“Harry!! Ginny!!” Ron yelled through the house as he stepped out of the fireplace.
“Ron?” Ginny poked her head out of the kitchen.
“Hermione! Baby! Red… hair!” Ron gasped. Staggering over to her.
“Oh no, you didn’t go over there did you?” Ginny asked unnecessarily, “Oh, Merlin, you did!” she gasped.
“She…baby... mine!” Ron stuttered, grabbing the doorframe for support.
“What happened?” Harry asked, entering the living room with Lilia, both were covered in baby food.
“Ron went to Hermione’s flat and saw Paige,” Ginny explained.
“Oh,” was all Harry said as he glanced at the floor uncertainly as Lilia painted baby food on his face.
“It’s not true? It can’t be…. I’m getting married tomorrow!” Ron said, “Tell me it’s not true!” he demanded.
“I… I can’t.” Ginny said looking at the ground.
I really was looking forward to tonight but something happened. My daughter Paige’s father showed up and he didn’t exactly know about Paige. I have to go fix this mess, I really hope that we can reschedule.
Hermione looked at the note one last time before folding it into thirds and sticking it to the front of the door. She had dried her tears the best she could but examining herself in the mirror she realized that the evidence that she was crying was still written all over her face. She sighed and walked back into the living room and saw her daughter standing over by the fireplace saying “Da-da?” Hermione walked over to the fireplace and picked her daughter up from behind. Paige squealed in delight and turned her head to see her mother.
“Hi!” she smiled before giving Hermione a tight hug.
Hermione couldn’t help but smile back, “Come on, we have to go visit Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry.”
She took a pinch of floo powder and tossed it into the fire, stepping in after it. She held Paige tight and said, “1331 Godric’s Hollow!”
“Ron, be sensible, you had just broken up, you were both angry, and she was only eighteen!” Hermione heard Ginny pleading.
“Be sensible! This isn’t that she wouldn’t let me borrow her notes anymore! She didn’t tell me that I had a daughter, Ginny!” Ron bellowed back. Hermione could see them from the fireplace now; Harry and Ginny were sitting on the couch while Ron paced in front of the recliner.
“Hey,” Hermione said, her voice barely audible.
“Hermione! I’m so sorry!” Ginny gushed.
“You’re sorry? You didn’t do anything,” Ron spat, glaring at Hermione; Hermione was reminded vaguely of Hagrid.
“Ron!” Ginny yelled at her brother, making to stand up.
“Besides, this isn’t your business, Ginerva!” Ron told her harshly.
“I think it is considering that one, your in my house and two, I know Paige and Hermione better than you ever have.” Ginny retorted, redness rising to her cheeks.
Paige wiggled in Hermione’s arms. Hermione set the child down. She toddled toward Ron and cocked her head to the side.
“Da-da?” she said.
“No,” Ron told her, “No.” He tried to push her away and she fell to her bottom with a hiccup and stared up at him in confusion.
“Ron, you are her father. You don’t have to be in her life or anything, but you are her dad.” Hermione said softly.
“Why the ruddy hell didn’t you tell me!” Ron yelled, scaring Paige. Paige started crying and ran to the nearest person she knew, Harry. Harry picked her up and hugged her, caressing her hair soothingly and getting up, rocking her gently.
“Be careful! You’ll scare her.” Harry hissed.
“Great, just bloody perfect! Everyone is against me! Even my best mate and my sister.” Ron said throwing his arms in the air.
“Ron, don’t you think you’re over-reacting a bit?” Ginny asked him.
“No, personally, I don’t! What, do you expect me to be calm after finding out that I have a two year old—"
“Year and a half.” Hermione corrected.
“A year and a half year old daughter one bloody day before I’m supposed to be married!?!” Ron asked, his voice low and deadly.
“No, but…” Ginny said trying to think of something.
“No, Ron, no one does. But don’t yell at Ginny, it’s not her fault.” Hermione stepped in.
“She knew didn’t she? Why didn’t she tell me? Why didn’t anyone tell me? Who else knows?” Ron asked.
“Yes, she knew, but I asked her not to tell anyone! No one else knows… save my muggle parents.” Hermione explained. Ron ran his fingers through his hair, nervously.
