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Chapter 2: Complications
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Author's Note: Thank you to those of you who reviewed my last chapter, I really appreciate it. I'd really love your opinion and if you find any mistakes please tell me so I can edit them out.
.: Chapter Two – Complications :.
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Why she’d agreed to this, she had no idea. It wasn’t as if she was against the idea completely, she just wasn’t as single-minded as he was. She knew he meant well, but the fact that he had gone behind her back and booked this appointment, angered her beyond everything else. He was so stubborn and no matter how she approached the subject, he refused to see any side but his own. She had at least tried to see it from his point of view, and even though she didn’t agree with everything he said, she at least respected him enough to try and understand. Instead he went behind her back and booked an appointment at their local Medi-Centre. Hermione had at least thought she'd convinced him to drop the subject, but apparently she hadn’t. It was blatantly obvious now that he wasn’t going to back down anytime soon. The problem was, she was also beginning to run out of excuses.
She felt a tug on her hand and realised she had stopped in front of the building. “Come on, Hermione. It won’t be that bad,” Ron reasoned, tugging her forward.
“I really don’t see the point in this,” she snapped, yanking her hand out his indignantly.
She was so angry, incensed really. He thought that a trip to their local Medi-Witch would help her become more accustomed to the idea of motherhood again. It was completely idiotic! She was perfectly fine with motherhood; she was a mother after all. Obviously he hadn’t been thinking properly because she had made it perfectly clear that having another child was not one of her top priorities at the moment. He was getting desperate, that much was obvious. But the problem wasn’t his wanting another child; it was the lack of respect he showed her by going behind her back like this. She had agreed to come because an appointment had been made and it was too late to cancel. She didn’t want to waste Healer Bronsom’s time, but Ron had made the appointment and now they were obligated to see it through.
“I thought we discussed this already,” he sighed in exasperation, running a hand through his hair agitatedly.
Hermione huffed. “No, you discussed it, not me,” the moment he showed up at her work, declaring they had an appointment to go to, booked by himself, she had refused to try and be reasonable.
“Hermione,” he whined, a pained expression on his face.
“Don’t you, Hermione me,” she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest angrily. “You went behind my back, Ronald, and booked an appointment that we didn’t need,” she hissed, walking forward to lower her voice. “I thought I’d made it perfectly clear that I didn’t want to have another child just yet, but obviously I have to spell it out for you. I’m not against the idea, Ron; I’m just not considering it at the present,” it was becoming increasingly hard not to see red.
She felt betrayed by what he had done. Her anger was paramount.
Ron looked defeated. “I know your career means a lot to you but I also know what I see when you look at Rose. She’s our daughter, Hermione, and I know that you love her more than life itself. I see what I see, and I just know that our little Rosie would love a baby brother, or even a baby sister,” he said, conviction in his voice. “Hell, I’d love it! And I know you would too. Why do you keep fighting this?” it was a question she couldn’t answer, not fully at least.
“I’m not against the idea of having another child, Ron. I’m just...” her voice shook as she tried to gain the upper balance against her emotions. “I’m just not ready,” technically it wasn’t a lie because it was true, she wasn’t ready. But the real reason she fought so hard could never be voiced, not to Ron. It would break his heart.
“But I am,”
She sighed. “And that is where our problem lies,” his eyes seemed to convey his understanding of her words where his mouth did not.
He remained silent for a while, eyes darting about evasively as he tried to look at anything but her. She knew it was hard for him, especially after she had initially seen the hurt and silent understanding in his eyes. But to relent now would do her no good. Being a mother had changed her. She wasn’t as reckless, though she had hardly been irresponsible to begin with. Her Hogwarts days and the adventures she had embarked on with the boys, were long gone. Rose was her main priority now and she couldn’t afford to do anything that would inadvertently hurt her. If she relented now, she was almost positive that the truth would be revealed and then there would be hell to pay. Her fear wasn’t for herself but for Rose, and if things did turn out the way she imagined they would, for another child as well.
“Look, how about we go inside and listen to what Healer Bronsom has to say. After that, I promise we can talk when we get home. I’m trying to see your point of view, love, but you’ve got to understand how badly I want this,” he was at the point of begging and she knew, with saddened resignation, that she had to go in with him.
“Okay,” she sighed. “Let’s just get this over with,” there was a hint of annoyance in her voice.
It was better to go sooner rather than later, right?
It was a while before the receptionist said that Healer Bronsom was ready for them, and Hermione couldn’t help but glance anxiously at her watch every few minutes or so. Her lunchbreak had started at twelve and she, like any other employee, only got one hour. It was already 12:36 and she was starting to get impatient. As they walked down the corridor, Healer Bronsom’s office came into view and Hermione felt her throat constrict painfully. It was bad enough that she and Ron had their problems but now they had to include their local healer. She hated involving other people in their problems, especially when it was none of their concern to begin with.
