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Chapter 10 : Flash from the Past
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He knocked on the wall and she looked up, her bushy hair flying around as she turned to look at him. Her face lit up, and she grinned at the sight she was seeing. Ron, just showered from his Friday full of ickle training, was carrying a tray with two iced teas up to her. He'd been doing this a lot lately. They'd sit on the couch, opposite sides because it was just too hot to cuddle, and talk about anything and everything baby. Sometimes, they'd go as far as to talk about its future, and what was going to happen to it when it became older. They predicted it's job, it's hair color, it's eye color, it's IQ, and even tossed around the idea of who it might marry, thinking about fellow Hogwarts students who were all having babies around the same time as they were.
“Thanks, I need a break.” Hermione said, patting the couch next to her. Ron hastened to go sit next to her and handed her an iced tea. She sighed and leaned back, then put her legs on his lap. He let her do so, after all, it was the least he could do for her. He wanted to express in as many ways he could his gratefulness for the fact that he would not be the one going through the pain of labor. They sat there for a while, then Ron leaned down and lifted Hermione's shirt up so that he could see her stomach. He placed his hand on it, and suddenly felt the baby kick. It wasn't the first time, but Ron still let out a delighted laugh at it. Their baby was kicking. It was like the child knew he was there and was saying hello. So Ron decided to say it back.
“Hello, baby.” he said.
“Hi.” Hermione replied. “Since when did you call me baby?”
Ron looked at her, his mouth open at the fact that Hermione Weasley, the brightest witch of her age, was having a daft moment, but he saw her eyes twinkling down at him and he realized she'd done it on purpose.
“Do... do you think I should talk to it?”
“Sure,” Hermione said, shrugging. “I play Beethoven to it while I'm at work. It can't hurt.”
“Okay.” Ron said, and then he sat there, staring at her stomach for quite some time. “Er- hi again. I'm daddy. I... er... like Quidditch. I don't like books. Your mummy likes books, but not Quidditch. We really don't understand each other on that front, but we still love each other.”
He could hear Hermione laughing at him, but he payed no mind to her. He was basically in his own little world, just him and the baby, and he'd be dammed if a laughing Hermione was going to ruin that for him.
“I hope you look just like your mum,” Ron said. “Because if you do... well, everything will be perfect. I hope you're a girl, and you look just like your mum, but you're a clone copy of me, personality wise. Except, no wait, you should be a smart copy of me.”
Instead of telling him that he was, indeed, smart, Hermione focused on another part of Ron's sentence.
“Of course, we don't care if you're a boy. That's quite alright with both of us. Isn't it, daddy?” Hermione said, shooting a glance at Ron.
“Oh. Er- sure. I mean, it'd be okay if you were a boy, but quite frankly I want a few of each. But, yeah, be a boy if you want to.”
“Oh, Ron,” Hermione sighed, shaking her head and smiling as she tugged her shirt back over her stomach.
“What do you think it will be?” Ron asked her.
“A boy.” Hermione answered immediately. “It's going to be a boy.”
“How do you know?” Ron inquired, frowning. Hermione looked at him skeptically.
“Ron, have you ever seen your family tree? Ginny was a bloody miracle.”
“But Bill and Fleur had a girl first try. And so did Percy, and so did George and Angelina.”
“That's exactly why I think it's going to be a boy.” Hermione said. “You can only get so lucky in one family.”
Ron looked at her for a second.
“Face it. You want a girl.”
“I don't!” Hermione argued. “Look, Ron, I've said it before. I knew I was in for a life of boys when I married you. I knew I was destined to be a football mum-”
“Oh, er, a Quidditch mum, then. Anyways, I knew I was destined to be a Quidditch mum, and I knew that I was going to be constantly yelling at them for getting too dirty and playing pranks... I've always wanted a girl, but I don't think the odds are with us. But it's okay. You're worth it. I'll love our children whatever gender they turn out to be, because they're ours.”
“I think you shouldn't give up hope just yet.” Ron said.
“It's a boy, Ron.” Hermione said. “I just know it's going to be a boy, and I really haven't got a problem with that. I think if it was going to be a girl I'd just know, anyways. My mum did. She knew I was going to be a girl, even before she found out from the Healer.”
