Chapter 1 : Spring
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Ever since the war, Hermione had accidentally become obsessed with normal. It was an unfortunate love, mainly because her normal day was fairly boring. But, indeed, Hermione Weasley's idea of a perfect day was a normal day at work, dealing with normal issues, normal clients, normal paperwork, and normal cases. And that was just the way she liked it. Surprised, unprecedented circumstances... none of them had place in her life. Her desk was orderly, her day was orderly, her life was orderly. That was the way she wanted it. Of course, being best friends with Ginny Potter always made it a little bit harder to avoid surprises. But Hermione had gotten pretty good at it. In fact, she had realized long ago that one of the factors of her excellency at her job was the fact that she hated being shocked. In order to avoid being shocked at all costs, she would over do her research. Her opponents could never use the element of surprise. It drove most lawyers crazy.
Of course, for a person who didn't like surprises, marrying Ron Weasley probably wasn't the wisest thing to do. Still, as one of Hermione's best friends, Rose, always said, the heart wants what the heart wants. And, to state the glaringly obvious, Hermione's heart wanted Ron. When she'd married him, she known, of course, that there was going to be a schedule change. Ron and her living together would mean that she'd have to make dinner every night on a schedule, that she couldn't stay late at work without warning him, and that they would go home and have lunch every day. The latter change was good, Hermione loved that tradition. But it did mean that she had to be responsible about taking her lunch break on time.
Her hands flew across the document, expertly writing in everything she needed to and moving through her work. It was just simple, mindless paperwork, nothing really special, but Hermione found herself savoring this part of the day. It was the part where she could let her mind wander after she'd gotten into the rhythm of things. She'd been at this job for so long, the paperwork had become second nature, like the instinct that told you to brush your teeth before you went to bed. At first, it had taken sometime to get used to, but after a while Hermione could think about stuff other then work as she worked. Like, what to cook for dinner that night, or whether or not they would be too tired that night to... do stuff.
Yes, young married life was very exciting. They'd only been married for about a year and three months, so they were still in a slightly less glorified version of the Honeymoon stage, but Hermione was enjoying it immensely. And she thought Ron was too. She hadn't gotten used to being called Mrs. Weasley yet, and she always laughed or grinned or became a total sop whenever anyone used that name on her. Ron, too, loved it when someone called her Hermione Weasley, or she used it to introduce herself to someone. As a matter of fact, the day that plaque outside her office had started to read 'Hermione Weasley' instead of 'Hermione Granger'... well, Hermione wasn't going to go into details, but she didn't think she'd look at her desk the same way ever again.
It was that thought that was interrupted when her intercom clicked on and her secretary's voice flooded through the tiny speaker.
“Yes?” she said.
“Your husband is here to see you.”
“Alright. Send him in.”
She put her pen down and looked up just as Ron's fiery red head came through the door. He flashed her a grin, and Hermione felt her heart start to beat just a little bit faster. It didn't usually do this, but probably because of what she had just been thinking about when Ron walked through the door, Hermione was a little bit more emotion prone.
“Hi, sweetheart.” Ron said, coming over to kiss her. Hermione thanked Merlin for the fact that she wore stilettos to work and wrapped her arms around Ron's neck.
“Hi right back.” she said, nuzzling his nose.
“I need to talk to you.” Ron said, pulling back and going to sit at the love seat that was in the corner of her huge office.
“Are you okay? Do you need law consulting?”
“Well, that's always good. Just stuck at work?”
Ron always came to visit Hermione when he had a headache about his job. But this time, he shook his head.
“No. This is more personal.”
Hermione look at him, then narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms.
“I think I know what this is about.”
“You do?” Ron said, looking a little bit guilty and nervous.
“Yes. Ron, we've already addressed this. I'm not willing to have quickies in my office! It's my place of work, and-”
“Hermione, that is not what I came to talk about.” Ron interrupted, causing Hermione to turn bright red.
“Oh.” she said.
“But I don't see why not! I mean, I'd offer up my office but it's really only a cubical, and-”
“Right. Er-” Ron cleared his throat, then gestured for Hermione to sit down on the couch across from him. She complied, looking at Ron curiously, and he watched her sit down, his hands curled into little balls on his lap. “So... I've chosen to have this discussion here and instead of at home because it's basically neutral ground. And, also, you can't hex me at the Ministry of Magic.”
Hermione raised an eyebrow.