“Ron, I really don’t want to do this,” she whispered quietly, tugging on his arm.
“Well it’s too bloody late now,” he replied, teeth clenched as he tried to keep his voice below a whisper.
“Mr and Mrs Weasley, a pleasure as always,” Hermione gulped, fixing a smile on her face as she turned toward the healer.
“Healer Bronsom,” she said politely, detaching herself from Ron to shake the older woman’s hand.
Looking down at her clipboard, the portly woman frowned. “Come in and have a seat, I’ll be with you both in a minute,” she smiled briefly before scurrying off, a scowl on her face as she headed toward the receptionist.
Walking inside, they each took a seat. She could sense Ron looking at her but she refused to look back. It was at least ten minutes before the woman returned and Hermione had fast become more irritated than before. She had twelve minutes left of her lunchbreak.
“Now, what can I do for the two of you?” Healer Bronsom asked, adjusting her overly large spectacles so she could look at them properly.
Ron sucked in a deep breath. “Hermione and I are thinking about having another child,” narrowing her eyes at him, Hermione watched as he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. “But we haven’t decided yet and Hermione has a few reservations,” he finished, not daring to look at his wife.
“What kind of reservations, Mrs Weasley?” the healer asked, crossing her hands on her desk patiently.
Hermione braced herself. “The kind where my husband is concerned,” she ground out, turning to glare at the redhead beside her.
“Are you having trouble sustaining an erection, Mr Weasley?” the woman asked nonchalantly, grabbing her quill to scribble something down in his file.
Ron paled. “No!” he shouted, springing to his feet, mortified.
She couldn’t help but snicker.
“It was a simple question, Mr Weasley. There is no need to shout,” Healer Bronsom snapped, a scowl on her face. “Now Mrs Weasley, would you care to elaborate on your previous answer so we can avoid any other misunderstandings?” the woman said, pursing her lips as Ron lowered himself in his chair, still shaking in silent anger and shock.
“My husband and I are not exactly on the same page, I’m afraid. I didn’t even know he had booked this appointment until about an hour ago,” she smiled sweetly at Ron, eyes narrowed dangerously into slits.
“This is not the place to sort out your marital problems, Mr Weasley,” the older woman bristled, causing Ron to wince. Hermione smiled faintly, satisfied that she and Healer Bronsom seemed to share the same point of view.
“Of course not, Healer Bronsom,” he replied like a child scolded. “But I am here for another reason,” at this he gulped, face paling considerably. “I was wondering if you could give both my wife and I a check up?” he asked, a slight quiver in his voice.
“May I ask as to why?”
“Well,” he gulped, looking at Hermione nervously.
Hermione felt her breath hitch. “Ron, what did you do?” she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to know. There were a thousand possibilities running through her mind, each worse than the last. But what he said next made her stomach churn and her heart clench in fear.
“You have to understand, love, I was just doing what I thought was right,” he ran a hand through his hair nervously. “I knew that you would be opposed to the idea of having another child just as your career was starting to kick off. But I honestly believe that it shouldn’t have any impact on the decision. I know that morally, you’ll think I was wrong and I do feel guilty for it, bu –”
“What did you do?” she ground out, heart beating a tattoo in her chest.
Ron looked as though he was about to be sick. “I switched your contraceptive potions,” he said hurriedly, eyes darting about the room.
Time could have stood still as his words began to sink in. He’d switched her contraceptive potions – she was fertile. Oh Merlin, she thought suddenly, eyes alight in panic. I could be pregnant. The thought left her feeling numb and she reached down to touch her stomach lightly.
“How dare you,” Hermione yelled, his voice bringing her back to reality. He’d switched her potions without her knowing. He had tried to get her pregnant knowing that if she were, it would be too late for her to object to the idea! “You purposely tried to get me pregnant without my knowledge, yet you knew that I didn’t want to have another child for at least two more years,” she screeched, not caring that they were in the company of another.
“I’m sorry,” he said weakly, wincing at the harshness of her voice.
If it was possible, her anger only increased. “You’re sorry?” she spat. “I could be pregnant and you’re bloody sorry? I find that hard to believe, after all this is what you wanted, isn’t it?” her breath was coming in short gasps, the panic, anger and realisation of what he had done, hitting her fully.
How could he have done that to her? He had blatantly defiled her trust, not to mention the fact that what he had done was more than immoral, even by some of her worst client’s standards. Maybe it was alright, acceptable even, in pureblood society. But the fact was, they didn’t live that type of lifestyle and he most certainly hadn’t been raised with the same belief system they had. In pureblood families, they believed that the male, the husband, was the decision maker on all things. His wife was nothing but a trophy, an object to show off and breed an heir to. Those beliefs were slowly beginning to wane, especially after the war. But what really got her was the fact that what Ron had done pertained to his belief that he could make a decision about their lives without taking her opinion into account. She knew he wasn’t a thing like some of the pureblood bastards she had prosecuted. But he believed that he had the right to make a decision, discounting her feelings on the subject entirely. The truth was he had no right, none whatsoever to think that he could get away with doing that.