“Well, did your mum ever take divination with Trelwany? Because that might have something to do with it.” Ron teased. Hermione smacked his arm with her book. “Um, ow!” Ron said, looking at her, aghast.
“Sorry.” Hermione shrugged, laughing. “I guess old habits die hard.”
“I'll let you get away with it. You're hormonal.”
“Uh hu.” Hermione said, and she leaned over to kiss him before settling into his arms, heat be dammed. After a while, Ron started to massage her back, and Hermione sighed gratefully before opening her book and going to read another chapter on breast feeding.
“Hermione,” Ron said in her ear. Hermione didn't take her eyes off of her book.
“Get your nose out of the bloody book.”
“Why?” Hermione asked, swiveling around to look at him.
“Because this is supposed to be... I dunno... sexy, romantic, and you're killing it by reading.”
“On the contrary, reading really turns me on.” Hermione told him, wiggling her eyebrows.
“Very funny,” Ron said, and Hermione chuckled. “I'm so tired of you reading so much about... about...” he leaned over and looked at the page she was reading. “Euurg!” Ron cried a few seconds later. “That... Hermione... what?” He looked sideways at her and took in her smug grin.
“It's a breast pump, Ron.”
“It looks... painful.”
“I wouldn't know, I haven't tried one. So I'll get back to you on that.”
“I wish you could just stop reading for a few hours. Days. Weeks. Months. Years.”
Hermione looked horrified at the thought.
“I would never!” she said. “Ron, these are educating me on how to raise our child, and what's going on in my body right now, and even helping me think of names for the baby! I can't not use them!”
“I dare you.” Ron said. “C'mon. We'll figure out a way to distract you, and you'll be fine without them.”
“I don't think I'm taking you up on that.” Hermione said looking dignified as she opened her book again. “Dare declined.”
Ron grabbed the book out of her hand and threw it across the room.
“Seriously?” Hermione cried, annoyed, but Ron knew he had won because Hermione hated getting up once she was comfortable and sitting down these days. “Fine, let's bloody talk! What do you want to bloody talk about?” she asked angrily.
“Er... how about baby names?” Ron said. “Girl names first.” Hermione seemed to like this subject, so she immediately jumped in.
“I was thinking something elegant and old fashioned, like Elladora!”
“Elladora? God, that's awful. I want something more interesting, like Raina. It sounds like Rain, we can call her Rain or Rainy for short, even!”
“I'm not naming our child something out of weather. But maybe Annalise! Isn't that pretty?”
“It's stupid, really. Maybe something with an i like Anni!”
“No. Every time I talk to her, I'll want to start singing. What about Gemmalyn?”
“That's absolutely hideous... how about Wetta?”
“Are you serious?”
“Yeah. You know, I thought I'd continue with the rain theme. And, let's face it, Wetta's a triple threat. It sounds like someone saying 'wetter' with an accent, and it it's rainsh, and it sounds like Gretta! Plus it's totally original.”
“There's absolutely no way. I will die before you give my child the name of Wetta. I'd rather die, really. The shame of having a little girl named Wetta!”
“Fine, then. Let's switch to boy names.”
“Sounds too much like Hermione.”
“What? No. Easy, simple does it, Hermione.”
“No more Greek Gods, Hermione!”
“Well we can't use Roman Gods!” Hermione replied indignantly. “Our boy will be a planet then, and that'll just be embarrassing.”
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” Hermione shouted. “Those names are crap!”
“Your names are crap!” Ron said angrily. “Mine are awesome. Easy, simple, nice. Spell-able.”
“Oh, don't even go there!” Hermione retorted.
“Okay, stop!” Ron said, throwing a hand up. “Let's... let's do something else. Do you want to...?”
“Read a book? Yes.” Hermione said, starting to get up. Ron trapped her to him quite easily.
“How about go shopping for the nursery?”
“No, not today.” Hermione told him.
“Mione, we only have three months.”