“You're scaring me. What could you possibly want to talk to me about here that you wouldn't want to talk to me about at home?”
“Well-” Ron started to say something, then stopped himself. He gave Hermione a pained look. “Mione, I prepared a speech and everything. Please don't make this harder on me.”
“Just shut it for about ten minutes, okay?”
“Fine.” Hermione said, sighing and smoothing her skirt out on her lap.
“So, we've been married for... what, a year and three months?”
“It would appear that way.” Hermione said before she could stop herself. Ron gave her a look. “Sorry, love. Natural instinct.”
“You're right, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have expected you to be able to keep your mouth shut when someone asks a question. It isn't in your nature.”
He waited for Hermione to reply, but she didn't. Remembering that he'd demanded she shut up for this, Ron plowed on with his speech.
“And, this year has been really great, right?”
Now he was looking at her expectantly, as if waited for an agreement. Hermione stared right back, looking a little smug.
“Right, Hermione?” Ron said again, looking a little wounded about her lack of enthusiasm. Hermione threw her hands into the air.
“Yes, it's been wonderful, but you told me to put a sock in it, and now you keep expecting me to answer questions. Make up your mind, Ron!”
“Fine. After this, I won't ask any more questions.” Ron said. He gave a very Umbridge like 'hem hem' and then began his speech for the third time. “Alright. So, we've both agreed that this marriage has been really excellent so far.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and made a hand gesture that clearly said 'get on with it'.
“Yeah, but, anyway, I was thinking that there might be a way to make this even better.”
He paused and stared up at her guiltily.
“Hermione, I want to have a baby.”
No emotion registered in her face, and she didn't say anything, either.
“Oh, you can talk now.”
“Sure. We'll have one in a few years, yeah. That'll make it great.” She stood up and started walking back over to her desk. “Is that all? I was thinking meatloaf for dinner tonight, we haven't had-”
“Hermione, you misunderstand me. I don't mean in a few years. I mean... let's start trying now.”
Only now did the shock that he had been waiting for come. Hermione's eyebrows both flew up, and her mouth opened slightly. Almost instantly, she closed it, and her emotions contradicted themselves as she started to frown.
“Oh. I... Ron!”
“That's... that's ridiculous! We're not ready! We've been married for year...”
“We've known each other for about thirteen years.”
“So? We haven't dated for thirteen years... and we're not ready.”
“Hermione,” Ron said, a little exasperated now. “The whole reason we got married was to have kids. Nancy and Cam, we had such a great time with them. And we wanted ones that were actually ours.”
“I know, but... no. Seriously no.”
“Why?” Ron asked, looking at her. “Why is now not as good a time as some other time would be?”
“Mainly because we haven't been married for all that long. We haven't been preparing at all. And we haven't... so many things.”
“Hermione, how prepared can you really be for something like this?”
“Really, really prepared! Ron, do you think we have enough money right now to put a child through Hogwarts?”
“Okay, how about enough money to raise a kid? Do you realize how much that would cost? I mean, we spent a hell of a lot of money on that wedding.”
“I was actually looking through the figures of our joint accounts last night. I think we'll be able to scrape by with what we have.”
“Do you really want to have to scrape by, Ron?”
“It might be fun to do some scraping.”
“You think so?”
Hermione put her hands on her hips and glared at Ron.
“Hermione, I know you like to think things through. I know that, I've always known that about you. But we'll have nine months to deal with this. Both of us have secure, very well paying jobs. And, let's face it, most of the money spent on our wedding was from the Robinson case. Those people payed you a hell of a lot of money, and the wedding barely even made a dent in our funds. We have a house, and plenty of friends and family that can babysit. We have rooms picked out for all of our children, and you already made that ridiculous babbity rabbity wallpaper purchase. What about this doesn't make sense?”
“I'm not ready to quit my job.”
“I don't want to have a nanny take care of our baby!”
“I don't know what to tell you. Are you ever going to want to quit your job, Hermione?”
“So why is this going to be easier in three years?”
“I don't know. It just will.”
“I think you're scared.” Ron challenged.
“Maybe I am.” Hermione whispered defiantly. And then Ron did something that really surprised her. He scooped her up into a hug.
“I know this frightens you. I mean, I was raised in a family that breeds like hippogriffs, and you're an only child. I've always known that I wanted to have zillions of little kids-”
“Zillions?” Hermione said in a high pitched voice.
“Well, maybe not zillions.” Ron amended.
