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Chapter 8 : Lessons Learned
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A loud curse, then muffled grunts. A second later, Ron ran from the bathroom, a tissue pressed against his cheek, a hysterical look on his face. This wasn't the first time the baby had kicked, but Ron was never around for the kicking. It was driving him mad. Hermione gestured frantically for him to run faster, but by the time he was able to get there and place his hands on her abdomen, the kicking had stopped. Hermione sighed and gazed apologetically at him.
“Sorry, love. It seems like the baby just doesn't want to kick for you.”
She yawned and stretched luxuriously, her short silk nightgown moving over the baby bump easily. Seeing as they really were doing their best to save money, Hermione was glad that Ginny had loaned her some maternity clothes. The redhead was carrying much bigger this time, while Hermione was carrying small, so some of the clothes that Ginny couldn't fit into anymore had been passed onto Hermione. Most of them were just a little too big, and the sleeves and straps quite often slipped off of her shoulders, revealing more then Hermione normally would, but seeing as she only wore the stuff around her husband, it didn't really matter. And Ron didn't seem to mind, either.
“I'm starting to think you're bloody making the kicking up, just to get a rise of me.”
“No, really, the book says-”
She abruptly stopped talking, looking guilty, sheepish, and a little afraid. This Ron was reminding her of teenage Ron, and she didn't really want that one back. The adult Ron was was much better tempered and loved her even more than the other one did. This one was mature enough to raise a baby. Teenage Ron really wasn't. Hermione bit her lip and sat up to kiss him.
“I'm sorry. It's my security blanket.”
She was, of course, referring to the book. Her reading was driving Ron crazy. Hermione kept her nose stuck in a book day and night, and it was taking over everything. Work, relationships... she hadn't talked to Harry or Ginny in days. She was just too afraid that she'd mess something up. Hermione absolutely needed everything to be perfect. If it wasn't, she was sure that all hell would break loose. On the contrary, Ron was a more go with the flow type of man. He thought that everything would come to him naturally, and Hermione, too.
“Haven't you ever heard of maternal instinct?” he asked her now.
“What if I haven't a maternal bone in my body? That's where the reading comes in!”
“Every woman has a maternal bone in her body. It's just the way it goes. Just like every woman is a good cook, and every woman does her husband and children's laundry...”
“Ron, that's your mum!” Hermione snapped. “Some mums are career women who hire maids and don't cook at all. Or do laundry. Ever.”
Ron frowned, considered this, and then kissed her forehead.
“If you say so.” he said.
“Seriously, Ron? You've never met anyone who didn't do that?”
“No. It's what I expect out of all women. It's what I expect out of you.”
He grinned at her unknowingly, then walked back into the bathroom, anger forgotten. Unfortunately, Hermione's was just getting started. She leaped out of bed with only a little bit of difficulty (Ginny, at nearly nine months, was having much more trouble) and went over to lean against the bathroom door frame. She stood there, glaring at an oblivious Ron, who just continued shaving, looking at himself closely in the mirror as to not cut himself. Finally becoming fed up with his behavior, Hermione flicked the bathroom light on and off, forcing her husband to pay attention to her.
“What? What?” Ron asked, looking around at her.
“What do you mean, what you expect of me? I do what I do for you because I love you, not because it's an obligation. But if you piss me off, Ron Weasley, I swear I will stop at the drop of a hat.”
He rolled his eyes.
“It's the Weasley woman's job, Hermione! I go out, earn income. You bake, and cook, and clean, take care of the children, and do my laundry! All while having a career! Because you’re brilliant and amazing like that.”
“If you think that raising a child isn't going to be a joint effort, then I'm leaving you for Viktor Krum for real this time.”
Ron looked stricken.
“You... you know that's not really what I meant.”
“Well... I mean...”
“I earn income, too, Ron! I love earning my income! I'm giving up a lot to let you go out and earn the income so I can stay home and raise YOUR baby!”
“C'mon, Mione. How hard could it be?”
“Oh, you don't remember Nancy and Cam? Wait, that's right. You did NONE of the work then! It was me, cooking, cleaning...”
“And it's been working out so well so far!”
“You couldn't last a week doing what I do for you. You would fail miserably.”
“I'll make you a deal.” Ron said suddenly, slamming his razor onto the bathroom counter.
“Let's hear it.” Hermione said with a touch of sarcasm in her voice.
“For the rest of the week, I'll do all of the cooking, cleaning, laundering, etc cetera. If I can do it and still think it's easy, you have to stop pulling the bloody Viktor Krum remarks, and you must make me brownies every week for the rest of our married lives.”
“In that case, I'll just divorce you and marry Viktor.”
“See! This is exactly what I mean!”
“Okay. And what do I get if I win?”
“The best sex you'll ever have.”
