: Thank you all so much for all the reviews and I hope you enjoy this chapter (nice long one that's been re-written at least twice).
As the Months Pass
Hermione wept for months after Ron left, but not only because she missed him so much. No, it was because a few weeks after Ron had gone, Hermione found out that she was pregnant. Usually the pair would have used contraception, but this time was different. It was more passionate, there were more tears, desperation and love between the two Gryffindors that any logical thought had escaped them.
The thought of unplanned pregnancy hadn't crossed Hermione's mind for nearly a month. She was too heartbroken over Ron's departure that she thought of nothing else but him. It was when she told Ginny of the amazing goodbye that the redhead asked, "Did you guys cast the Contraception Spell?"
Two hours later and a homemade potion revealed Hermione's worst fear. She was pregnant.
Ginny was the only person Hermione told about the baby for a while. She wanted to make decisions about the future, and like an exam, she wanted answers to the many questions she knew her family would ask.
The first question would obviously be, 'are you going to keep it?' The answer to this would lay out a plan for the other queries. Hermione concluded there were three choices she could make: adoption, abortion or keep her baby.
The first option would open her child's doors and give loving parents who weren't eighteen and could look after a baby. Though, when she thought of adoption, she thought of her great-grandmother, who was adopted into a Muggle family, after being born to a family of wizards. Her great-grandmother never knew magic until she turned eleven and Hermione didn't want that to happen to her child.
Abortion was considered, but opened up many 'what if?' questions about the future. One scenario was that if Hermione didn't have this baby, she could work her way up in the Ministry. She would be starting her job in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes in October and could work up to Head of Department, a most imperative position.
However, as much as she could image not having this baby, Hermione couldn't imagine her life without it. She had always wanted children, after seeing how happy the Weasleys were together and admiring Molly for all her work. She loved Ron dearly and wondered if this would be her only chance to have a child with him. Childhood sweethearts were all well and good, but lifelong partners? She couldn't picture having a family with anyone but him.
The last option scared Hermione to tears. She had made a list of reasons not to have the baby, organised by choices and colour coded, but when it came down to it, the one 'pro' option beat all the 'cons' she had.
Pro: Because I want it.
Books had been Hermione's friends and historic figures her chums. She never felt the need for anything else. Her dream was to aspire to her fullest potential, being an only child and an outcast at her Muggle primary school did that to her. But now … now she had friends, many friends and a baby on the way. Dreams change, people change.
Many women had children and then started their careers later in life. It could be done. And being as smart as she was, Hermione knew that she could start at any point in her life and probably speed ahead to where she wanted to be. Being a mother wouldn't stop her life.
She told her parents about the pregnancy and as expected, they asked about the father. Hermione had never told her parents about her and Ron dating at Hogwarts. They always thought that he, like Harry, was just her friend. To her parents, she was their little girl. Their little Hermione. And their little Hermione was a good girl; top of her year, Head Girl and prefect at school; a person who had no need for a companion when she had so many doors open to her.
Her parents weren't mad at her, but rather were concerned about what her plans were. Exam day was here and Hermione had her answers memorised ready to reply to every question she was asked.
She was going to carry the baby to term. Hermione had thought long and hard about this, asked Ginny's opinion and finally decided to go with her heart. She explained to her parents that family was very important to her and she had to do what she felt was best.
Hermione always planned to have children and knew that one day she would have to give up work to have a baby, and this way meant that she could be a mother first, and then, once the baby was old enough, Hermione could begin her career and wouldn't have to stop half-way through – unless she had another baby of course.
Another question that needed an answer was on their daughter's housing plans. Knowing that Hermione loved the Wizarding World, the Granger's worried that she might want to live there, instead of the Muggle World – and they were right. Hermione explained that while she loved her parents very much, she felt that as she was going to be bringing up a magical child, it would be best to do so in the Wizarding World.
Hermione hadn't known about this exciting world for eleven years and wished everyday that she had. There was so much she wanted to know, and not enough books to help her.