“That's good.” Hermione squeaked.
“Look, the point is... I know it's not up to me. I mean, you're the one who's going to be puking and getting stretch marks and mood swings and going through the miracle of birth and all that. But... I just want you to think about it. Because... I love you. And I want us to have someone that's you and me running around. You know what I mean?”
Unfortunately, she did.
“Just think about it.” Ron whispered. And then he kissed the top of her head and left the room.
All day, Hermione struggled with it. She went through her paperwork thoroughly distracted, and it got to the point where she had to fix her mistakes with her wand because she couldn't get anything right. That said, Hermione was glad when, around six thirty, her secretary beeped into the room with a distraction.
“Mrs. Weasley, you have a visitor.”
Hermione bit her lip.
“It... it isn't Ron, isn't it?”
“No. It's Mr. and Mrs. Halliwell.”
Hermione's expression cleared.
“Oh, wonderful. Send them in.”
She stood up and straightened her skirt. A second later, a woman and a man, looking very much in love, swooped into the room and both gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“Hi, Hermione!” the woman said, and Hermione laughed joyfully.
“Hi, Lydia! How are you guys?”
“We're great.” the man said.
“Look!” Lydia said. “Warren!”
Hermione's eyes suddenly flitted down to the bundle that she hadn't noticed in Lydia's arms before. The couple's adopted baby boy. There'd been some trouble with the adoption a few months ago, and Hermione had gladly helped the two out. Now, they had their baby and were blissfully happy.
“Congratulations!” Hermione squealed.
“Would you like to hold him?” Lydia asked. Hermione recoiled. The honest truth was, she didn't really want to be around babies after the conversation she'd just had with Ron only a few hours ago. But the McGowans were looking at her so expectantly she couldn't resist.
“Of course.” Hermione said, albeit in a smaller voice. Mr. McGowan handed her the baby carefully, and Hermione took him in her arms. “Hi, Warren.” Hermione said quietly. “It's nice to meet you.”
The baby cooed, and the couple laughed.
“Hermione, you're a natural.” Mr. Halliwell said.
“You'll make a wonderful mother.” Lydia agreed.
And it was that observation that forced Hermione to make her decision.
He was seated on the couch, reading a Quidditch magazine. Hermione dropped her purse onto the designated table and walked over to him, slipping her hands around his shoulders and giving his neck a kiss. Ron, who hadn't heard her come in, immediately gave a little start, but calmed almost instantly when he realized who it was. He grinned at her nervously, and Hermione kissed him. She was a little glad that he was afraid of her wrath, but, of course, she wasn't going to be keeping him waiting for his answer for a while. She knew how hard it was to put yourself out there like that. After all, she'd done the same thing when she'd kissed him during the Final Battle. She'd had no way to know how he was going to react, and she didn't even get a proper answer until after the battle had ended, which had been awful for her. She wasn't going to do that to Ron.
“How was your day?” Ron asked. Hermione uttered a tired moan as she sat on the couch and slipped off her shoes.
“So-so.” she replied. “I was really distracted most of it, though.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah.” Hermione said, looking at him meaningfully.
“Sorry.” he said. And he truly did look sorry. Hermione exhaled.
“It's fine.” she said. “It... it isn't your fault. You were right in everything you said. I mean, yeah, it is ultimately my decision, because it will be my body and all that. But you're going to be the dad. It's also sort of your choice.”
“That's what I thought, too!” Ron said, looking enthusiastic. Hermione looked away from him and started staring at the wall above the empty mantle.
“Still...” Hermione said, looking at the wall. “Stretch marks, and morning sickness, and... everything will change. I'll have to go on maternity leave, I'll become fat, I'll have odd cravings...”
Ron's heart sank. She was saying no.
“God, this is tight.” Hermione said, undoing the zipper on her skirt. “Better.” she sighed.
Ron stayed silent, not even taking advantage of the fact that his wife had undone the zipper on an article of clothing. He stared at the same piece of wall Hermione had been looking at a few moments ago. And that was when he felt a tap on the shoulder. Ron turned towards his wife. She was looking at him expectantly. He gave her a quizzical look. What did she want him to do? What did she want him to say? She'd let him down. And he was a little disappointed, although he was trying not to look it. But Hermione was right. They'd have time.
“Well?” Hermione said suddenly.
“Well... what?” Ron asked, confused.
Hermione slipped the skirt off.
“Aren't you going to knock me up?”