Chapter 13 : The Future of Rose
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“I think so,” Hermione laughed, and they both turned towards Rose, sleeping away in her crib. “Although I also hear they cry a lot. And I'm told that sleeping is preferable.”
Hermione and Rose had arrived home about three hours ago, both exhausted. Rose had gone right to sleep, no problems there. But Hermione hadn't been able to. The fact that she had a baby- that she was someone's mother- felt so surreal. She couldn't get enough of looking at Rose and trying to see either her or Ron in her. Was it even possible to tell this early on? Hermione thought so, especially because of the small smattering of ginger hair on top of Rose's head. And her little girl had Hermione's brown eyes, too. Hermione had always wanted a red headed child, or, at least, that was how she'd envisioned her and Ron's children being. So this came as a huge relief. Sighing contently to herself, Hermione turned back to the wall, where she was hanging up pictures. There was one of Rose with Aunt Harry and Uncle Ginny, one of Rose with her Weasley grandparents, one of Rose with all her Uncles, and one of Rose with her parents.
“Speaking of pictures,” Hermione added. “Rose The First and my parents will be coming over tomorrow, so we'll have two more for the wall.”
“I was thinking,” Ron said, tearing his eyes away from his daughter for a few moments to look at his wife. “What if we put some pictures of us as young kids in here? You know, throughout all the stages of our life.”
“Er- why?” Hermione asked. “I don't see the need to-”
Almost immediately, Rose started crying. Ron turned to Hermione and raised an eyebrow.
“It wasn't me! I was whispering,” Hermione said, scurrying over to the crib and picking up her little girl. She rocked the baby back and forth, making little shushing noises, but Rose didn't stop crying.
“Check her diaper,” Ron suggested.
“Nothing,” Hermione told him.
“Maybe she's hungry.”
Hermione, who had just gotten Rose to start breastfeeding, proceeded to feed her. Ron didn't know whether or not he should look away, but he felt that, as the father of the baby and husband of Hermione, it wasn't violating any form of privacy. Besides, he reckoned that in a few months he would be used to it.
“This is why.” Ron said when Rose was done feeding and still hadn't quieted.“We're going to be sitting up here, all bored, and trying to quiet our child, and in a bad temper. We'll be sitting in the rocking chair, unsure of what to do with ourselves, and contemplating throwing Rose out the window.”
“No, let me finish. So, that is why I made... this.”
He waved his wand and a large frame appeared right in front of Hermione. Her eyes widened.
“Look,” Ron said proudly. “Here's you and me in first year. You know how mum would always insist on taking pictures of everyone together after every year finished? Well, there's one for each of the six years we went to school. Oh, and us dancing at our wedding! I think this was taken when you were telling me what flavor the wedding cake was... and then here's one of us together after the battle.”
“Wow,” Hermione said, raising an eyebrow. “We really couldn't keep our hands off of each other.”
“We can take that one off once Rose is old enough,” Ron suggested. Hermione smacked his arm.
“Honestly, Ron, we're only holding hands. And snogging.”
“Well, thank you so much for making this. It's amazing,” Hermione said, smiling at him. She inched her head forward and tried to kiss him with the baby between them, but was so nervous about crushing her Hermione pulled back almost immediately, practically blushing red.
“It's okay, we'll practice,” Ron told her, smirking a little bit. She sighed and went to put Rose back in her crib, then headed over to the picture frame. They stood there, studying it for a while. Then Ron said,
“God, I hope she doesn't have your teeth.”
Hermione turned towards him and put her arms around his neck.
“Oh, you romantic, you.”
He laughed and kissed her, and they stood there for a long time, just kissing and talking until the two of them were two tired to do anything else but go to sleep. So they headed into their bedroom and curled up in the position that they'd slept in before Hermione's baby bump had arrived.
“I missed this,” Ron whispered into her hair. Hermione nodded tiredly.
“Me too,” she agreed. Then she said, “By the way, I got myself a membership at the gym. I don't want the extra baby fat.”
“It's not a big deal, Hermione, I really don't care.”
“Oh, no, honey. It's not for you. It's just, all my work clothes will be fitting a bit awkwardly if I keep the extra fat, and the idea of going shopping with Ginny again is absolutely horrifying.”
Ron sighed and shook his head.
“I don't know whether to be offended or amused. I'd let you go and give you the silent treatment, but...”
“But what?” Hermione asked teasingly. “I think I know. It feels too good to have me back in your arms again.”
“No, they've just temporarily stopped working.” Ron said stubbornly, and Hermione laughed. Suddenly, a wail came from Rose's bedroom.
