Chapter 11 : Family
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With that, she fell back into the chair, angry tears streaming down her face. Ron glanced at his mother and sister, both of whom shrugged at him guiltily. They couldn't do anything to improve his wife's temperament. Molly stood up.
“Hermione, would you like me to fetch you a glass of water?”
“Yes, please,” Hermione said. Ginny stood up, too.
“I'll be right back. I'm going to- er- check something. Coming, Ron?”
“Do I need to?”
“Yes. Yes, you do.”
“Okay.” Ron said, and throwing Hermione a look that suggested he wasn't too sure whether he should be leaving her side or not, Ron left the room. As soon as he exited, he rounded on Ginny.
Ginny threw her hands up.
“I just wanted to see how you were faring. But if you don't want my sympathy, I'll just be on my merry way, and-”
“No, I do.” Ron said quickly, running a hand through his ginger hair. “I just... want this to end. It's been way too long, and the fact that this is August doesn't really help at all.”
“For better or worse, Ron,” Ginny said softly. “This is the worse, believe me. But I promise it'll get better. As soon as you see that baby... oh my god. You'll fall in love in a totally different way.”
“I'll take your word for it,” Ron said, smiling happily for the first time in a while. “I wish I had something to relieve my stress, but I can't risk leaving the house long enough to play Quidditch or anything. I don't want to go, and I don't think Hermione wants me to, either, although she hasn't said anything. But if she did I'd agree with her. She's due to pop any second.”
“You know we'd get you immediately if anything was about to happen,” Ginny said, nudging him with her foot.
“Yeah, but what if Hermione was alone? She can't apparate to the hospital, she needs to be driven, so...”
“Come to think of it, Ron, how are you going to go about that?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, most witches and wizards use pregnancy brooms. But Hermione doesn't like heights, and you haven't got a clue how to drive.”
“Right. That's why her mum came to stay with us a few weeks ago, right before Hermione's due date. But she had to go, and now we're caught between a rock and a hard place over here. It doesn't really help that Hermione hexed the car when she was trying to teach me how to drive, and we can't figure out how to fix it.”
“You mean she tried to help you by charming it?”
“No, I mean she was so frustrated she took her anger out on the car instead of me. Which I greatly appreciate, seeing the state the car's in now.”
Ginny winced sympathetically.
“You're so good at this, though.” she said finally.
“What do you mean?” Ron asked incredulously. “I'm not! Not at all.”
“Ron, do you honestly think most men would stay by their wives sides without any poking or prodding from the woman? You were a mess at getting the girl, in fact, it was a bit of a catastrophe, but once you figured out who the girl was and married her, you were just perfect. You know her so well that you can practically read her mind, and you're simply doting to her.”
“Whenever I start to resent her,” Ron said quietly, “I just have to think of her screams as she was tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange. I just have to think about the game show, and how hard we worked to get here, and how difficult it was when we weren't a couple. Then I just stop thinking about how pissed off I am at her and count my blessings that she chose me.”
“God, you're making me miss Harry.” she leaned over and peered into the living room, where Hermione was talking to Mrs. Weasley. “Hey, Ron. You say you miss flying, and you can't go because you're worried about Hermione going into labor without anyone there. But what if you got to play Quidditch and everyone was there?”
“What do you mean?” Ron asked curiously.
“I mean I think it's time for a Weasley-Potter Quidditch event.”
“Feeling better, dear?” Mrs. Weasley asked as she handed Hermione her glass of water.
“Not really,” Hermione sighed, taking a sip. “Thanks,” she added as an afterthought.
“I understand,” Mrs. Weasley sighed. “Imagine doing this with twins.”
“I hope I never have to,” Hermione admitted. “I don't think I could stand it.”
“The first time was awful for me, though. I was so young, much younger then you and Ron, mind, and Arthur and I were very scared.”
Hermione looked at the woman who was her mother-in-law, respect written all over her face. Mrs. Weasley was a woman to idolize, Hermione knew. She'd managed to grow the biggest and most wonderful family, full of lovable children and lots of laughter. She'd gotten through so many awful times with this family, and they were still as whole as physically possible, Fred notwithstanding. Mrs. Weasley was an excellent cook, an excellent mother, and an excellent wife. When Hermione had been searching for things to do to help the House Elves, she had decided on knitting because Mrs. Weasley did it. Hermione had thought that, maybe if she did something a little like Ron's mum, the boy might notice her as girlfriend material. And it did happen, but, at the time, Hermione was not aware of it. Neither was Ron, really, for that matter.