“Bloody hell!” she was up in a surprisingly fast time for someone so pregnant, and after a few minutes of waddling down the stairs, putting make up on, and trying to get her hair right, Hermione joined Ron at the door to their house. They opened the door and got into the car (Hermione driving, of course) they had bought for Hermione's pregnancy and the raising of their children. Since babies shouldn't apparate or floo, they had decided a car was the best way to handle the situation, and after month six of a pregnancy a witch couldn't do either of those things, anyway. They made their way down Godric's Hollow, waving to their neighbors as they drove. Ron and Hermione reached the rode that led to Harry and Ginny's, but didn't turn down it, for once. Finally, they reached the store they were using for most of their baby needs and walked in. Inside was, of course, baby paradise. Hermione smiled delightedly as she walked through the store, looking at all the things they could use for their baby.
“Oh, look!” Hermione squealed. “That looks just like the cradle we had for Nancy and...”
But she suddenly stopped short, realizing something.
“Ron, I've only just remembered! We have a cradle and toys and clothes and everything down in the basement. We can just bring all that up, we don't need to buy anything new!”
“From what?” Ron asked, confused.
“The Perfect Match,” Hermione hissed, and both winced at the name of the game show.
“Right,” Ron said. “There's just one hitch.”
“What's that?” Hermione asked.
“Nancy and Cam are in those boxes, and I don't... I don't want to see them.”
Hermione looked at him for a moment. Then she went over to him and put her arms around him, rubbing a circle around his cheek with her thumb as she pressed her head against his chest.
“Ron,” Hermione said quietly, “We're having our own babies now. They don't matter anymore. They aren't our only chance. We're married, and we're having a baby, and neither of us are sad or lonely or desperate or scared. It's going to be different. If anything, we should think fondly of them now, instead of sadly. They brought us together so much. I think, without them, we might not have ended up together by the end of the show.”
Ron looked at her for a few seconds, but then nodded.
“Okay. But you need to come to the basement with me!” he warned. Hermione placed her hand delicately on her heart.
“Me? In my delicate condition? I couldn't.” she said, widening her eyes.
“Hermione, four words for you.”
“It's leviooooosa, not leviosaaaa!”
“Point taken.” Hermione said, and she took Ron's hand and led him out of the store. They drove back to the house, parked the car, and went straight to the basement. Hermione and Ron both lit their wands with Lumos before remembering that they had lights. Hermione coughed and directed her wand towards the switches, feeling a little embarrassed. But she was so nervous. She hadn't seen Nancy and Cam in forever, and now that she was about to be a mother there was something else entirely new that was making her afraid of looking at them. She and Ron walked through the dark room until they found the boxes labeled 'Baby'. Then, they both took deep breaths before levitating the boxes with their wands and carrying them up. They levitated the boxes over two flights of stairs before they put them down in the baby's room, which Ron had already decorated with a soft yellow Babbity Rabbity wallpaper.
“Okay. Ready?” Hermione asked.
“Ready.” Ron confirmed. And at the same time, they both opened the boxes. Nancy and Cam looked exactly like Hermione and Ron remembered, besides the fact that they were not at all moving.
“I wonder if our baby will look like them,” Hermione said in a hushed voice, picking up Cam and placing him on her baby bump as if that could make her child look just a little bit like the boy that she had coveted as the perfect baby.
“Maybe.” Ron said in reply, lifting Nancy out of the box and staring at her as if he expected her to start crying any second. Hermione took in a shaky breath and stood up, placing Cam gently back in his box.
“Alright, then. Let's get started.”
They took everything out of the boxes besides the babies themselves: the crib, the shelves, the clothes, the toys. All it did was a few wand points and Hermione and Ron had set up everything, making them stand fully and perfectly. They spent a few good hours playing around with the setup until they decided on the perfect nursery. It really was beautiful. It was just like Nancy and Cam's, minus the second crib, and Hermione knew that it would have even more books and toys then Nancy and Cam did. By the time they finished, it was dark. Hermione lit a lamp they had just plugged in and smiled as it bathed the room in a warm glow. She went over to sit in the comfortable rocking chair, sighing contently to herself.
“This is perfect. Once we figure out the gender, we can make it a little more towards that... and when the baby comes we can put pictures all around of it with different people.”
“Good idea.” Ron said. His eyes were circulating the room in a frenzy, their usual twinkle muted.
“What is it?” Hermione asked.