“Oh, so, since your arms have stopped working, that means you have to get up with me, because you can't let me go.”
Ron sighed, contemplating this for a few minutes. Then he said,
“Only because you just gave birth, I will get up and attend to the baby. Unless she's hungry, and then I'll need you.”
“Check the diaper, first, then. I don't want to have to get up.” Hermione said sleepily. Ron nodded, kissed her hair, and got out of bed. He went to Rose's room, and sure enough, the little girl was wailing.
“Shhhh, shhh!” Ron said softly, lifting her up. “Be quiet, mummy's trying to sleep.”
Good merlin. Hermione was mummy. When the hell did this happen?
“And daddy's the poor sucker that got roped into having to calm you down,” Ron added as Rose continued to scream in that adorable way of hers. “Honestly, I wonder how much longer mum is going to be playing the 'I gave birth card'. Probably forever. But that'll be okay, I guess, because I love mummy, don't I, Rosie? And if she does that I can play the, 'You broke up with me and practically made me want to die' card. No, really, if that worked it'd be bloody brilliant.”
Rose had stopped crying. Ron's eyes opened wide in surprise, and he quickly pumped his fist into the air. She was staring up at him with Hermione's eyes, and he almost felt, as he looked at them, and only them, that he was holding a miniature version of his wife. He tried to lower her into the crib, then, but Rose immediately started crying. He lifted her back out. Silence. Lower, sobs. Lift, silence.
“Oh, I see how it is,” Ron sighed, putting Rose into a more secure position in his arms. “Right, then. Let's try to make this painless, shall we?”
He started walking in a circle around the room, just looking at her, and she looked at him, her attention straying no where else.
“You're just like your mum, you are,” Ron said to Rose. “I don't think you got this type of attention span from anyone on my side. And you seem to have inherited your ability to go for long periods of time without blinking from Luna, haven't you? Although that doesn't really add up... she's one of the few people I know who isn't related to either me or Hermione. Then again, maybe it just feels like that because my family's so big. Maybe I do know a bunch of people who I'm not related to by blood or law, but the fact that I have so many people who are makes that number pale in comparison. I mean, bloody hell, even my childhood best friend is my brother! It's ridiculous, isn't it, Rose?”
Rose blinked at him.
“Finally, she blinks,” Ron said. “Wow- I guess I have to train myself to stop swearing around you, don't I? I mean, it's okay around Hermione, she's gotten used to it... mind you, it was the price of marriage. It was me and my mouth or none of me at all. Besides, I think she's desensitized herself to it by now. And it's not like she doesn't have any flaws that I have to deal with. But I suppose the point it we can deal with each other's flaws, and we still love each other, and that's what matters, right, Rosie?”
He ran a finger along her cheek, and she gave him a coo.
“Mummy and I have sometimes talked about who you were going to marry. What do you think? I hope your love story will be easier then ours. I have my money on Oliver Wood's son, by the way. He's just a year older then you and a lovely baby. He has a pair of pajamas with broomsticks on them. Go with him, Rose. Of course, mummy wants you to marry the son of some Ravenclaw, but I don't know about that. Ravenclaws seem awfully stuffy, don't they, Rose? I tell you what. We'll decide your story right here, right now, just you and me. And you have to stick with it, okay? Because I don't want you to ever, ever have a broken heart, or a broken leg, or have any reason at all to cry. And you're not going to have to face dangerous things like me and mum did. And you're not going to have bad dreams, either. All of your dreams are going to be excellent, got it? Just so long as you remember to stick to the plan.”
He took her little hand in his big one and shook it quickly.
“There. You've made the deal, now here's the plan. You're going to have hair like Ginny's, somehow, and you're going to have your mother's eyes. You're going to not mind my swearing, but you won't swear. And you're going to have your mum's little buckteeth until you're old enough to date, and that's twenty. So when you're twenty mum will shrink your teeth. And before that, you won't even look at boys. You'll concentrate on your Quidditch skills 24/7, okay? No, well, actually, I take that back. I know this is our plan, Rose, but if mum found out about it and there was nothing about studies she'd kill me. So you're going to concentrate on Quidditch skills and getting all 'O's on your O.W.Ls and N.E.W.Ts. And, let's see... people will call you the brightest witch of your age, like they did mum. So, when you're twenty, after mum shrinks your teeth-”
Rose let out a sudden cry.