“Ron... that's still rewarding to you! You won't be able to lose at all in this bet! You'll be happy either way! No, I want blood.”
“No, not literally. It's a phrase!”
“Is it really?”
“It is...isn't it?”
“Hmmm.” Hermione stood there, biting her lip for a full three minutes, before she realized what he'd done. “No, Ron! You distracted me!”
“I'm so good at it, too.” Ron said, pleased.
“I have something. If you win, I'll stop making Viktor threats and I'll make brownies, blah blah blah. But if I win, I'm going to make you sign a legal contract making you say, 'Hermione is always right, Ron is always wrong' whenever I ask you to. Deal?”
“It's on.” Ron said, sticking out his hand to shake hers. Hermione wrapped her arm around his neck and kissed him instead. “Better.” Ron admitted, and she laughed before telling him to go get dressed. She turned towards the sink to brush her teeth and suddenly caught sight of her reflection in the mirror. Her hair was bushier then usual. She hadn't waxed her eyebrows in a while. And, merlin, she was fat! Slowly, she raised the hem of her nightgown so that she could look at her pregnant belly. It was awful. Hermione stared at herself with a look of horror on her face, her mouth open a little bit. Ron emerged from the closet a few minutes later, whistling and straightening his tie. As soon as he saw her, he raised an eyebrow. “What?” he asked. “What's wrong?”
“I'm a cow.” Hermione said, her voice wobbling. Ron stood there, confused.
“Er- I don't think you're making milk yet, are you? MERLIN’S PANTS ARE YOU?”
“No, what I meant was... I look like a cow.”
“Don't be silly! You don't have ears, or a tail, or stand on four legs, or have black spots-”
“RON, I'm the SIZE of a cow.” Hermione barked. “I'm huge!”
“Well, if you'd said that earlier, we would have saved a lot of time.”
She didn't turn towards him to glare at him for his failed attempt at humor. She didn't meet his eyes in the mirror, even though his reflection was quite close to hers. She just stared at herself, horror struck. Ron scratched his head. He didn't get this at all. She was... she was pregnant.
“You're pregnant!” he said, bewildered. “Aren't you supposed to be a cow?”
At his words, Hermione finally looked up at him. As soon as she met his eyes, she burst into tears. Ron's eyes widened, and he began to feel scarily beyond any level of comprehension. This was... ridiculous. Hermione gripped the edge of the counter as she sobbed, and Ron finally got the sense to grab her waist and spin her around so that he could cradle her in his arms.
“I'm... so.... ugly!” Hermione wailed.
Now he was truly vexed. Where would she ever get that idea? Would he honestly have married her if she was ugly? And even though her body had changed, she was going to have a baby! She'd get it back. Even if she didn't, it was worth it, wasn't it? They were going to have a baby! He'd said that before, right?
“Hermione, you're not ugly.” Ron said quietly, not knowing where else to go with this, seeing as he really wanted to call her an idiot.
“I am, I am, you're going to leave me!” cried Hermione, and louder, more desperate wails filled the room.
“Why the hell would I leave you?” Ron asked, beside himself. Now he was on the verge of taking her to a therapist.
“Because... you... haven't... changed... at all and... I have!”
“YOU'RE PREGNANT, YOU BARKING WOMAN!” Ron finally shouted. “WHAT THE BLOODY HELL DID YOU EXPECT?”
She slid down his body and curled herself into a ball on the floor, rocking herself back and forth as she cried. Ron ran his hand through his red hair, pacing back and forth.
“Oi. Harry got a woman who stayed in the horny stage forever and was barely hormonal. Mine doesn't seem to be hitting the horny stage at all, and her hormones are in overdrive.”
He looked up towards the ceiling and whispered,
“Merlin, why do you hate me?”
After telling her over and over again that she was the most beautiful woman on the planet, not even seconded by Aphrodite (Which he'd obviously been prompted and prodded by Hermione to say, because Ron had no idea who Aphrodite was), Ron got Hermione off of the bathroom floor and into her work clothes. They flooed together and at the last minute Ron decided he was going to take her out to lunch.
“I'll meet you in the atrium at one, okay?”
“Alright.” Hermione said, and Ron leaned down to kiss her lips, then her nose, before heading off of the elevator. The doors clanked shut, and Ron watched the elevator slide down before shaking his head and heading to his cubicle. Harry was sitting there in Ron's good chair, waiting for him, sipping coffee to wake himself up. Ron grabbed the mug that was his and told Harry to get his arse out of his chair, which Harry scurried to do.
“Rough morning?” he asked as he got out.
“Hermione thinks she's ugly.” Ron said, shrugging his shoulders and showing Harry a perplexed face. “She called herself a cow.”
Harry nodded wisely and patted Ron on the shoulder.
“It's one of the phases. It won't last. Just be sure not to even look at another woman, or else she'll bite your head off.”
“Literally?” Ron asked
“Oh, I wouldn't know if it's literally. Gin threatened, but I never found out, as I simply kept my eyes on my radiant wife.”
“Really?” Ron said skeptically.
“When she was around. That's the key.”
“How're you feeling?” Ron asked tentatively as Hermione skipped up to him.
“Wonderfu! Oh, my day's been phenomenal so far.” He looked at her disbelievingly, but Hermione merely slipped her hand into his and kissed Ron on the cheek. “So, where are we going?”
“There's this wrap place I wanted to try, if that's okay with you.”
“Fine, fine.” Hermione said lightly. “Oh, Ron, you've got a bit of ink on your nose,” she added with a giggle, before licking her finger and rubbing it off. Then she headed towards the exit, leaving a wide eyed Ron in her wake.
“What just happened?” he growled angrily. “I'm so confused!”
His coworkers looked at him oddly, but Ron just gave them all annoyed looks and hurried after his wife. A few minutes later, they were at the restaurant, and Hermione was talking happily about the newest case she was handling. Ron was pretending to listen, but he was really just looking into her eyes, which were bright and shining. The corner of his mouth started to quirk up, just looking at her enthusiasm about her job. He stared at her right until the waitress came to their table.
“Hi! I'm Maria, and I'll be serving you today.”
Ron's eyes flicked to her, and then her did a double take. Long, golden blond hair... deep blue eyes... a thin, thin figure... this girl looked familiar. He stared at her until he remembered.
“Oh! You model for some muggle clothing line!”
“Muggle?” she frowned. “I... I don't think I know that word.”
“It's- er- a new term. Means wicked, cool, stuff like that.”
“Oh. Okay. Well, how muggle of you to recognize me! Thanks.”
Then she winked at him and asked him if he wanted anything.
“Er- yeah. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here.”
The waitress let out a loud, high pitched giggle.
“Oh, you're so funny! That was excellent.” she chirped.
“He's also an excellent lover.” Hermione said pointedly. She leaned over and covered Ron's hand with her own, a possessive look on her face. On it, a wedding and engagement ring glittered. Ron didn't think it was a coincidence that she chose this hand. The waitress's smile faltered while Ron tried not to burst into laughter. He hadn't seen jealous-Hermione in years.
“Er- right. So, what did you want?”
Ron opened his mouth to order, but Hermione spoke first.
“A BLT for both of us, please. Thanks, hun.”
The waitress left, a little red faced, and Hermione leaned back in her chair, looking satisfied.
“What was that?” Ron demanded.
“We're married!” Hermione said in answer.
“She was flirting!” Hermione whispered the last word like it was a dirty curse.
“Only I can flirt with you, because I am your wife!”
“Oh, Hermione. She didn't know.”
“Oh, right. Because a ginger man sitting with a pregnant brunet woman... who is she, his sister?”
“Could be. She had no way of telling.”
“And why's that, Ron?”
“Because you always forget to put your bloody wedding ring on after ickle auror training! I mean, honestly. No one knows you're married! As a matter of fact, I'm adding that to the terms of the bet. Wear your wedding ring 24/7, or else I swear I'll spank you.”
“Cool.” Ron grinned. Hermione rolled her eyes.
“No, I take it back. I'll find some form of punishment that you won't enjoy.”
Even though she was angry, Ron expected a full, perfect meal waiting for him when he got home. Instead, all he found was Hermione sitting in her study, reading a book. He knocked on the door softly, and Hermione looked up at him, her face relaxed and peaceful. Until she saw him. Her expression immediately became hard and almost snobbish.
“Hi, Ron,” she said, looking briefly at him before turning back to her book. Ron stood there, fixing his gaze on her. “What?” Hermione asked, looking up at him after a few minutes.
“I'm hungry.” Ron said simply, expecting the usual thing to happen where Hermione got up and apologized for not making him something to eat faster (well, that was his fantasy... she never actually did the apologizing part). What he did not expect was what actually ended up happening. She shrugged her shoulders and asked him,
“What're you going to do about it, then?”
Ron stared at her, shocked.
“Hermione! You always cook... I mean... what?”
“Remember this morning?” Hermione asked complacently.
“Yeah! This morning, you went absolutely barmy and started sobbing all over the place.”
“No. This morning, you agreed to do all the cooking and the cleaning under a few conditions. So, Ron, dinner's on you, and there's laundry to be done, too.”
Ron looked like he was just beginning to remember.
“Er- can I just forfeit?”
“Sure. I'll be drawing up the contracts tomorrow at work, then.” Hermione said, getting up and looking satisfied.
“No!” Ron cried hurriedly. “I forgot about that! I'll fix dinner.”