“Why don’t we go talk about this outside so that we won’t scare Paige or wake Lilia, “Hermione suggested seeing that Paige was slowly falling asleep in Harry’s warm embrace.
“Fine.” Ron agreed.
“Are you…” Hermione started.
“Yeah, fine, go.” Harry finished her sentence.
Hermione smiled weakly and followed Ron into the back yard.
“Ron, listen,” Hermione started as she shut the back door behind them, “I swear I was going to tell you! This wasn’t how you were supposed to find out!” Hermione told him, tears threatening to fall again.
“When, Hermione? I’m getting married tomorrow!” Ron asked, his voice was low now.
“I know. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t figure out a way to tell you! I mean it’s not a matter that you discuss over dinner!”
“Why,” Ron started after a moment of silence, “didn’t you tell me two years ago when you found out?”
“I was scared! And single and eighteen and just broken up and angry! So.. so I thought, ‘I’ll just wait and see what happens.’” Hermione said a single tear falling down her cheek, “I told Ginny and asked her not to tell anyone but Harry. She told me that I should tell you but I couldn’t! I just started my job and I didn’t want to have to worry about how you would react. So I put it off again. The next thing I know, I have to quit working and then Paige was born I—"
“Does she… er… have my name?” Ron interrupted.
“What?” Hermione asked.
“Weasley, is she…”
“Yes. I thought that that was the right thing to do.”
“And that telling me wasn’t?”
“Ron, they handed me my baby and I... I felt so many emotions! I was happy and scared and worried and a little sad that you weren’t there to share the moment with me. It wasn’t the way I pictured having my first baby,” Hermione explained, “But Ron, it’s amazing how much she looks and acts like you! You’d think that you raised he and not me.” Hermione laughed… kind of.
“She does look like me.” Ron muttered grudgingly.
“Ron, I’m so sorry! Can you forgive me?” Hermione asked.
“Forgive you from hiding my own daughter from me? I don’t know Hermione. I have to go.” Ron whispered and walked past her into the house. Hermione say down on the soft grass and rested her head in her hands, “What have I done?” she asked herself and felt fresh tears running down her cheek, again.
“What have I done?” Hermione thought as she sat on a patient’s table in St. Mungo’s staring at the results of her visit. She wasn’t sick, as she expected. She was pregnant. And two months along, too.
“Miss Granger? Are you okay?” the Healer asked her.
“I…I… yes, I’m fine.” She answered.
Once she got home she stared at the little congratulations card that the hospital had given her. There were balloons and streamers on the card. She was supposed to happy; she was going to be a mom. But she wasn’t. She wasn’t happy, she wasn’t married, and Ron, the father, was Merlin only knows where.
She lay back on her bed and closed her eyes.
“Hermione?” came a voice from her fireplace.
“Hermione? Are you okay?”
“Hermione!” Hermione jerked her head up and looked around.
“Oh, hey Ginny.” She sighed, running a tired hand over her face.
“Paige is fine, are you okay?” Ginny asked and sat down beside her.
“You were right.” Hermione said.
“I should have told him sooner.”
“It would have prevented all this.”
“Not necessarily.” Ginny started, “He could’ve done the same thing if you had told him sooner.”
“How do you know?” Hermione asked looking at her friend for the first time.
“I… just do.”
“Thanks, Gin.” Hermione said.
“Everything.” Hermione said and hugged her friend; she was lucky to have such a loyal friend like Ginny.
“You’re welcome.” Ginny whispered.
The sun was just setting as Ron poped into Diagon Alley. He stuck his hands in his pockets and trudged down the street. Most of the shops were closing and the diners opening, but Ron didn’t notice, he was staring at the ground.
I have a daughter, he thought numbly. That was not what he was expecting to find when he went to Hermione’s flat.
What will Ivy say? What could she say, really? I mean he had a daughter whether they liked it or not. He wasn’t really sure what he thought yet. He and Ivy hadn’t even talked about children much. She had just broken up with her ex-husband of three years and he had just lost the love of his life, well he thought that she was the love of his life.
Ron sat down on a bench outside of a store and looked around. There weren’t many people around; but there would be when it got dark. People would start showing up on dates and Ron would look really stupid sitting on a bench, alone, in casual clothes.
“Da-da!” a little girl with dazzling blue eyes and brown hair called as she struggled to catch up with the man who had to be her dad. The little girl looked a little older than Paige.
“Here,” the man said stopping and picking up the little girl, “Ready, Sophie? We need to apparate to her house, ok? We’re already late enough.”
“Ok, Da-da,” Sophie chirped happily looking at her dad who had matching eyes and hair. How come that one two-syllable word now sent a sharp pain through his chest? Wait, he knew why.
The pair was gone with a pop and Ron was left alone on his bench.
Hermione looked up from her book on raising magical toddlers and her eyes found the clock, six forty-seven it read. She wasn’t expecting anyone… after looking down at Paige who was playing on the floor with her dolls again, Hermione stood up and walked open to the door. She looked out of the peephole and saw a tall man with brown hair holding a toddler and a piece of paper.
“Jake?” she whispered in surprise and opened the door.
“Hermione?” Jake asked.
“I thought you already came and left,” Hermione said, puzzled.
“So you didn’t get my message?”
Hermione raised an eyebrow.
“It said that we were running late and that we wouldn’t be here until six forty-five,” Jake continued.
“Oh,” Hermione said simply.
“But if you don’t feel like going out know,” Jake trailed off indicating the letter that Hermione had witted a little more than an hour ago.
“Actually, dinner sounds nice,” Hermione answered, glad she hadn’t bothered to change out of her nice clothes, “Let me just get my things.”
Hermione rushed inside and grabbed her purse, wand, diaper bag, and baby; she was out in less than a minute.
“This must be Sophie?” she asked as she shut the door quietly behind her.
“Oh, where are my manners? Yes. This is Sophie. Paige, right?” Jake asked.
“Yeah, Paige, this is Sophie,” Hermione told her daughter, “And Sophie, this is Paige.”
Paige looked at her mother, then Jake, then Sophie. Then she hid timidly in Hermione's dress.
“So, where are we headed?” Hermione asked.
“I thought that new family restaurant over by the Leaky Cauldron?”
“Perfect, we haven’t been there yet,” Hermione said.
“Sure.” Hermione answered and they were gone with two pops.
Hermione and Jake walked into the restaurant and were seated quickly at a table where you could look out the huge window and see into the window of the Leaky Cauldron.
“So, how are you?” Jake asked. Hermione laughed.
“I’m not sure.” She answered and he smiled.
After dark fell, Ron decided to go to the Leakey Cauldron and get a drink before heading home to tell Ivy the news.
“I’ll just have a Butterbeer,” he told the bartender.
“Coming up, Mr. Weasley.” Ron grumbled a thanks and looked to the left into the new place next door. Some family restaurant. He saw a bushy haired girl laughing as two toddlers shoved macaroni into their mouths messily.
Ron laughed to himself and then her recognized her… That was Hermione!
Ron did a double take and then recognized the little girl and herb father as the two he had seen earlier in Diagon Alley. Suddenly, for some reason, he didn’t like them.
He watched as Hermione and this guy talked and laughed. He watched as Paige and the other little girl played with their food before eating it or throwing it.
So this was her date. He wished the Butterbeer would come faster.
“Thanks, Jake. I had fun.” Hermione said honestly. Jake was someone she could talk to openly. She had told him all about Ron and the wedding and Jake had even volunteered to go with her and Paige.
But she didn’t see Jake as more than a friend. And she knew he felt the same way. Paige and Sophie seemed to like each other, though.
“Me too, I’m glad we met, now Sophie and can have play dates!” Jake had explained how he and Sophie had just moved to England from America after Sophie’s mother was in a tragic Auror accident.
Hermione smiled, “Say good night, Paige.”
“Night!” Paige said, yawning tiredly.
“Night!” Sophie repeated, staring around blearily.
“Good night, Hermione. See you tomorrow at ten-thirty,” Jake said and he and Sophie were gone.
“Well, time for bed, little lady. We have a big day tomorrow,” Hermione told her daughter as she opened the door to her flat.
A/N: Hello all! Thanks so much to all that reviewed! I feel loved! Haha, I want to give a special thanks to Goblet Girl, bookworm, Emma_Starr and Emma_Rules for reviewing all my looooooong stories… YOU GUYS ROCK! I also want to thank Ann, my beta, who despite hating editing… does it anyway.
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