Hermione had often felt jealous, annoyed and even saddened when she heard her Pureblood friends, such as Ron, Neville, Luna and Ginny talk about magic and their upbringings with it. Her baby would start ahead in life. Her parents respected her wishes and asked their daughter to phone them when the baby was born. Hermione agreed and reassured her mum and dad that she would be fine and would keep in touch. Then she set off for her new home: The Burrow.
What Hermione feared the most was telling Mrs Wealsey that she was going to become a grandmother. She looked up to Molly Weasley as a second mother, who would care for her as much as any of her other children. When Hermione had first told her, she was disappointed in her son and his girlfriend, but after a long talk with Arthur, the couple offered their home to her if she wished to stay.
Hermione didn't even need to think about it. She knew that living at The Burrow would be perfect for both her child and herself. Having Molly as her mentor would help Hermione learn how to become a great mother.
Hermione was told to treat their home as her own by the Weasley elders. She was regarded as an adult, which meant she could use the Floo without asking, as long as she contributed to the powder she used, she could make whatever she wished in the fridge and was given her own room.
The twins had long since left the Burrow to live in a flat over their Diagon Alley joke shop, so Hermione was given their room. Percy had also flown the nest, marrying Penelope Clearwater, but Percy didn't want his room to be disturbed. This was mostly because of all of his awards and honours from Hogwarts.
Hermione's room took more than putting down a few rugs and moving in her own things. For one gloomy afternoon, with Ginny's help, they painted the walls and had Arthur fix any holes they found. Soon enough, the room was unrecognisable from the twins old quarters. The walls were now a clean shade of white, with little wands and sheep painted along the top. A double bed, procured by Arthur, replaced the twins' old bunks. The finishing touch to the room was Hermione's bookcase, brought from home and stuffed full of her favourite books, with a mixture of Muggle and wizarding titles by everyone from Louisa May Alcott to J. Murray.
Molly helped by finding one of the old cribs for the room, which had served her well for many years; it would do quite nicely for Ron and Hermione's infant.
As for the job at the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, which was awaiting Hermione, she spent one autumn day writing a letter to her soon-to-be-boss, explaining her predicament. It wouldn't be practical to work and try to look after a baby, Molly suggested that she look after her grandchild while Hermione worked, but the brunette would have none of it. Hermione wanted to pay her way in the house; pay for food, rent, baby clothes and other important baby things.
The Weasley's were so good to her, and Hermione couldn't let Molly do anymore for her. After a few owls between the young mother-to-be and her boss, they came to an agreement that Hermione would work from home. If she would work at the Ministry, that's what she would do – work at the Ministry. There was no reason why she couldn't work from home and owl any documents to the office.
Hermione would have a brief over the fireplace every morning with her supervisor, and being Hermione, she could finish any work she was given quickly and in Hermione-standard. This arrangement suited Hermione well, as she discussed it with Molly that while she was working, Molly could look after the baby until she was done – unless baby was napping that is.
Sure it would be tiring to raise a baby and work, but Hermione had worked without much sleep during exam times at Hogwarts and it would get better eventually.
Molly had also reminded Hermione that she had to make a choice: she could tell Ron about the baby, or wait until he'd return from America. If she told him, he would most surely return home to be with her and their child, which is what she really wanted. However, if she did
tell him and he did
come home, he would be throwing his life away, something he would regret and hold against Hermione forever.
To make matters worse, she had been having bad dreams, dreams of her future with Ron if she were to tell him. Ron being fat, bald and angry all the time, hating her, resenting her for cutting his dreams short. Hermione wasn't exactly sure what her dreams meant, as she had dropped Divination before they covered dreams. She explained her dreams to Ginny, who told her that they usually were messages from one's conscience.
This told Hermione all she needed to know to make her choice.
I can't tell him. I just can't. I won't.
He wouldn't be that
It was very hard not to mention her predicament in the letters Hermione wrote to Ron. When he would ask her if there was anything new, she would always reply with 'nothing'. Hermione also made sure that anyone who was in contact with Ron, promised not to tell him. It would be much worse if someone other than herself were to tell him.
