Chapter 30 : A Million Times Better
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Chapter 30: A million times better
Disclaimer: I own nothing except my ideas
31st March 2005
I sighed heavily as I slumped into the sofa, glad to be back home. It had been a tiring week at work and I desperately needed to just relax for a bit. Unfortunately it was already half 6, meaning Ron would probably be back soon, and I needed some time alone to think.
Since Ron (and Harry) had qualified last summer their working hours had become harder to predict. I was really hoping that something would come up for him today however, as I needed both a nap and to work out what I was going to say to him when he got back. I decided the latter was the priority.
I had found out yesterday that I was pregnant. Yikes. It shouldn’t have been as much of as a shock it felt, Ron and I had decided a several weeks ago that we were ready, but I had asked him to just let it be, feeling quite pressured by the whole thing, so we had simply stopped using the contraceptive potion.
I also, despite much stressing, had declined to make any checks, but a few days ago I had realised I was a couple of days late and then I’d thrown up the next morning. I’d been fairly sure after that, but being me I’d had to be sure and had taken not one but three muggle pregnancy tests yesterday and when they’d all shown pregnant I’d decided it was probably a fairly safe assumption.
Suddenly, as various scenarios flashed through my mind, I realised I didn’t need to overthink it. We were ready. Of course we were still young, and nervous about the whole thing, but the same was true of Harry and Ginny, and they were proving to be brilliant parents, I thought at least. Of course it helped that Ginny wasn’t working anymore, but I knew I could afford to take a long maternity leave without damaging my position in the department, and Ginny and Molly would both be great babysitters afterwards when required. I would just tell Ron straight as soon as he got home.
With a sudden clarity and confidence, I decided to head upstairs and have that nap. I was shattered, probably partly but definitely not wholly due to the pregnancy I decided.
The next thing I knew I was woken by Ron’s arms around my waist. “Hey there,” he said as my stirring alerted him to my awakeness, “you alright?”
“I’m fine,” I said. “Uh, what time is it?”
“About eleven,” Ron replied, “Sorry I’m back so late love, stuff came up.”
“What sort of stuff,” I said, rolling over to face him, “anything interesting?”
“Nope, turned out not to be in the end,” he said, “turned out to be a muggle spooking people with muggle ‘magic’ tricks, illusions and stuff.”
“Oh,” I laughed, “okay.”
“So,” he said, “how come you’re so whacked out? You’re asleep in your work robes!”
“I just needed a lie down when I came in,” I explained. “It’s been a tiring week.”
“You feeling rested now?” he asked.
“Yeah much better thanks,” I said.
“So not too tired then?” he said suggestively.
“I’m actually really hungry,” I said.
“Yeah you are,” said Ron, grinning wickedly.
“Ron!” I groaned exasperatedly, “I mean I’m actually hungry, I didn’t have anything to eat before I went to sleep.” Giving him a quick kiss, I rolled out of bed. “Do you want me to get you something too?” I asked, slipping out of my robes and into my nightdress.
“Yeah, I’ll come down too,” he said.
As I headed downstairs while Ron also got changed, I decided I’d tell him once we’d eaten. If I did it first then the food would get forgotten in the excitement, and I really was starving. Actually I had a weird craving for a bacon sandwich, normally more Ron’s food of choice. Opening the fridge I chuckled to myself, as I realised I probably had my first pregnancy craving. I sighed to myself as I turned on the oven, Bacon probably wasn’t the healthiest craving, but never mind, I was going to get big anyway I reasoned, not entirely sensibly.
“Why the sigh?” said Ron, surprising me a little with his arrival.
“Oh, no reason,” I said.
“No reason? You have a reason for everything!”
“If you must know, I was deciding to have a bacon sandwich and sighing at my inability to choose something healthier,” I half-lied. “Not exciting! What was that supposed to mean anyway?” I asked a bit aggressively, “that I can’t be impulsive?”
“Not at all!” said Ron, pacifically, “chill out!”
“Sorry,” I said, sighing for what seemed like the umpteenth time in a matter of minutes. “Hormones.”
“Fair enough,” said Ron, seemingly satisfied and just glad it hadn’t turned into a fight. Probably because he knew he’d lose, I thought smugly to myself. We sat down to eat our sandwiches, having a bog-standard conversation about work as we did so. Eventually we were both finished, and I decided it was time to tell him.
“Ron,” I said, as evenly as I could with the nervousness rising in my stomach again, “I…I have something to tell you,” I chickened out, for just a few more seconds.
“Good or bad?” Ron asked.
Strangely, that simple question relaxed me a lot. Good, obviously, indubitably, absolutely good, so why was I nervous? “I’m pregnant.”
“Hermione!” he said as he pulled me into his arms, his ever-comforting arms, “wow…I mean wow! That’s amazing, brilliant!”