“I just thought tha –”
“I don’t care what you thought, Ron,” her voice shook, tears of betrayal welling up in her eyes. “You had absolutely no right to do that. This is my life too and you’ve basically forced me int –”
“I didn’t force you,” he yelled, abruptly cutting her off.
“By replacing my contraceptive potions without my knowing, you have forced me into this situation,” she screamed, nails digging into the palms of her hands. “It is a betrayal of my trust and shows just how little you respect me,” she couldn’t believe it. He was her husband, yet he did this? How could he be so thoughtless? So conniving?
“But Hermi –” he started, face pale, the freckles on his face standing out like charcoal against his skin.
“I think that is quite enough,” Healer Bronsom’s voice cut through, sharp and cold. “Mrs Weasley, if you could please go behind the curtain over there and I’ll be with you in a minute,” the older woman said, standing up, back stiffened in what she could only assume was anger.
Gesturing to the examination table in the corner, the healer moved out from behind her desk, indicating she should go over there. When she turned around, Hermione frowned at the back of the woman’s head. It was obvious that she was talking covertly with Ron, asking him some questions no doubt. Straining her ears, she tried hear what they were saying but found it was useless, and decided she’d ask him about it later even if she wasn’t sure his answers would be reliable.
Gritting her teeth, Hermione silently made her way over to the examination table, sucking in a deep breath when the healer rejoined her and pulled the curtains around them abruptly, obscuring Ron from view. She still had a hard time believing that he could be so selfish and completely thoughtless when it came to her feelings on the matter. But was resigned to the fact that what had happened was unchangeable. She wanted to scream, to throw the curtains aside and strangle the life out of him, but stopped herself just short from doing so. It was almost unfathomable that he had the wits enough to swap her contraceptive potions with god knows what, without her knowing. He wasn’t as dim-witted as most people thought, but she knew for a fact that at some point she would have noticed. He didn’t have the smarts enough to deceive her for too long. It was then that she came to a shocking realisation; he’d had help.
“If you could just lie down and I’ll perform the spell to confirm whether or not you’re pregnant,” the older woman said softly, a sympathetic smile on her face, briefly cracking her hardened exterior.
Nodding absently, she laid down, heart beating erratically. What would she do if she was pregnant? She supposed it wouldn’t be so bad, but that didn’t mean she was thrilled at the prospect. If she was pregnant then she would have to just deal with it. There was nothing she could do now but wait.
Waving her wand sharply over her stomach, Healer Bronsom frowned, recasting the spell a second time. Hermione felt her breath hitch. Something was wrong.
“What is it?” she asked nervously, hazel-brown eyes wide in confusion and fear.
The healer frowned again. “You’re not pregnant,” it sounded as though she was confused, perplexed at the diagnosis, but Hermione didn’t notice.
She wasn’t pregnant. “Oh thank god,” she sighed, eyes falling closed in relief. Hermione knew she should have felt a little disappointment, guilt even for feeling happy, but all she felt was relief.
“I’m sorry but this is very perplexing,” Healer Bronsom said suddenly, causing Hermione to look up in confusion. “It’s just seemingly improbable that you aren’t pregnant,” she added, brow furrowed in frustration.
Hermione frowned. “How so?” by the look on the healer’s face, she knew that whatever it was, it wouldn’t be good.
“Your husband replaced your contraceptive potions with fertility ones,” she said quietly, a thoughtful look on her face. “He said that he’d been doing it for a month or so, which means that in that time it is almost impossible that you didn’t fall pregnant,”
Hermione felt her anger flare. He’d done what?! She had at least a dozen different thoughts barraging her mind at the same time. How could he have done that? The potions were very similar which was probably why she hadn’t picked up on it. But he didn’t have the intelligence or potion brewing capability to brew either potion. He most certainly had to of had help but the question was who helped him?
“But I fell pregnant with Rose, so obviously I can have children,” Hermione stated in confusion, swinging her legs over the examination table and lowering herself to the ground. She was confused but mostly angry.
A thoughtful look crossed the healer’s face. “But can your husband?” she asked quietly as if to herself.
Hermione felt her blood run cold. No, it wasn’t possible. He couldn’t – he had to be able to have children, he just had to. Her breath was coming in short, shallow gasps as she walked silently back to her chair, ignoring Ron’s questioning gaze. This can’t be happening, she thought numbly, her mind not really processing the possibility fully. If he couldn’t have children – she didn’t want to imagine what this might mean for their marriage, let alone for Rose.