“What? What! I'll have you know that I thought those chipmunk teeth were adorable! I love chipmunks. And squirrels. But I didn't look at mum as a girl I'd want to date until the teeth were gone... therefor, I am convinced that your teeth will remain like that until you're twenty. And then some guy will notice you and want to marry you. He'll be a part time Healer for mum and a part time professional Quidditch player for me. So that way, your husband will be smart and rich. How does that sound, Rosie? Now, you're going to not do what mum and I did and wait to sleep with this man until your honeymoon, okay? We deeply regret not waiting.”
“No, we don't,” Hermione said, walking into the room with raised eyebrows. She kissed Rose's forehead before looking at Ron expectantly. “Do you?”
Ron looked scandalized.
“How much of that did you hear?”
“I came in around the time you started wondering whether or not your social circle was limited to those related to you, and I've been in the door frame ever since.” Hermione said coolly, but a small smile was threatening to come in around her mouth. “I like the plan, by the way. It's perfect. Unachievable, but perfect.”
“Who knows?” Ron said, looking lovingly at their daughter. “She might be superwoman. You may have just given birth to superwoman!”
“Oh?” Hermione asked lightly. “Should we alert the media now, or wait until the suit comes in?”
“Wait for the suit, definitely.”
“Seriously, though, you regret sleeping together before marriage?”
Ron made a shushing noise at Hermione, then placed Rose carefully in the crib. He covered her little ears with his hands before he turned back to Hermione to answer her.
“No, of course not, I have no reason to, but she doesn't need to know that!”
Hermione laughed until she was wheezing, leaning against Ron for support.
“Ronald- Weasley- you are- completely- ridiculous!” she chortled.
Ron looked highly affronted.
“Well, that's just the way-”
But he couldn't finish his sentence, because Hermione had kissed him. She stood on her toes so that she could reach him and pressed her mouth firmly to his, and it was such an intense kiss they could both feel their hearts beating just a little bit faster when they finally had to pull away for air. Hermione turned around and leaned against Ron, facing their baby, her hand wound around his neck and playing with the hair on the back of his head. Instead of concentrating on their daughter, for the first time in a while, Ron closed his eyes and concentrated on the way Hermione's hand felt in his hair, the way her back felt as she breathed against him. The past six months, they hadn't really had time to just be with each other like this. They'd spend a lot of time together, yes. Practically too much time. But every time they had snogged, each had their mind on the baby, somewhere in the back. And now that she was here, and they were both tired, and they weren't worried about Hermione giving birth or having the nursery ready on time, snogging immediately became more fun.
“It's hard to believe that this innocent little creature is someday going to be just like us,” Hermione whispered.
“What do you mean?” Ron asked, a little disappointed that the moment had passed, but game for conversation, anyways.
“I mean, one day she will start swearing, and she will fall in love, and she'll find out about the battle and the game show-”
“Er- let's not tell our children about the game show.”
“Please. Unless we figure out some way to erase Ginny's memory or frighten her into keeping her mouth shut, she'll blab. You know her, she credits herself for getting us back together, when it was really mostly our feelings combined with Rose's advice.”
“It was bound to happen sometime, game show or not,” Ron agreed.
“What do you think she'll say when she finds out her mum and dad were on The Perfect Match?”
“Dunno. We don't really know her, do we?”
“We know her better then anyone else does, but that's not much.”
“I'm excited to get to know her,” Hermione said, turning around to look at Ron with sparkling eyes. “I think even more then seeing how she looks. I mean, who will she be more like? Will she take after one of us more then the other, or will she be a perfect balance? What exactly is a perfect balance?”
“I don't know.” Ron said again. Hermione took a deep breath and wrapped her arms around Ron's neck. He rubbed her back, and she buried her face in his shirt and they just stood there, rocking left and right at a slow, smooth rhythm.
“Let's have more of these,” came Hermione's muffled voice.
“Babies?” Ron asked. Hermione nodded. “Okay.” Ron agreed.
“I mean it,” Hermione said, looking up at him. “I want four or five! And I want dogs, and cats, and owls, and I want this house to become another version of The Burrow. I want horses, and chickens, and I want to use the lake outside every day during the summertime. I want to quit my job and learn how to knit better, and sew better, and bake better. I want this house to be completely full of crazy children running around with toy broomsticks and reading books on the swing set out back. I want them to all come into one room at night so that we can read them bedtime stories, and I want them all to all have separate rooms that we'll have to go to, one by one, to tuck them each in.”
Ron didn't know why, but they were both getting a little choked up at this.
“Okay,” he said again. “I want that, too.”
“Good,” Hermione said, and then she kissed him again as if that might seal the deal for both of them.
A/N: Well that was it! My little epilogue. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you enjoyed the ride that was the World According to series. Stay tuned for more of War of the Exes and then Sleepless! Thank you for everything. ~writergirl8