She wondered if Ron would catch on to anything by the lack of details about her personal life. They were mostly filled with many reports of her work and what she had done at the Ministry that past week. Ron's were filled with his account of his Auror training and the many dangerous tasks he explained he had to do, which strangely enough didn't seem as dangerous as Harry told her in his letters.
For the first few letters, they were long and filled with love and passion for one another, but as the letters went on over the next few months, they became shorter and less loving comments were added. They soon enough were brief and about work or friends. One letter, addressed to Hermione read,
Completed basic training yesterday, passed with flying colours! On to level 1 training this Monday, can't wait!
Harry says 'hello'.
Letters like these gave Hermione strength not to reply with, 'Oh that's great Ron, by the way, and I'm pregnant with your child
'. When the letters were filled with such love, it was hard, but now that any parchment received was quite formal, it was easier to write.
However, this pressure soon ceased one February morning, when Hermione received her last letter, and longest in months, from Ron.
How is everyone at home? I hope you're all well. Harry and I are good here. Harry's finally starting to settle down, he feels that he has the most pressure among us all. I told him what you said about us all having tremendous pressure, training to be Aurors, and that he's not the only one who's fought a Dark Wizard – okay, so he's the only one who's fought against a wizard as dark as You-Know-You, but still.
We're coming to the end of our first quarter, which means that after our first exam, we have a month off training. Some of our friends here have invited us up to Canada for two weeks, how amazing does that sound? There's a small all Wizarding village there where all the training Aurors go to relax. I could do with a rest; the first quarter of training has been hard.
Did Harry owl you about his date the other week? He went into town with this woman called Misha for a few drinks. Nothing came of it afterwards as Harry said there was no 'click'.
I think it's good that Harry is able to go out on dates, don't you? He dated Luna for a year, which while that was great, neither of them were able to experience what else was out there, Y'know? Luna would never have found Neville for example!
That's what I'm writing to you about really … training in America and leading such a good life is incredible, I've never felt better out here! I just feel like I can't act the way I want to act, and that I'm breaking some rule if I hang out with female friends here.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that; maybe we've brought our relationship as far as we can at this point in our lives. You're thousands of miles away from me and relationships are hard enough without that much space between the two people.
I think we should take a break from each other for a while, or at least until I return to England.
I will always love you, Hermione.
The letter was blotched with ink and the last line written shakily. Hermione was both devastated and a little relieved after she read the letter. She would repeat 'it's for the best
' over and over again until the tears died away.
What Hermione feared the most was Ron returning to England and not wanting to get back together with her. By then, she would have a small child to look after, one that would need their daddy.
She thought about writing back to him, explaining that she was pregnant, but every time she started a letter, she would remember the letters Ron sent her about how much he was enjoying training and how fulfilled he felt.
On May the twenty-first, Molly rushed Hermione to St Mungo's using the Birthing Portkey, where Hermione gave birth to a beautiful baby girl after seven hours of labour. Hermione named her daughter Hannah, who had thin dark red hair and big blue eyes that strongly suspected would darken to brown over time.
Hermione had a nagging feeling at the back of her mind which kept telling her to owl Ron and tell him. When Ginny finished Hogwarts at the start of July, she helped Hermione by hiding all the Quills and parchment in the house. Being free of school, Ginny found a job at the Quibbler
, alongside Luna, who now ran the questionable magazine after her father's retirement. Ginny, being quite the artist, designed all the images and drew many amusing cartoons. Hermione on the other hand was given a month off from work to care for her new daughter, and would be owled work once she had settled down – and caught up on her sleep.
As Hannah grew each day, Hermione felt worse. Time was passing quickly, and soon enough Hannah was giggling, sitting up on her own and crawling around the Burrow. She was also looking more and more like Ron, with her freckles and beautiful head of red hair. At ten months, she was walking and babbling words, such as 'ma-ma'.
Hermione knew that shielding Ron from Hannah was the right thing to do--Ron needed to complete his training, and fatherhood could wait--but that didn't stop her from feeling guilty.
At Hannah's first birthday party, Hermione was at her worst. She even started to write a letter to Ron before she broke down in tears. Hannah cheered her up by pulling a face at her and saying, "Ma-ma be 'pappy!"
At the beginning of August, Molly received a letter from Ron, which informed her that he and Harry would be returning home in a few weeks. When she told Hermione the news, Hermione spent those weeks writing and re-writing a speech containing everything she needed to tell Ron, including how she would tell him and a list of questions she figured Ron would ask.
Much like the exams at Hogwarts, Ron's return crept up fast and suddenly, Hermione was waking up on the day she had been dreading for months.
She rolled over and stretched, being awoken by a tapping noise across her room, which informed her that her child was awake and ready for breakfast. Hermione pulled herself out of bed, slipping into her purple dressing gown. Hannah was sat up, her curious eyes looking for her mum, tapping her bottle against the old wooden bars of her crib.
Smiling at her toddler, Hermione reached down and lifted Hannah out of her crib and kissing her cheek. On the wall next to them was a photograph of Ron. Hermione thought that if Hannah saw Ron everyday, she wouldn't be scared of the strange man who was coming to The Burrow today.
"Good morning, Bear," Hermione said.
"Borning," Hannah said, giggling. "Borning, borning, borning!"
Hannah couldn't say very much yet, but she liked to repeat what other people would say. As a result, swearing was forbidden in the house. At fifteen months, apart from the repeating phrases, Hannah's hair was threatening to grow bushier, though the shade of red was defiantly becoming Weasley-like.
Hermione put on her slippers and made her way down to breakfast where Ginny was already seated in the kitchen.
"Good morning, Hermione," Ginny welcomed, as her friend placed the youngest Weasley in her high chair.
"Morning," Hermione replied, yawning.
"Scared?" Ginny asked, smiling slightly as she stirred a small spoon in her coffee mug.
Hermione smiled back apprehensively. "Terrified."
She went over to the cupboard and brought out a tin of breakfast food for Hannah and a bowl. Filling the bowl with milk from the fridge, Hermione sat down next to Hannah and began feeding her.
"It's understandable," Molly said, cracking an extra egg for Hermione in the pan. "The boys will be back at two so make sure you're all ready. Ron may ask questions about the lack of people to greet him, though he'll soon work that out when Hannah comes into the picture."
Molly set the freshly cooked eggs down on a plate of baked beans and bacon for her own daughter and Hermione.
"Thanks," the girls said.
"Telling Ron shouldn't be … that hard," Hermione said, raising her eyebrows. "Are you ready to meet Daddy today, Hannah?"
Hannah looked up at her mum and grinned. "Dada!" she said. Hermione played 'Got your nose' with Hannah until Hannah reached out for more food.
Two o'clock was soon approaching and Hermione couldn't be more nervous. She had decided on wearing the necklace Ron had given her for her sixteenth birthday. Giving herself one last look in the mirror, Hermione took Hannah downstairs and put her in the den with a few plush toys. The den was out of view from the kitchen and living room, where Hermione would first break the news the Ron before introducing her.
Hermione kissed Hannah on her forehead and went into the kitchen to wait with Molly, Arthur and Ginny. Two o'clock came and went, and after a few minutes, Hermione noticed the famous Weasley clock change as the hand with Ron's face on it moved from 'Travel' to 'Home'. Taking a deep breath, the fireplace turned green and a man with wild black hair stepped out.
Harry hadn't changed a bit in Hermione's opinion. His hair was as messy as ever and his eyes had a new sparkle. Hermione expected him to be tanned, but he wasn't; the only difference was how grown up and relaxed he looked. Hermione embraced her old friend in a warm hug before he stepped aside as the fire turned green once again.
The moment Hermione set eyes on Ron her heart fluttered. He was taller and his hair was longer; it curled around his ears. His freckles had never before looked so cute, across his slightly tanned face, as they did in that moment. Ron smiled at Hermione and she felt as though there was no one else in the room.
Then something happened that made Hermione's face pale.
The fire went green again and after a few seconds, a woman stepped into the Burrow kitchen. Her light brown hair was pulled up into a smart bun and she looked around the kitchen with a warm smile on her pretty young face. She turned to Ron, who motioned her forwards before he turned to his family.
"I'd like to introduce to you Miranda," Ron said. "She's my girlfriend."