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Meeting with the family of your significant other was stressful, Iris had always thought, especially in the beginning. She had had that issue when she had been in a relationship before, even though she had ended up liking her ex-boyfriend's parents, and she had this issue now, when she had to meet with George's family. Right after the day her soulmark had appeared on her skin, she and George had decided on meeting with his family after his work so they would know of their predicament. George had informed her that even Bill and Percy would be there, at the sound of the important news George claimed he had to deliver rushing home. Only Charlie would be absent, away in Romania as he was. Iris had yet to leave and her nervousness was apparent.

Hermione was standing by the door, watching her as she fretted over her appearance – she had forgotten how many times Iris had changed out of a shirt in fear of George's parents thinking it didn't look good enough or that it didn't fit the occassion. Hermione had never felt the need to be nervous around Arthur and Molly Weasley, having known them for such a long time she felt like she belonged in the family. If it were any other day, perhaps she would have spoken up, assured Iris she looked fine, there was no need for her to keep on panicking. But she was lost in her thoughts as she looked at her cousin, quiet even though she offered her opinion when asked. Iris was nervous about the upcoming meeting, no doubt. She still noticed Hermione's behaviour, though.

"Are you sure you don't want to come with us?" Iris asked her, not for the first time this evening, briefly glanced her way before she turned her gaze on the mirror once more to smooth down any wrinkles on her azure shirt. 

"No, I would rather I stay here, I will probably retire early," she insisted, then she lowered her head, sank back in silence. Iris watched her for a moment longer. When there was no sign of Hermione speaking up again, she addressed her once more.

"Is everything alright?"

Hermione looked over at her, and for a moment, she debated on whether she should speak up or not. Iris was looking at her earnestly, and she knew there would be no judgement from her. She was like George in that way, both of them understanding with most things, willing to listen to their loved ones first before they reached a conclusion. She wasn't surprised they were soulmates. She hadn't thought they would have the marks to prove their connection either. 

"I'm happy for you," she began, her gaze falling on the floor. "I just...I never thought this would happen." Iris tilted her head in confusion but stayed quiet and Hermione didn't see, so she kept on talking. "It's not that I think you and George don't suit each other or anything, it would be preposterous of me to think that. Hardly anyone finds their soulmate though, because it takes time for the signs to appear. Some give up on their soulmates before the time comes and never find out, others settle for someone else that treats them right. I didn't believe in them at first, until I learnt about Mr and Mrs Weasley and saw their marks myself. I was a little girl then but I hoped I would meet my soulmate one day and be like them, even though I researched about it and learnt that hardly anyone found them. So I waited, grew older. I started to like Ron and before you ask, yes, I do love him and I'm sure he loves me just as much as I do. But still, in the back of my mind..."

Hermione let out a small sigh as Iris filled in the gaps. "You still hoped you would meet your soulmate one day."

"Or I hoped Ron was the one but the marks didn't come because they were late. I thought they would come eventually. But it's been years and they haven't so I must accept that he isn't my soulmate. Plenty of people have settled for that, of course, it's nothing to be ashamed of."

"You just hoped for the best," Iris agreed with a nod, "I would do the same if I were you, you know."

"I do know," Hermione found it in herself to raise her head and send her a small smile. "I tried to postpone things. This is why I decided to live with you instead of Ron. It sounds bad when I say it like this but even after all this time, I hoped I wasn't getting myself into something in a hurry."

ELYSIUM • G. WEASLEYWhere stories live. Discover now