“Why am I so nervous then?” I said, burying my head in his shoulder as I held him tightly.
“Because it’s terrifying,” he said, removing me from his arms so he could look into my eyes. “It’s like the most daunting thing ever,” but we’ll do it together. Besides, if Harry and Ginny can do it then we can!”
“Yes,” I said firmly, as much to myself as to him. “We can.”
“That’s the spirit!” said Ron, stroking my hair. “You’ll be fine, I’ll look after you. And you’ll be a fantastic mum too.”
“Thank you,” I said quietly, “I love you.”
“I love you too Hermione, I can’t think of anything that would make me happier than having a baby with you.” I beamed at him, before he suddenly added, “Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?”
“No!” I half-laughed, “I only suspected two days ago, I haven’t been for a check-up or anything.”
“Well we should go then shouldn’t we?”
“Yes, we’ll pop in over the weekend,” I said. “Now let’s go to bed.”
“Sounds good to me,” he said, pulling me into a quick hug before we headed upstairs.
I had already booked the next day off work, so Ron headed off in the morning, promising to tell Harry the news if he saw him, while I went to visit Ginny.
I enjoyed the bright, fresh morning as I walked the short distance to the Potter house, before knocking. After a short wait Ginny answered the door, still in her dressing gown and looking shattered.
“Hermione, hi,” she said. “What’s up?”
“I’ve got a day off,” I said. “I wondered if you fancied some company?”
“I’d like that,” she said, stepping aside to let me in.
“Are you alright?” I asked as I entered. “No offense but you look exhausted.”
“Kids do that to you,” she said wearily. “You’ll find out soon enough. You want some coffee?”
“I’ll get it,” I said and one for you too. You sit down.”
“Thanks Hermione,” she said.
“Where’s James?” I asked from the kitchen as I made the coffee.
“Asleep upstairs,” she replied. “He was so hyper last night, he did a bit of magic and didn’t get to sleep until about 4.”
“Do you want me to go?” I asked, “let you get some sleep?”
“Nah,” she called back, “I’m up now, I doubt I’ll be able to get back to sleep anyway. Besides, I miss chatting to you, we haven’t done it enough recently.”
“We haven’t,” I said with a smile as I headed back into the lounge with two coffees. Giving one to Ginny I studied her as I sat down next to my sister-in-law. She clearly had something else on her mind and after a seconds thought I decided to press her.
“What’s troubling you?”
“I know you Ginny,” I said, “something’s on your mind. You can tell me.”
She looked at me for a second before admitting, “Harry and I had a bit of row last night. We disagreed on who was working harder and therefore more tired. It’s fine!” she added as I looked at her worriedly, “it wasn’t anything serious, we were both stressed out with James kicking off, we’ll sort it out tonight I’m sure.”
“You sure?” I asked, realising I was probably being more annoying than reassuring.
“Absolutely,” she replied, “but thank you for your concern.”
“Sorry,” I sighed. “I don’t mean to meddle, it’s just I know it must be hard for you, looking after James 24/7.”
“It’s not so bad now,” she said. “Compared to the first two years it’s pretty easy now it seems.”
“Still,” I said, “how would you feel about a bit of help? I could do with getting the practise in.”
“You and Ron decided to start trying?” she said, sounding surprised but smiling broadly.
“Yep,” I said. “In fact…”
I didn’t even need to finish- Ginny’s eyes widened comically as I trailed off. “You’re pregnant!?” she asked, stunned by the suddenness of the revalation.
I simply nodded, and smiled at her intuitiveness, before she gave me a fierce hug, “Hermione that’s amazing.”
“Thanks,” I said. “I was pretty terrified about it all when I realised, but Ron was brilliant, I’m a lot calmer now. Even excited,” I finished with a grin.
“Well you’ll be great parents,” Ginny said firmly, “I reckon you’ll compliment each other brilliantly.”
“I hope so,” I said.
“Have you told anyone else yet?” she asked, sipping her coffee.
“No,” I replied, “Ron’s going to tell Harry today if he sees him. I didn’t tell him to not tell anyone else though, so it might spread pretty quickly. We should probably go and tell your mum today actually,” I realised.
“Yeah, I’m sure she’d much rather hear it from you than on the grapevine. Do you want me to come with you?”
“Yes please,” I said, “we can go once James wakes up.”
“I doubt he’ll be much past midday,” Ginny said.
It turned out to be not even that long, James waking up at about half eleven and making his way downstairs. “Auntie Mione!” he called out when he reached the bottom of the stairs, hurrying over and giving my legs a hug. I had got used to his version of my name, which sounded more like ‘my-knee’ than anything else.
“Hello James,” I said, lifting him onto the sofa between Ginny and I. “Are you being good for your mum?”
“Yep,” he said, nodding vigorously. I couldn’t help but giggle as Ginny mouthed ‘no’ and shook her head at me from behind her son’s back.
“I’m starting to accept that the trouble gene runs in the Potter line,” she said, “he’s already trying to live up to his namesakes.”
“I’m hungry,” said James, “can I have a sandwich?” Ginny gave him a stern look and after a brief moment of thought he added, “Please?”
“Of course you can,” she said, moving off to the kitchen to make it.”
“We’re going to go and see your Grandma,” I told James.
“Why?” he asked. “She always asks lots of questions. Can’t we go and see Uncle George? He shows me cool stuff!”
“I’m sure you can go and see your Uncle George soon,” I said, “besides, I don’t think you need to worry about her asking you too many questions today.”
“She’s going to be asking me lots of questions instead.”
“Well, I’m going to have a baby,” I said, hoping this didn’t lead to the dreaded ‘where do babies come from?’ question. “So Grandma Molly will be excited about that.”
“Cool!” he said.
“It’ll be fun to have a little cousin huh? You’ll have someone to play with.”
“But babies sleep all the time!” he moaned.
“But they’re so cute!” I insisted, “I mean look at that picture of you,” I said, pointing to one on the mantelpiece.
He shrugged. “Are you having a baby boy or a baby girl?”
“I don’t know,” I replied, “we’re not going to know until he or she is born. One day you’ll be the first to go to Hogwarts and all your cousins will want to know what it’s like.”
“That’ll be cool,” said James, “I want to do magic now.”
“I know,” I said, “but you have to be patient. I was lucky I suppose, I didn’t know I could do magic until I got my Hogwarts letter so I didn’t have to wait long.”
Ginny then returned with James’s lunch and we headed back into the kitchen to grab ourselves a snack while he ate. “You told him about the baby then?” Ginny asked rhetorically, having heard our conversation from the other room.
“Yeah,” I said, “he seems fairly indifferent about it, but I guess a cousin’s not quite as big a deal as a sibling. I’m glad he didn’t get too inquisitive though, I thought I might get the dreaded ‘where do babies come from question’. Has he asked about that at all?
“Nah,” she said, “I guess we’ll talk to him about it when he’s got a little brother or sister on the way.”
“Oh,” I said, eyebrow raised, “and when might that be?”
“I dunno,” she said, shrugging. “Maybe quite soon though, as much as I love seeing him grow up I’m missing him being a baby too.”
“Well you’ve got about six months to try and get him or her into the same year as this one at Hogwarts,” I joked, placing my hand on my stomach.
Ginny chuckled, before saying, “In all seriousness I might want to get a move on, because I really want at least one girl and judging by my family that might require quite a few tries.”
“Well I hope for you sake you’re not pregnant as many times as your mum,” I said, “although I guess it gets easier.”
“I’ll let you know,” she said dryly, grinning.
Once James had finished eating we headed off to the Burrow. Molly was as delighted as always to see us, and James even more so. The woman was the most natural mother ever, and was relishing the second (or eighth?) oppurtunity looking after her grandchild gave her.
“So,” she said, once we had turned down refreshments, “how come you’re not at work Hermione?”
“Oh I booked the day off,” I said, “I haven’t had one in a while.”
“How are you Ginny dear?” she said.
“I’m alright,” she said, “James is keeping me busy though.”
“I did magic,” he piped up.
It wasn’t the first time James had shown signs of magic, but Molly still smiled at him. “Well done James.”
“Yeah, well done,” said Ginny, “just please don’t try to do it, you can’t really control it and I could really do without you blowing up the house.”
“I didn’t blow up the house!” he said indignantly, “It was just a little fire!”
“Just be careful okay,” Ginny said to him tiredly, before burying her face in her hands.
I patted my sister-in-law on the shoulder, trying not to be patronising, while Molly said “you’re doing a great job dear.”
“I honestly don’t know how you did it mum,” Ginny said, “Percy wasn’t even five when I was born…”
She shrugged. “You do what you have to, I’m sure you could do it do.”
“No thanks,” Ginny said.
“Although you did say you wanted to have a girl earlier,” I pointed out.
“There isn’t really any reason that should take too many tries though,” she insisted, “it’s Weasley men who never have girls, there aren’t any Weasley girls from previous generations to work it out from!”
“So I’m the one who’s going to have to have a dozen children?” I joked.
“I’m sure you’ll be fine,” she said.
“Well I maintain I have a 50 per cent chance of having a girl,” I said firmly. “I guess we’ll find out in nine months time,” I added with a meaningful look at Molly.
“Oh my!” she said, “Hermione that’s wonderful news! Congratulations!”
“Thank you,” I said.
“You must be delighted,” she said.
