Chapter 1 : The Plans We Make
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Ron sat on the other side of their shared office staring aimlessly at his desk, clearly of the same opinion as Harry.
Harry flexed his neck until he felt a very satisfying crack and attempted to focus on the paperwork that was piling on his desk. He glanced at the clock. It was only two in the afternoon. He was wondering whether or not he could take a second lunch when a paper plane with red wings flew into his office. Eagerly, he grabbed it. The red meant urgent; perhaps something interesting was happening. He opened it and saw familiar handwriting.
Harry I need you to come up to my office right now DO NOT BRING RON DO NOT TELL HIM WHERE YOUR GOING
He reread it. It was obviously written very quickly; Hermione wasn’t one to skip commas or use the wrong form of “your”.
Ron looked up, interested in the memo. Harry shook his head as nonchalantly as possible. He wondered about the Do not tell Ron as he exited his office and made his way up to hers in the Department of Magical Creatures (previously The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. It was a point of pride with Hermione that she’d managed to get the bit about regulation and control out of the title).
He reached her office. It was empty.
“Er… Hermione?” he called, confused.
He heard a distressed voice coming from the bathroom. He walked over and put his hand on the door. Apprehensively, he asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yes. I’m okay, just come in.” When he opened the door, he was assaulted with visual evidence did not support her claim. She was sitting on the toilet (fully clothed), leaning on her knees, clutching her face in her hands
“Er… you okay?” he repeated.
She looked up at him, and he saw a level of stress in her eyes that he hadn’t seen in quite some time - probably when she was waiting for her N.E.W.T.s results.
Harry inhaled sharply and wasn’t sure how successful he was in his attempt to keep his expression neutral. “Are you sure?”
She nodded, and her tone was edging on hysterical as she said, “I haven’t been feeling well, and I was a few days late, so during my lunch I went and bought a test, thinking ‘hey, why not?’, and I took the test and… Harry, I didn’t think I could possibly be pregnant! I only took the test because it was the logical thing to do. I didn’t think it would be positive. I didn’t even consider that.”
He struggled for words. She’d obviously considered the possibility if she purchased the test - but he wasn’t going to tell her that. Why didn’t she just get Ginny? Ginny would know what to do. They talked about girl things like periods and bras and ice cream. Hell, Ginny had gone through the same thing a few months prior. He settled on simply saying, “Aren’t those things wrong sometimes?”
She nodded towards the small trash can, where he saw no less than a dozen tests.
“Are you okay?” he asked one last time.
He saw tears start to gather in the corner of her eyes. “No, I don’t think so.”
Harry looked down at his best friend - his sister, as far as he was concerned - and had absolutely no idea what he could say or do. He was searching for words when he remembered that Hermione had once told him that when Ginny was upset and he didn’t know how to fix the problem, he should just ask if she wants to talk about it. Men are too solution-driven, she’d said. Women usually just want to talk.
“Do you want to… erm… talk about it?”
She shook her head yes.
Harry felt a brief flash of frustration. Nodding and talking are absolutely not equivalent. He eventually figured that she expected him to initiate conversation, so he asked what he thought was a safe question. “How do you feel?”
“Harry, I don’t know!” she cried. “I’m in shock and I’m scared and I’m so worried and oh, God, what’s Ron going to say?” She put her face back into her hands. This time, she did cry.
“Ron? Is that what you’re worried about?” Harry almost laughed at the notion. “Hermione, Ron will be so happy. You’ve seen how he looks at George and Bill and their kids.”
Hermione nodded, trying to force herself to calm down. “I’m so young, and we’re not married… we were planning on getting our careers settled before even thinking about kids….”
“George and Angelina had Freddie when they were twenty-two. They managed alright, and you’re older than that. Plus, everyone knows that you and Ron are getting married eventually. One of you just has to propose.”
She remained silent, so Harry continued. “Do you want to have children with Ron?”
She nodded, and he finished, “Well it’s happening a little earlier. That’s all.”
She sat, staring at her lap. Harry didn’t know what else to say, so he just stood there and patiently waited for her to process her thoughts and continue. Eventually, she spoke.
“Are you and Ginny happy that she’s pregnant? I mean… I know that you’re happy, but are you really happy? You two are at least married.”
Harry chuckled, saying, “We’ve talked about it, before it happened, yeah. We both wanted kids, we’ve always known that. We were going to wait a bit, but we’re both really very excited.” He settled into the small room, sitting on the ground and leaning his back up against the wall. He could tell that this was going to be one of their long talks.
“Harry, I didn’t plan this,” Hermione whispered, still looking distressed. Harry’s mind flashed to memories of Hermione’s meticulous scheduling, the most recent of which was when the four of them took a holiday in France and were handing itineraries that had the entire weekend planned to the minute.
“Come here,” he responded, pulling her down onto the floor with him. She sat down and naturally settled under his arm. “Sometimes things happen that we don’t plan. Sometimes, those things are good things. I didn’t plan on ever being friends with the bushy haired girl that was helping Neville find his toad, but here we are.”
“My hair isn’t bushy,” she mumbled.
“Not anymore…,” Harry said, reaching his arm towards her and taking hold of a clump of her smooth, wavy locks. “But when we met….”
She chuckled to herself, but didn’t respond. She had to admit that he had a point. She didn’t plan on ever being friends with the boy with the lightning scar and the boy with dirt on his nose, but that turned out to be one of the best decisions of her life.
“I feel so weird. There’s a small human growing in my uterus. There, while I was saying that, it probably grew a few thousand cells.”
“Gross,” Harry replied, not keen on hearing about the intricacies of the female reproductive system. She rolled her eyes and elbowed him lightly in the ribs. He added, “Really, though, you’ll be a great mother.”
“Do you really think so?”
“You were basically Ron and my mother while we were at Hogwarts.” With this comment, Harry finally managed to coax a laugh out her.
“Will Ron be a good father?” she asked.
This question, Harry really had to take time to consider before answering. “Probably not.”
“What?” Hermione responded with urgency. “Why would you say that to me?”
“First of all, don’t ask me questions that you want a specific answer to. You know that. But Ron… he isn’t good at anything at first,” Harry explained, “but just give him to Bill and the kids for a weekend. They’ll whip him into shape. And you two can babysit for Ginny and I, get some practice on a newborn.”
Hermione once again rolled her eyes, but had to admit that Harry was right. She smiled slightly and mumbled, “Ginny will have your head if she knows that you’re offering up your child so that Ron can practice changing a diaper.”
“When are you going to tell him?” Harry asked, getting the conversation back on track.
She sighed, admitting, “I really ought to sooner rather than later. I suppose tonight is as good as any.”
“Is there anything I can do?”
“Just sit with me a while longer so I can avoid it for a bit?”
Harry nodded, and Hermione leaned her head on his shoulder. She cried for a bit, and long after she’d calmed down, they made bets about what Ron’s reaction would be. Hermione predicted that Ron would have a nervous episode and disappear to Romania for a few days; Harry was certain that he’d get sick.
They were both wrong. He proposed.
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