Charlie had sent Harry a letter before their several portkeys that he wanted the women to spend time with the children while they ran to the Burrow. The Dracologist wasn't stupid; he knew that Hermione was still deeply saddened by her inability to have children. She would play it off as quickly dismissed, but she hadn't and he knew that.
They landed outside the Burrow, and Harry rolled his shoulders. "So, you think she is hiding her pain is what you were saying?" Harry questioned.
"With the amount of shagging we did last night it is almost certain," he paused as Harry grimaced. "It is true. At least I didn't describe the type of shagging. We tend to break things when we get rather passionate."
"Merlin, Charlie, I really don't want to know," Harry growled as he fixed his glasses.
The Weasley and Potter approached the front door, and it wrenched open before they moved to open it. Vicky was standing there and waved at them with a bright smile. "Charlie! Harry! We weren't expecting you this early. Mum and I were just looking over houses. Our flat is too small." She told them and welcomed them inside.
Harry and Charlie gave each other a look before moving to greet the matriarch Weasley. "Boys! I wasn't expecting you until the afternoon," Molly declared between kissing each of their cheeks.
Charlie frowned and sat in the armchair next to her as Harry lounged on the loveseat. "I need to talk to you and dad," he told her as Vicky joined Molly on the couch again.
The Weasley mother gasped with a broad smile. "Arthur! Come in here. I think Charlie is going to tell us we have more grandchildren coming!"
The Dracologist inwardly groaned, and his father appeared from the kitchen. Arthur examined the room and arched an eyebrow. "Darling, I don't think that is what he has come to tell us," he muttered and patted Charlie's shoulder.
"Dad is right. Hermione and I have decided due to her issues and complications with it, we aren't going to try anymore," Charlie murmured which made Molly's face turn grave.
"Surely there are more procedures or things you can try," Molly declared as she shook her head.
Charlie nodded and waved his hand. "Of course, there is. There always will be more we can do to try, but she doesn't want to anymore. I support her decision as her husband. She is pained by lack of any positive news, and I don't want her to hurt by something she cannot change. Every potion is a reminder that she cannot do it on her own. It is too much, and I would rather a happy wife than a chance at a child."
Arthur nodded slowly as he moved next to his wife on the couch. "We understand, Charles."
Vicky made a face and exhaled. "That is so sad. Poor Hermione," she murmured.
Harry hemmed and straightened his posture. "Which leads me to why I am here. I am requesting a full stop on the conversations regarding to them having children or moving. I talked to Ginny about it before they finished their traveling today. No more moving. No more children or procedures. Hermione just wants to go back to feeling normal so let's do that. She wrote me a letter last week and all it had was desperate words of a woman who has failed her husband and family. Let's try to be supportive," Harry finished and tilted his head at Molly. "We all have too."
Molly huffed and ran her hands over her skirt. "Well, I am supportive. I was the first to suggest the different ways to improve her health for the potions," she murmured, and Arthur kissed her temple.
"Why don't you pull out the fire-resistant outfit you made her, darling. She will love to learn how to care for it when she arrives," Arthur suggested, and Molly nodded. "I have a few gadgets I need her input on, I will have them at the ready," he said and stood up.
Arthur offered his hand to his wife. "Do you think I should make that chocolate cake she loves?" Molly asked, and her husband nodded.
"Sound idea let's go prepare," he replied, and the parents left the room.
Charlie twisted his face uncomfortably. "Is Ron with George?" he asked, and Vicky nodded.
The baby cooed, and she started rocking. "You are worried he is going to cause a scene?"
"Yes," Charlie sighed with a nod. "The first thing he will say to this news it is my fault she won't have children."
"I don't think he will have much to say. He still owes me after he blundered and called my mother a plump banshee and she heard," Vicky responded with a smirk.
Harry snorted while bobbing his head. "I remember him complaining about that."
Charlie chewed his lip. "Just as long as he doesn't pester her about it. I really want Hermione just to have the room to breathe."
"Don't worry, Charlie. I will make sure my husband understands the gravity of it all," Vicky reassured him and tilted her head. "Did you want to hold Vincent?"
He smiled softly and reached over for the baby. "Yes, thank you," he sighed and bundled the baby in his arms.
The baby had typical Weasley trademarks; red hair, freckles, and a small nose. Rocking the toddler, Charlie felt a stirring of sadness. This wouldn't be their path in life. He buried the feelings yesterday for Hermione, but now they surfaced. He swallowed and kissed the boy's forehead.
"He hardly lets us put him down. My mother said I was like that too. He will play with his toys and then crawl over crying as if he hurt himself only to quiet when we hold him. Napping has been a task unlike any other because the sooner I put him down, the moment he wakes." Vicky explained, and Harry chuckled.
"Albus was a bit like that," Harry responded, and Charlie grunted.
"Vinny knows a thing or two about being an attention grabber," he murmured and let the conversation grow mute as he stared down at the small form.
A dream for another life…
Hermione was giggling as she held onto James as they walked through Diagon Alley. It felt so typical, and she was thankful for that. Ginny had Albus slung against her as they were doing shopping. Hermione shyly pointed at Flourish and Blotts. "Gin, can we stop for some books? I really need to upgrade my collection of ward and barrier theory."
Ginny laughed with a nod. "Of course, Hermione. If we didn't stop at Blotts, I'd ask if you were sick."
James was cheering and clapping as Hermione took him over to the children's books. They searched through them and pulled a few good ones out. Mainly dragon books which Ginny giggled at; her and Charlie were so similar at times.
"I am going to grab a few romance novels for mum. She has been meaning to get so new material. I swear she is going to run out of tears to cry over this rubbish eventually. "Ginny muttered and headed up the stairs.
Hermione lingered by the children books for a little longer as she noted the different baby books for magical children. It made her sad in a way. She would never buy them for hers. A woman with a small child bundled in her arms was standing next to her before long. James blew her raspberries, and Hermione scoffed.
"That is not nice, James. Behave, or I am telling your mum you are bad," Hermione warned him.
The witch with soft brown hair turned to her and giggled. "It is alright. My son is very particular about people as well," she paused and examined Hermione closer. "Oh, I know you. Hermione Granger, well, Weasley now, correct?" the stranger asked and Hermione's cheeks bloomed.
"Well yes, I'm afraid I don't recognize you. I'm sorry," Hermione confessed.
"Granger?" An all too familiar voice declared, making Hermione stiffen.
"Malfoy, what are you doing here?" she inquired as he rounded her and stood next to the woman.
"Taking my wife out for supplies. She likes to do her own shopping," he sneered, and the witch nudged him lightly. "Astoria, Granger, Granger this is my wife, Astoria Malfoy." He groaned, and Astoria reached to shake her hand.
"I absolutely love your husband's last book," she told Hermione before resituating her grumbling toddler.
Draco took the boy and tilted his head. "That is right, you married the Weasley in Romania," He mused with a face.
"Yes, we missed the sanctuary so much we had to end the book tour early," Hermione said, and James scowled at Draco.
"Aunt Mione, can we go?" He asked, and Hermione sighed.
"Seems you are watching Potter's son? Where are yours?" The Malfoy questioned with a cold expression.
"We aren't having any. I can't," