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Chapter 9 : The History of "Mione"
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“What I don't understand,” Rose said as she took a sip of her drink, “Was how he ended up calling you Mione, and you went as far as to marry him! I mean, you always hated Mione, you know? You never let me call you a nickname, or your mum, or your dad, or-”
“Yeah, I get it.” Hermione said, laughing and throwing a pillow at Rose. The four of them, Hermione, Ginny, Luna and Rose, were sitting in Hermione's bedroom, talking. Ron had been banned to the Burrow for some man to man time with Mr. Weasley and Harry and his other brothers so that Hermione could have some girl time, and she was quite grateful. While she loved Ron more than life itself, sometimes it drove her crazy to have only him for company for months at a time, and she'd been terribly reclusive since she'd found out she was pregnant. She hadn't seen any of her best friends in a while, so when they'd all come to her house demanding she let them in, Hermione had been extremely happy about it.
“We bring booty!” Luna had said happily. “Pickles and ice cream, which, as well as being yummy to a pregnant woman, wards off nargles.”
“And romantic movies!” Ginny added, holding up her bag.
“Aaaand nail polish,” Rose said, grinning as she took a color out to show Hermione.
“And alcohol free strawberry daiquiris!” the three said together.
So here they were. Talking, laughing, and nail painting just like a group of teenagers, not a bunch of women who were either engaged or married and in various stages of motherhood.
“Actually, it started in third year.”
“Third?” Ginny frowned.
“Yeah... but he really only called me Mione in private most of our lives.”
“How did it happen? And, bloody hell, how did you come to accept it as your nickname from him?”
“Basically, at that moment in time, I would have let him call me Dung Sack.”
“Shut up!” Rose laughed. “No, seriously. Tell the story!”
“Okay.” Hermione said, grinning mischievously. “But when I'm done, none of you can call me Mione. It's a Ron-only name, got it?”
“Got it.” They all chorused.
Hermione looked around the classroom, her eyes swiveling back and forth at her nervous classmates. She wondered if she got the same look on her face when she was about to take an exam as they did. Come to think of it, her exam face was probably worse. She was usually a wreck before an exam, and Harry and Ron always tried to calm her down, but they never succeeded. Perhaps the fact that she had a crush on Ron made this even worse... maybe, whenever he payed that much attention to her before an exam, she started to get butterflies for an entirely different reason then the test.
No, probably not. Hermione Jean Granger was not likely to get distracted by anything or anyone before a test. Not even Ronald Weasley.
At the thought of him, Hermione glanced over at the line of students, all in pairs. Ron and Harry were up next. Hermione had gone first with Hannah Abbott, and both had preformed the charm rather successfully. Now, they were seated in chairs next to each other, watching their classmates worry and fret over how well they knew how to do a cheering charm. Hermione loved the feeling she got when a test of some kind was over and she knew she nailed it. Of course, she wouldn't relax until she got the actual results back. But for now, she knew that there was nothing else she could really do about her grade, so why not enjoy the 'People Watching' this test seemed to supply?
“Potter, Weasley.” Flitwick squeaked, and Hermione's two boys stepped forward, both looking apprehensive. “Potter first, please.”
Harry cleared his throat several times before Ron gave him a look that clearly said he needed to get on with it. So Harry said the charm with as much enthusiasm as he could, his wand pointed at Ron's heart. Everything seemed fine until Ron burst out into hysterical giggles, causing everyone in the class to startle and turn towards him. Flitwick asked him to be quiet, but Ron couldn't.
“Mr. Potter, you seem to have overcasted the charm.”
“No, really?” Malfoy muttered under his breath. Hermione and Harry glared at him. Ron laughed in his direction.
“Ms. Granger, would you mind taking Ron to an empty classroom until he is ready to perform the charm?”
Hermione nodded and stood up, feeling slightly smug that she had been assigned such a wonderful task. Seeing Ron like this meant infinite blackmail later, didn’t it? Plus quality time, of course. She grabbed Ron's arm and led him out of the room, trying to keep her face straight as he giggled happily.
“Hermione Granger, skipping class!” Ron chortled. “Baaaad Hermione!”
“I'm not being bad, Ron.” Hermione said, looking at him in a rather scolding manner. “I'm directly following orders. Here.”
She knocked on a classroom door, got no answer, and stuck her head in. No one was in there, so she tugged Ron in and pulled the door closed behind her. Ron looked around.
“Why are we in an empty classroom, Mione?”
She turned to him, her eyebrows raised. Mione? No one had ever called her that before. It was a little ridiculous.
“Don't call me Mione.” she said shortly, turning to face Ron. “It's awful.”
“Mione. Mione, Mione, Mione.” Ron said, skipping around in a circle.
“God, you're immature.” Hermione sighed, sitting down on the teacher's desk and crossing her arms. “I don't think this is the charm, I think you just always act like this.”
“Whatever you say. Mione.”
She opened her mouth to reprimand him, but suddenly closed it. Mione. Mi-onee. My own. It sounded so romantic to her fourteen year old ears, Hermione shrugged her shoulders and said,
“Fine. Call me whatever you want.”
She briefly considered calling him Ronniekinz just then, but decided not to fight fire with fire. It really wasn't worth it. Ron walked over to her and sat next to her on the desk. Hermione sat up extremely stiffly as he sat down. He was so, so close to her. Their arms were brushing together, and she could count every freckle on his face.
“You know,” Ron said, “This is the first time I've been alone with a girl in an empty classroom.”
“Oh.” Hermione said, not exactly sure where to go with this. “That's... nice.”
“Do you know what people usually do in empty classrooms, Mione?” Ron whispered. Hermione coughed.
“I can guess.” she said quietly. Ron brushed her hair back and leaned in close to her ear as if about to tell her a secret.
“They snog.” he whispered. Then he burst out into hysterical giggles and jumped off of the desk.
“I think this charm is actually strengthening.” Hermione moaned to herself, while Ron skipped around in a circle screaming 'SNOG!' at the top of his voice. “Ron, shut up, I can't hear myself think!”
He turned to her like a wounded puppy, looking absolutely desolate that she had reprimanded him.
His look was so sweet Hermione's knees almost melted, and she swallowed.
“It's okay.” she whispered. Ron laughed happily and went over to the desk to sit next to her again.
“Why're you so obsessed with books, Mione?” he asked.
“I... I just am.” Hermione told him.
“No.” Ron shook his head. “There has to be something more. There has to.”
“Why're you so obsessed with Quidditch?” Hermione counted.
Hermione laughed warmly.
“You tricked me! Now you owe me one.”
“I tell you what, Ron. I'll tell you why I'm so obsessed one day when I think you deserve to know.”
And when I think there might be absolutely no chance of you ever fancying me, anyway, so my obsession won't be ruining it.
“Deal.” Ron said happily. “I love you, you know.”
“What?” Hermione whirled around and looked at him, her startled brown eyes meeting his blue ones.
“Not like that!” Ron said, giggling. “Like friend, you know? I love you... like a friend. Do you love me?”
“I don't know.” Hermione said.
“Well... do you love Harry?”
She was silent.
“Yes, I do love Harry. Like a brother.”
“Well... why don't you love me like a brother?”
“I ask myself that question every day. My life would be so much easier if I did.”
Ron stared at her for a few seconds. After a while, he sighed.
“I don't get it.”
“You might someday. Probably not.”
“Okay.” Ron said. Then he paused. “Maybe I don't love you like a friend.”
Hermione couldn't meet his eyes, so she concentrated on his brilliant red hair.
“I mean, you're more than that. You're one of my best friends. We've spent every single day together for three years. That's 1095 days, you know.”
“You're good at math, Ron.” Hermione said, because she couldn't say anything else.
“But more than a friend is a sister...” Ron continued as though she hadn't interrupted him. “And I really don't need another sister. I love Ginny, and all, but she's a sibling, and I have lots of those. Harry's my brother, too, I guess.”
Hermione had to wonder if Ron would be saying any of these things if he had been in his right state of mind.
“So... where does that put you?” Ron asked, more to himself then to her. “Not friend, not sister...”
Girlfriend. Crush. Date. Significant other. Hermione thought.
“Dunno. I'll be...” she took in a deep breath. “I'll be whatever you want me to be, Ron.”
“Okay.” Ron said, and then he turned towards the window and started humming the school song. Hermione waited and waited, but Ron didn't say anything.
“Er- Ron. Did you decide yet? What am I?” Hermione asked. Instead of answering, Ron said,
“Usually in empty classrooms people snog.”
Hermione blushed scarlet, thinking about snogging Ron in this very empty classroom. But her thoughts were interrupted when he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. It was so close to her mouth the corner of his lips brushed against hers. Hermione felt a jolt of electricity at this, but then Ron pulled away and walked out of the room, still humming the school song.
“And thus came the birth of my favorite nickname.” Hermione announced.
“Wow,” Rose said, sighing. “So sweet! You two really were meant to be.”
“I'd like to think so, seeing as we got married, and if we weren’t meant to be then there would be real problem here,” Hermione laughed, hugging the pillow she was holding tighter against her chest.
“Did you ever talk about it again after that?” Luna asked mildly. Hermione shook her head no.
“We were fourteen, you know? What third year wants to talk about that? I know he was embarrassed. Once the charm wore off and he was back to himself, he wouldn't look me in the eye for days.”
“You know, it kind of parallels what he did to you during The Perfect Match,” Ginny mused.
“Yes, well, my humiliation was public, his was in an empty classroom.”
Ginny laughed. She laughed hard. Then suddenly, she let out a gasp.
“What's wrong?” Rose asked, startled.
“Nothing,” Ginny said, a strange look crossing her face. “I must have gotten a cramp from laughing or something. More daiquiri?” she inquired brightly. They all nodded and gave Ginny their glasses.
“Ginny, you're nine months pregnant. Do you think maybe...?” Hermione said.
“No, no, no. I'll be fine, Hermione, really.” she said, and then she left the room and traipsed downstairs over to the kitchen. A few minutes later, the girls heard a shriek. They flew down the stairs as fast as they could to get to Ginny's aid. She was staring, horrified, at a puddle on the floor.
“Did you spill something?” Luna asked, confused.
“My water broke.” Ginny said weakly.
“How early are you?” Rose asked, shocked.
“Well... not early, exactly. Today's my due date, but...”
“GINNY!” the three of them screamed.
“What? What!” Ginny asked in a horrified voice. “Who ever actually has their baby on their due date? No one! I thought I was just going to be late!”
“Oh, what do we do, what do we do?” Hermione asked, panicking.
“Luna, you bring Ginny to St. Mungo's. I can't go, I'm not a witch, so I won't be able to get in. Hermione, you write letters to all the Weasleys. You know them, it should be easy for you. Got it?”
They all nodded, dumbstruck at how calm Rose was being.
“Well then... GO!” Rose yelled.
“RON! RON!” Hermione cried, rushing into the Burrow as fast as she could. Since she couldn't apparate, she had to drive, and she'd never driven so fast in her life. “RON!”
He came running down the stairs, his eyes wild with fear, and as soon as he saw her he ran over to her and grabbed her shoulders.
“HERMIONE! WHAT'S WRONG? WHAT HAPPENED? ARE YOU OKAY? DID YOU HAVE THE BABY?”
Hermione stopped flipping out long enough to give her husband a look of disdain.
“Ron, if I'd had the baby, I wouldn't be up and running like this, and my stomach wouldn't be as big. You would definitely be able to tell.”
Harry chortled behind Ron, rummaging through the fridge for a drink. Ron stuck his tongue out at his best friend as Harry took a drink, and then turned back to Hermione.
