by suddenly hugging him.
"I think…" Harry's voice was suddenly heard "…what my wife is trying to say is that…that we would want to try to be…family again. At least try to be".
Ron looked at Harry, the only person outside his family who had considered as brother, and Ginny.
"It won't be easy. I told you that I've changed".
"But not that much you would have left us believing you'd died. You came back" Ginny muttered to his shirt. "We should have known…we should've looked for you and not believe his lies…they're lies".
Ron didn't know anything else to do than hug her back. Before he knew it he suddenly had Harry and his mother there also hugging him. Old Ron would have probably made a lame joke about being now even more prisoner than in Azkaban. New Ron could only enjoy this. He didn't take anything granted in his life anymore.
Yet now he felt hope. And it didn't felt strange. Ron figured he must have always had that little spark of hope inside of him. Hate alone could not have brought him from that hell and make him alive again. Hate alone could not have helped him to win the obstacles on his way to revenge. Hope had always been there too. Ron felt himself smile.
"I guess this means we won't be having a rich foreign customer" Fred said.
Everyone burst laughing.
"I think you are right" George said, realising that he owed to Ron for having Pansy not to himself. "But maybe this is better" he added.
Ron couldn't help but laugh. A rich honest laugh, not the fake ones he had mastered during the years.
Before he realised it everyone were laughing. Everyone seemed to be enjoying. Ron had to admit that he hadn't dared to expect anything this great to happen. He had been given a chance to be part of this family again. And though he knew he could never return to be what he was he could come close at least.
But now Ron realised that Hermione wasn't present anymore. Harry was the first to recognise his gaze. I've seen that one many times before.
"She went to garden with Melissa" he said to him and gave him an encouraging hit to the back. Nobody said a word when Ron left the kitchen, leaving a very happy group of redheads behind.
The garden, Ron thought. He had many memories about that place. He had played there as a child, help her mother there, Fred and George buried him there once. But none of the memories was as happy as the night he had here with Hermione after their sixth year. Bill and Fleur had gotten married earlier that day…
"Why did you escape here?" Ron asked as he found Hermione here, away from the party inside.
"Too many drunken Weasley in too little space for my taste" Hermione said, smiling.
"Well I don't consider myself that drunken yet" Ron said, earning a laugh from her.
"I was talking of the twins!" she exclaimed, though happily.
"Really?" said Ron in a mock tone. "I was sure you meant my dad and Uncle Bernard there. But at least it wasn't my poor dancing talents you run off".
Hermione laughed again. Ron always had loved her laughing. He became serious again. He felt he needed every bit of his so-called Gryffindor courage for what he was about to do. "Tell me, 'Mione… have you had enough already?" he asked.
"Enough of what?" asked very confused bushy haired girl.
"About this…thing we have been having. We both now we've been dancing around this for a time now and I think that Harry and Ginny are beginning to become frustrated about this also".
Hermione's smile had disappeared and her look was unreadable. Ron felt panic striking. What if he had been wrong after all?
"I'm sorry…I guess I misunderstood our conversation we had after my birthday in hospital wing. I'll be going now" he said, really embarrassed now. But as he started to turn away he felt Hermione's hand holding his arm.
"You didn't misunderstand anything. I was just a little taken back by this…I had almost given up any hope". She rewarded Ron with one of those smiles that make him weak. "And I also have had enough of this".
Ron stepped closer to her and carefully brought his hand to her to cup her cheek. The red colour appeared to her face immediately and he brought his head down.
That night Ron had felt like he could conquer the whole world. First of many kisses he had with Hermione. Just the idea of tasting her lips made him go over his head. But it wasn't time for those kinds of wishes now. She is a mother now; things can never go back for what they were.
Ron entered the garden. Hermione was sitting on her kneels, pushing a ball to Melissa who was opposite her. Ron knew that she knew he was there. Then you also know that it takes just one word to get rid of me.
She did speak first but certainly not what Ron had expected. "Do you hate me?" she asked suddenly, without turning to him.
Ron was about to ask where she had come with that idea but it dawned to him almost immediately. "I don't hate you for marrying Krum if that's what you mean. And I don't blame you for anything".
"Really?" she asked with all but believing voice. "I didn't want to believe them when they told you'd died. I told they were lies. But then I accepted them and…" her voice disappeared for a little while. "And I know they were lies. And you suffered for nothing".
Hermione had lost her concentration on the ball and she missed catching it. It rolled to Ron who went to his knees and gently pushed it to Melissa. Girl looked at him strangely first but then laughed and rolled it back to him.
"I'm not blaming you for giving up the hope. Nor that you married Krum. And I doubt that you regret that. I doubt you regret your daughter" he said gently.
Hermione looked at Melissa and smiled. "You're right, Ron. I don't regret her" she said.
"The question here I think is: what do you want?" Ron said.
Hermione sighed, as if buying time, though Ron already knew she had made up her mind probably before she came here.
"It's been ten years…" she said, unsurely.
"I'm aware of the time, thank you. And before you go on let me remind you of what I said earlier. I don't think I can become the Ron I was before. As you can't become the Hermione I knew all those years ago then. Ten years have left its marks on us.
What I like to know is could we get to know each others? To see if new Ron and new Hermione could come along with each others".
Hermione was looking at him now and Ron felt strangely like a school boy who was drowning to those brown eyes.
"I would like to know you too" she said.
She jumped up suddenly, making him follow her lead and then hugged him. And Ron hugged him back, knowing what this was.
This was a hug which meant they agreed on something. They would start from a clear table. It would take some time, but Ron had learned to be patient. He knew that wasn't the end but the beginning. Fight is not over yet, but I have hope.
Melissa pulled Hermione from her trousers and she picked her up. "This is Melissa" she said. "Melissa, I would like you to meet mommy's friend Ron".
Melissa looked at the man who had been pushing ball to her and gave a shy smile.
"Hallo, Melissa. Do you think I could offer your mother a cup of coffee and you perhaps a sundae?" Ron asked smiling.
"Sundae!" Melissa said, obviously understanding that part.
"I would like the cup of coffee" Hermione said, also smiling.
Yep, there is still hope.
AN: I know many Hr/R fans probably don't like this ending, but I couldn't let it become to happy, they need some time to heal the wounds. What happens now is up to your imagination. I am not planning to make any sequels.
My name is Otto and thank you for reading this fic.