“A little nervous,” I admitted, “but yeah, really excited.”
Just over an hour later Ginny and I returned to Grantchester, Molly having promised to help as much as I needed. Returning back to Ginny’s, we chatted for a bit longer before Harry returned, closely followed by Ron who had headed back to ours first, unaware I was with Ginny.
“Congratulations Hermione,” said Harry as soon as he came through the front door, coming over to give me a hug.
“Ron managed to track you down then?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he replied, “not that you could really call it that, it was a pretty quiet one and we were both in the office most of the day. I managed to catch up on some paperwork; Ron spent the whole day telling everyone he could find the good news.”
“I thought he might,” I said, at which point he came through the door. “So Harry tells me you didn’t get much work done today,” I said to him.
He shrugged, “I’m just so proud!”
“Hey,” interjected Harry, “you guys want stay for dinner?”
“Sure, thanks,” I replied after a confirmatory glance at Ron.
Ron continued to talk after that, as we sat down, but I was paying more attention to Harry and Ginny talking over by the doorway to the kitchen. Their voices were hushed and I couldn’t hear them but it was easy to tell from their demeanours that they were making up, Harry appeared to apologise and then Ginny took his hand before they kissed and hugged. I smiled to myself, before dragging myself back to what Ron was saying.
Dinner was lovely, Harry had become a pretty solid cook over the last couple of years and James managed to refrain hurling anything or doing any magic, and Ron and I headed back home at about 9, looking forward to a weekend to ourselves to just enjoy the fact we were going to be parents.
Unfortunately, and I had to admit completely because of me, the weekend turned out to be incredibly stressful, as I spent every waking hour thinking of everything possible that had to be sorted before the baby was born. From scheduling check-ups at St. Mungo’s so they fitted into both our work schedules to choosing a nice gender neutral colour for the room that would become the baby’s room, everything popped into my head over the next 48 hours.
Thankfully as the weeks went by I calmed down a bit, getting back into the usual rhythm of work. My 26th birthday and then Christmas came and went, with the tribulations of pregnancy starting to get to me by the latter. I couldn’t deal with the excitement of New Year’s Day but Ron sweetly agreed to stay in with me, and finally the next day it happened.
2nd January 2006
It was the middle of the afternoon, a new year had just begun, and I was lying in a bed in St. Mungo’s, watching Ron hold our beautiful newborn baby daughter.
As I thought how much of a natural he looked, gently rocking her, he glanced at me. “You should try and get some sleep,” he admonished gently.
“I’m fine!” I insisted. “To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t half as difficult as I was expecting.”
“Not fazed by anything are you?” he said, grinning lopsidedly.
I gave him a meaningful look, meant to suggest that he knew perfectly well that I got ‘fazed’ plenty often. He just chuckled back at me and I was too tired (I didn’t want to go to sleep- I wanted to watch and hold my daughter), to say anything to find out whether he had understood or not.
“Do you know what you want to call her?” Ron asked quietly.
I paused. I’d thought about it a lot (obviously), even though it had meant thinking of both boy and girl name, but nothing had really stuck in my mind, especially for a girl. “I don’t know…” I mused, before suddenly a thought came to me. “How about you name her and I name any boy or boys we might have in the future?”
“Sounds good to me,” smiled Ron, “I brought it up ‘cause I’d thought of one.”
“Go on,” I prompted.
“Rose,” he said. “It’s simple, and nice and summery.”
“But it’s the middle of winter!” I said, puzzled.
He just shrugged, “We don’t need to name her after the time of year she was born at do we?”
“Of course not,” I said, “and I love it, it’s a beautiful name.”
“For a beautiful girl,” said Ron, kissing her on the head. “Welcome to the world Rose Weasley. She’s going to be as beautiful and smart as her mum,” he added, passing Rose back to me as I held out my arms to ask for a turn to hold her.
“And as good at chess and Quidditch as her dad,” I said with a smile as I took her.
“Those are my best qualities you could think of,” said Ron with mock disappointment, shaking his head, “let’s hope she doesn’t get your Quidditch skills.”
“Oi!” I said, continuing the fake argument, “We’re not going to force her into Quidditch.”
Of course,” nodded Ron without comically exaggerated gravity. “She’ll need to concentrate on her schoolwork; anything less than 12 OWLs and we’ll disown her- agreed?”
“Shut up and come over here,” I said gently, grinning at his silliness. He came and sat in a chair right next to my bed, reaching out to Rose who grabbed onto one of his fingers with one of her tiny hands.
As I looked down at her tiny form in my arms I thought of everything to look forward to and couldn’t help but smile. There wasn’t any feeling quite like holding your own child in your arms.
As if reading my mind, Ron, having extricated his finger, turned to me and said, “Better than getting seven O’s?”
“A million times better.”
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