“It's just... this is happening.”
“Most definitely.” Hermione told him.
“It's really happening.”
“Ron-” Hermione said, but he had turned around a ran out of the room. Somewhere in the house, Hermione heard a door slam, but she wasn't sure which one.
She expected Ron to come back in a few hours, but he wasn't appearing, and it had been two days. He'd run off Friday evening, and it was Sunday night. Hermione had spent the whole time she couldn't find him cleaning around the house and rearranging the nursery just a little bit, trying to think about even the littlest things. On Saturday afternoon she checked all the rooms in the house, but she still couldn't find Ron. She'd even gone up to her attic book room to see if he was there, but from what she saw of it she wasn't. All in all, Hermione was beginning to despair a little bit. Had Ron done the worst and actually left her because he was in shock? She was almost sure he was gone for good. That is, until she heard a loud crash from upstairs. Hermione took the stairs two at a time as she struggled to reach her attic. She threw open the door and looked at the scene before her with wide eyes. Ron was standing there, wearing the same clothes he'd been in on Friday, throwing books around like they weren't beautiful, amazing... oh, merlin, she had to stop him.
“Ron! RON!” Hermione yelled, and he turned around to look at her. She hadn't seen him so unshaved in a while, and it never failed to surprise her when she saw the makings of a ginger beard on Ron's face. Sometimes, she still thought of him as the third year boy that kept blaming her cat for trying to eat his rat. “Are you alright? What's wrong? Where have you been?”
“Here. All this time,” Ron said grimly. “Behind a bookshelf so you wouldn't find me. And, no, I'm not alright, Hermione. I'm so unprepared for this. I thought I was ready, you know? I thought everything was going to be okay, because I've grown up around kids. But they weren't mine! I didn't go home with them and live with them 24/7. We're twenty six, Hermione. This is just insane for us to be doing.”
“Oh, Ron,” she said, and she moved towards him and sat down on the couch. Ron sat down on the floor and he put his head in her lap so that she could stroke his hair. “We're going to be fine, sweetheart. We will, I swear. Lots of people do this at twenty six, and not all of them are as strong as we are.”
The hand that wasn't stroking his hair moved down to gently trace his jawline, to trace the scar that he had gotten during the final battle and had hated so much.
“You said to me when you were trying to convince me to have a baby, 'Hermione, how prepared can you really be for something like this?' Ron, you know that's true. How prepared can you be?”
Hermione felt something wet on her jeans and looked down. She didn't know why, but he was crying. Perhaps it was because he was scared, perhaps it because he'd gotten no sleep, perhaps it was just the whole emotion of the situation... Hermione didn't know, but she didn't care. She could talk him through all of it.
“You saw how awful it was when Ginny was giving birth. We're going to have to do that, Mione. You're going to have to do that. You'll be in pain, and it'll be all my fault.”
“I love you. And it's our baby. And that's all that matters. How long have we wanted each other, Ron? Since we were fourteen? Fifteen? It's been so long... we deserve this! We deserve to have trivial little problems and late night arguments about who has to get up and feed the baby. After all we've done to be together, this baby is going to be everything. This is the product of suffering through the jealousy of Krum and Lavender, and getting through you leaving me and Harry during the Hunt, and doing that stupid game show, and surviving the final battle, all of which we did together. Even if we fail miserably, which we won't, it'll be ours, and we'll never be able do this with anybody else and have it mean so much.”
“I'm so scared. What if I fail? What if something happens to it? What if Draco Malfoy's a better father then I am?”
Hermione laughed shakily, pressed her lips together, and let a tear slip down her face. In the darkness, Ron wouldn't have known, but it landed on his nose, so comfortably placed in her lap.
“First of all, Draco Malfoy could never be a better father then you,” she told him. “He's a ferrity prat. And second of all... whatever happens, Ron, we're in this together. What you go through, I go through. We're going to watch our child follow the same path as we do: Hogwarts, and love, and broken hearts and failed tests-”
“Failed tests? That's what you're most worried about?”
“Oh, shut up.”
Ron straightened up and kissed the salty tears off of Hermione's face.
“Are you better now?” she whispered.
“No. Still scared.”
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