“It must have been hard,” Hermione said quietly. “Especially since there was a war going on.”
Mrs. Weasley nodded.
“But you and Ron were more active in the war then any of us were, bar Harry, of course. My little Ron... I never knew. Everyone thought he would never be able to measure up to his brothers, that even if he did what they did, it wouldn't be interesting because they'd already done it. But leave it to Ron to find the one thing that his brothers haven't done. And he found you,” Mrs. Weasley added as an afterthought. Hermione couldn't help blushing happily. “It was so interesting watching the two of you fall in love... I always thought it would be either Harry or Ron, you know. But I'm so glad you picked Ron.”
“It was never any other way,” Hermione said loudly. She was keen to make that clear to everyone. It had always been Ron.
“You make my son so happy. And just watching you over the years... the little hints, the foreshadowing... I just knew. I think Arthur's told you this, but you act so much like we did when we were younger. Except it took us a lot less time to end up married and together. That, I didn't see coming. I thought you'd be together by the end of fifth year, but, alas, you made me wait another two years.”
“I made you wait,” Hermione scoffed, laughing. “He made me wait, and it wasn't more nerve wrecking for anyone. I was the one who initiated the bloody first kiss!”
Mrs. Weasley grinned.
“Well, dear, you know I don't like to play favorites, but...” she leaned over. “If I had to pick a daughter-in-law to be my favorite, you'd be the one.”
Just then, Ginny and Ron came bursting into the room, wearing identical looks of excitement that caused their relation to each other to be more prominent then usual. Both expressions slid off of their faces when they saw the shocked and teary look on Hermione's face. Ron immediately went over to her side to make sure she was alright, and Ginny turned to her mother and mouthed, what did you do? Mrs. Weasley shrugged, but her eyes were twinkling mischievously.
“So, what's with the happy face?” she asked her daughter as Hermione assured Ron- in a loud, over exaggerated voice- that she wasn't going to stop breathing and the baby was fine. These days, it was taking her roughly ten minutes to explain to Ron that she was just emotional whenever she started to cry, so Ginny plowed ahead on her own.
“We've decided to have a Weasley-Potter Quidditch Game. Everyone's going to come. It'll be really fun!”
“When?” Mrs. Weasley asked.
“Today!” Ginny said, skipping out of the room. “I'm flooing everyone now.”
“You have to get Percy's gang!” Ron called after her, abandoning Hermione temporarily for the excitement of Quidditch. “If you don't get them, we can't do it. Not enough players.”
“Got it!” Ginny called, and they heard the door slam shut.
An hour later, due to a good combination of excitement, sports adoration, and threatening on Ginny's part, the whole family had turned up in the muggle field behind the burrow. The little ones were needed to play, so the Quidditch hoops were lowered and the rules changed to ensure that the adults didn't outplay the kids too much. Everyone had to fly low, with the exception of the seekers, who just had to follow the snitch. This was very well, anyways, because the muggles could easily spot them if they flew too high.
“SHUT UP, EVERYONE!” Ginny called, getting on top of a table. Everyone was silent. “Okay, here's the list. There are two seekers, me and Harry,” Everyone started groaning at once. “Fine,” Ginny said, starting to leap off of the table. “We won't play.”
There was a general outcry of annoyance as she said this; apparently, more plans had been canceled then Ron could count on his fingers for this game. Ginny, looking very smug, clambered back onto the table.
“There we go,” she said. “Now, as I was saying, Harry and I are seekers. On Harry's team, we have Ron as keeper, Audrey, Lucy, and Angelina as chasers, and George and Percy as beaters-”
Percy let out an indignant cry.
“Why am I a beater? I've never been a beater before!”
“Perce, you have so many issues,” George said, turning to him, “But no way to express your anger. Just imagine that the bludger is the minister for magic's head. Then, you can take him out and the position's free for you to take over.”
Percy turned bright red, but agreed to try it out.
“Right, then,” Ginny said. “On my team, we have Charlie and Bill as beaters-”
“But I'm always seeker!” Charlie growled.
“My game, my rules,” Ginny told him. “Anyway, they're beaters. Teddy's keeper, and Fleur, Dom, and Victoire are chasers.”
“We have this in the bag,” Ron muttered to Harry, who grinned at him.
“And, don't forget, about dad!” Harry called to his wife.
“Oh, right. Dad's reffing. So let's have a nice clean game, hmmm?”