“Well, what is it, then?”
“Ginny's gone into labor.”
Harry instantly spat out his pumpkin juice and swore loudly.
“Ginny. Has gone. Into labor.” Ron said slowly, rolling his eyes. “Honestly, Harry, this is what I was just saying, you have to listen-”
But Harry was gone, bolting out the door, and with a crack they heard him apparate away.
“Er- that went well?” Ron said, looking out the window.
“He's probably going to St. Mungo's. Where's James?”
“James?” Ron said blankly. “Oh, right. Upstairs, napping, I think.”
Hermione pointed to the stairs.
“Go get him.”
“Why? Can't you?” Ron asked.
“No! I'm pregnant, and I just ran all that way! Go, Ronald!”
The sound of Hermione saying his full name seemed to make Ron understand the seriousness of the situation, and he immediately bolted for the stairs. Satisfied, Hermione sat down at the wooden table she knew so well and started writing out a letter telling everyone what was going on. Then, using a copying spell, she duplicated the note and hunted around the house until she found an owl. She wasn't even sure whose it was, but by now there were so many children, spouses, and grandchildren it was extremely hard to tell. Hermione gave the owl all of the letters and told him to find the immediate family. She bit her lip and hoped it was a good delivery bird, but she supposed she'd be finding out in a bit anyways.
Ron emerged from upstairs with James, and they set off for St. Mungo's in the car, Hermione driving as fast as she could and Ron hanging onto the seat in honest fear for his life.
“I like it better when you're a careful driver.” he announced as Hermione narrowly escaped a red light. “I mean, merlin knows you need to let loose, but when it comes to driving, stick to your normal, anal ways, won't you, love?”
Hermione considered this for a few moments.
“I... I'm not sure whether I should be offended at the dis or proud of you for finally accepting that some things are better done carefully,” she admitted, slamming her foot on the gas.
“This can not be good for someone so pregnant.” Ron said, glancing at her belly.
“It's fine,” Hermione said, hitting her foot against the gas and causing the car to lurch forward. They reached St. Mungo's in good time, though, and were up in Ginny's ward soon enough. They were the last of the Weasleys to get there, but neither of them minded, as they knew it was going to be a long wait. Hermione and Ron sat themselves onto one of the couches, and she leaned her head against his shoulder.
“Hey, remember what happened the last time we were at St. Mungo's?” Ron whispered in her ear. Hermione smiled.
“Yeah. We snogged in a closet because we were remembering what happened the time before that time.” she said.
“We should do that again.” Ron whispered enthusiastically.
Hermione turned around to look at him, her eyes full of adoration.
“Alright. If we get bored, I promise the option is up for grabs.” she said quietly.
“Brilliant.” Ron hissed victoriously.
A sudden wail interrupted their muttering, and the whole family turned towards the room where Ginny was about to give birth.
“Uhhhrrrrggg!” she screamed, and everyone winced. Ron glanced over at Hermione and saw that her face was especially pale.
“Hermione?” he said questioningly, but she shook her head and didn't say anything. After a while, Ron saw her eyes flit down to her stomach, and he suddenly understood. In three months, this was going to be them. Harry and Ginny would probably be out here, and Ron and Hermione would be in there, going through the awful things the other couple was undertaking in that room.
“C'mon. It can't be that bad,” Ron said, leaning down to Hermione's ear so that no one would hear him. “I mean, if it was, my mum wouldn't have done it seven times, right?”
Hermione chose not to say anything. She instead turned to the door, where reporters were standing outside of, trying to figure out a way to get into the waiting room outside the place where Harry Potter's second child was being born.
“It's going to be just like this,” she said softly. “I'm going to be doing this the exact same thing.”
“Oh, not the exact same thing,” Ron said in a light voice. “I'm sure the reporters won't care that two of the people in the golden trio mated, as long as one of them isn't Harry. We'll be press-less, in any case.”
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