“Mr Weasley, if you could please go over to the examination table,” Healer Bronsom said nonchalantly, her face stoic and impassive.
Ron was confused. She could see it in his eyes, his frown. He didn’t know what was going on and the healer’s cold disposition wasn’t helping to ease his worries. She knew he was looking at her, a worried expression on his face. But she refused to meet his eyes, waiting until the curtain was drawn around him until she finally let out the breath she’d been holding in. This can’t be happening, it can’t, the words replayed over and over in her mind like a tormenting mantra.
What was she going to do if the worst did happen? What would Ron say? How would he react? Oh god! What would happen with Rose? Would he reject her? Demand she shed his name? Would he want a divorce? Would he toss them out on the street? What would his family say? Molly? Arthur? Would Harry hate her? Would he choose Ron’s side over hers? She’d lose all her friends, wouldn’t she? They’d most certainly take his side over hers and everyone would hate her, she was sure of it.
Hermione was too deep in thought to realise that both Ron and the healer had returned, each retaking their seat. She was so scared, petrified really. This could be the end of everything she knew, of her life with Ron, of her friendships. She was at the mercy of fate and it was already blatantly obvious by Healer Bronsom’s expression that it wasn’t on her side.
“I’m sorry Mr Weasley but your wife is not pregnant,” the older woman said expressionlessly, her eyes narrowing only momentarily as they landed on her.
“But...” he didn’t know what to say, voice trailing off in his confusion. The disappointment in his eyes was evident to both women, and Hermione felt guilt at knowing that both their worlds were about to be shattered. It was in the healer’s eyes, her stance and the way her mouth was pursed in obvious disapproval. Merlin knows what she thought about them.
Healer Bronsom folded her hands in front of her. “Upon examination, Mr Weasley, I have come to the conclusion that you are in fact, sterile,” the words, though she knew they were coming, impacted her far worse then she anticipated.
Her heart clenched painfully as she stole a glance at her husband. He looked sick. There was a tumultuous onslaught of emotions that flickered across his eyes, each as devastatingly painful as the last. Confusion, disbelief, outrage, hurt, doubt, and finally, denial. He couldn’t believe it. He didn’t want to believe it. He chose not to believe it.
“There has to be some kind of mistake,” he shook his head disbelievingly, voice shaky and uncertain.
“I’m sorry but there is no mistake,” the healer said, expression softening a little at the distraught look on Ron’s face.
Ron shook his head. “But we have Rosie,” he stated, voice full of conviction. He truly didn’t believe her.
“Is there perhaps anyway you could be wrong?” she asked tentatively, voice choked with unshed tears.
Hermione knew that there was no way she was wrong; Healer Bronsom was one of the best in the country. But for the sake of her husband, of Ron’s sanity, she had to ask. He had always wanted a large a family, one like his mother and father had had. To think that his dream could be shattered, hacked into pieces and never allowed to see the light of day made her ache in places she didn’t know existed. He was her husband, she loved him and the fact that this had happened, to him of all people, was excruciatingly painful. He could never have children.
“No,” the other replied sternly. “I’m afraid that there is a 99.9% chance that you have been infertile since birth, Mr Weasley,” she said, directing her answer at Ron.
“99.9?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied, reaching forward to grab her quill and take note of her findings in his file while he remained silent.
Ron sniffed, steeling himself. “So, there’s .1% of a chance?” he asked, eyes thoughtful.
Healer Bronsom frowned, her hand stilling in its writing. “Yes, there is .1% of a chance,” for some reason, Hermione thought she was lying.
“Well, that explains it then” he said suddenly, shifting in his seat to look at her.
She didn’t know what to do. Her heart was beating at a near impossible rate, her mind blank. “Explains what, Ron?” she asked, voice a hoarse whisper. She was terrified.
“We have Rosie, Hermione, it’s not impossible,” she couldn’t believe her ears. “Our little girl’s a miracle and we can have another one, we just have to try,” Healer Bronsom looked as though she was about to say something but quickly changed her mind.
It was obvious to the two women in the room that he was in denial, but what was worse, he actually believed it. He was blinded by love. She could tell by the pained but hopeful, determined look in his eyes that he didn’t for a second believe Rose wasn’t his. The thought never crossed his mind. She didn’t know whether to cry, or smile happily. Her secret for the time being was safe. But not everyone would be as blind as he was, and she wasn’t sure if she could take much more of this. She wasn’t sure she could lie to him for much longer, not like this. He was her friend, her husband; she didn’t want to hurt him and to lie was to hurt.
“Hermione?” his voice caused her to jump involuntarily.
She gulped. “Yeah,” she hated herself for the weakness in her voice.
“We can try, can’t we?” his blue eyes stared at her imploring.
Hermione didn’t have the heart to say no, not now at least. “We can try,” but it would never be.