Ron walked over to Hermione and Mrs. Weasley, who were sitting in cushioned chairs on the edge of the field with all of the children who were too young to play Quidditch. Hermione had her hands resting on her belly, and she looked peaceful for the first time in the last two weeks. Ron thought he knew why. She had a lot to be happy about, with her family all around her, a fan blowing her her hair back and keeping her cool, and a chair right next to the table with the food Mrs. Weasley had made and the fresh lemonade Fleur had brought. Ron knelt in front of her and stretched so that he could kiss her.
“How're you doing?” he asked, pulling back when he remembered that his mum was there. Unfortunately, Hermione could make him forget very easily that he had any reason at all to stop kissing her.
“I'm good,” Hermione said, smiling serenely at him. “I'm happy Ginny thought of this. You've seemed so cooped up lately, and I was starting to feel really bad.”
“Starting?” Ron asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Okay, I've been feeling bad for a while. I just couldn't let you think I was turning into a softie.”
“Of course not,” Ron grinned. He had that look on his face that he got whenever he wanted to kiss her, so Hermione closed the distance for him. Then she pulled back and ran her fingers through his hair once before clapping her hands together and telling him to go have fun. The next hour was one of the best that any Weasleys had ever had as a family. Mr. Weasley enjoyed himself thoroughly, in spite of the fact that he was constantly being forced to pause the game since many of his sons kept fouling. The Weasleys were extremely competitive, and Hermione kept comparing and contrasting the situation to the Quidditch World Cup. Once, Harry nearly knocked Ginny off of her broom as they were going for the snitch, causing her to yell at him for about ten minutes while the family was forced to sit there and watch. Mrs. Weasley turned to Hermione, smiling.
“If we ever do this again, we're putting those two on the same side. A competition like this could break up a marriage, and we can't have that.”
“Figures. Two children, six threatening older brothers, near death, torture, and a war stands in their way, but the thing that really pulls them apart is a Quidditch game.”
Mr. Weasley glanced over at the two chortling witches, grinning himself.
“I think maybe we'd better end this before one team wins- or loses. This could just be toxic for their married life. Maybe George has a decoy detonator on him!”
“Oh, Arthur, you know fully well he doesn't. Remember what happened the last time he flew with one of those in his pocket?” Mrs. Weasley asked. The three glanced at each other, then started laughing again. Hermione couldn't remember the last time she laughed so hard. Oh, no, she could. She and Ron had been lying in bed talking the night before her due date. They'd been so nervous, thinking that it was coming fast. They'd had no idea how long it would take, then, and they'd been so excited. Hermione remembered laughing until her stomach ached at some joke Ron told, and then falling asleep with him spooning her, because he couldn't cradle her in his arms like he used to, on account of her large stomach.
A sudden roar startled Hermione from her thoughts, and she looked around to see nearly every Weasley on the field screaming at each other. Teddy and Victoire were yelling in each other's faces, closest to the ground on their tiny little brooms. Fleur and Audrey were going at it, and Dom and Lucy were screaming at each other, too. Ginny and Harry were making angry faces at each other, and George, Percy, Bill, and Charlie were all in a group, bellowing at each other. Hermione had never heard so much noise in her life, and she slept in the same bed as Ron.
“What happened?” she asked, watching Ron join Harry and Ginny's fight with much enthusiasm. Mr. Weasley shrugged, looking at his family helplessly.
“We turn our backs for one second,” Mrs. Weasley sighed. “Arthur, why didn't you watch more carefully?”
“Molly, you distracted-”
And then they were off too, and Hermione, having no one to fight with, was just standing there, listening to the babies cry at the sound of their parents arguing over something as stupid as Quidditch. Hermione's stomach dropped. Suddenly nervous, she looked down at the grass underneath her, eyes wide. Then she looked up.
“YOU CAN'T DO THAT, IT'S ILLEGAL IN QUIDDITCH!”
“I DIDN'T MEAN TO DO IT SO HARD, GOOD MERLIN!”
“Sonorus!”Hermione said, pointing her wand at her throat.
“HE WAS FLYING RIGHT AT ME, WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO-”
“GUUUUYS!” Hermione screamed in her magnified voice. Everyone turned to look at her, and she smiled sheepishly, then swallowed hard.
“I think my water just broke.”
A/N: So... I think the chapter after this one will be the last one! There might be an epilogue, but other then that it seems like a really good place to end it. ~writergirl8
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