“Right then.” Hermione said, and she settled back in the read her book. Several minutes and swears later, Ron came to the study to fetch her. He looked extremely pissed off and was not wearing a shirt.
“Dinner's ready.” he said. Hermione sniffed.
“What burned?” she asked.
“Basically everything.” Ron said grumpily. “Including my shirt.” He ruffled his hair and gestured for her to follow him. Hermione stood and went to the kitchen to find... a salad.
“Oh.” she said. Ron expected her to immediately start lashing out, but instead she went to the fridge and got out her favorite dressing. “This looks delightful, Ron.”
“Everything I tried to make burned,” Ron reiterated. “This was all that was left.”
“It's so yummy!” Hermione exclaimed, making noises deep in her throat. Ron looked even more confused.
“What's your angle?” he blurted out.
“Angle?” Hermione asked lightly.
“It's a salad. No one enjoys a bloody salad that much.”
“I do! I love salad. Mmmmm.” said Hermione. When she was done, she kissed Ron on the cheek and thanked him.
“Have fun with those dishes, sweetheart.” she added as she left the room. Ron looked towards the burnt pots and pans and cursed as he took his wand out. This was going to take forever! He almost gave up then and there, but he wasn't willing to give Hermione the satisfaction. Instead, he scoured for an hour, until he was finally done. Then, he headed back to his and Hermione's room and flopped onto the bed.
“Ron,” Hermione sang, and he peeked one eye open to see his wife hovering over him in her most skimpy maternity nightgown. He sighed inwardly. She was still gorgeous, even though she did have swollen ankles. She had this glow to her, and she seemed happy even when she was angry.
“Hmm?” Ron asked. She kissed his nose and whispered,
“You haven't done the laundry yet.”
“Can I do it tomorrow?”
“No.” Hermione said, and she kissed him again, this time on the lips. They hadn't snogged like this in a while, and Ron soon found himself completely lost in his wife. He hadn't enjoyed himself with her like this since before she'd had the Healer draw up charts that would help them out. Hermione seemed more into it, too. Unlike before, when they had been trying to get pregnant, they weren't doing it for anything but pleasure. Which was why Ron was very surprised when Hermione pulled back from his lips and slipped her nightgown back on before anything much could happen.
“What?” Ron asked, looking unbelievably frustrated. “What now? Is it about that waitress earlier today? Because I swear, Hermione, I've never been in love with anyone other than you and I think you're ten times more beautiful then her, and even though she's thinner then you, that's okay, because you are carrying my child, and I'll never have that bond with some random waitress, and-”
“Ron,” Hermione said abruptly. “It's not about the waitress. I'd actually forgotten about her in the- er- heat of the moment.”
Ron turned the famous Weasley shade of red, causing Hermione to kiss him again.
“You need to do the laundry.” she whispered.
“Laundry?” Ron mumbled stupidly.
“Yeah.” Hermione murmured. “Sorry. Maybe another night.”
“Are you sure?” Ron asked. “It would be easier if we just-”
“Sorry,” Hermione said. “Laundry needs to be done. Unless, of course... but, no. That wouldn't be fair.”
“What?” Ron asked.
“Well,” Hermione said, choosing her words carefully. “I know we haven't really made love in a while... but the laundry needs to be done... however, if you give up the bet I could do it with a flick of my wand, whereas you'd have to do it the muggle way...”
“Okay! I forfeit! You win!” Ron said, and he leaned down and began snogging her. He could feel Hermione's smirk as he did so, but he was beyond caring. Afterwards, something occurred to Ron. He stopped stroking her hair long enough to glance down at her sleeping face. “Hermione?” he whispered. “Are you awake?”
“I am now.” Hermione said, a little sarcastically.
“Did you finally hit the horny stage?” Ron asked.
She woke up enough to peek an eye at him, taking in his face and considering it.
“I think I've just hit the point in our relationship where I feel comfortable using sex as a weapon.”
“But the fact that you want to... it means you've hit the horny part now, yeah?”
“Yes, I suppose I have.” Hermione said, looking thoughtful. “Goodnight, Ron.”
Then she snuggled as close to him as her stomach permitted and fell asleep. What she didn't witness was her husband looking out the window and at the starry night sky as though it was a gorgeous sight that he'd never seen. Finally, looking at the moon, he said,
“Thank you, merlin. Thank you so much.”
And then Ron Weasley promptly fell asleep.
A/N: Okay. I don't exactly love this chapter. Basically, my explaination for it is that Hermione is hormonal and Ron is going crazy with all of the pregnancy stuff, plus he grew up in an old fashioned household. I know they're kind of OOC, but I didn't want to rewrite the whole thing because I'm lazy and because I wrote this story like a year ago. So feel free to hate this chapter. Yeah. I'll make up for it in the next chapter- there's a really really cute flashback that I think you'll all love! ~writergirl8
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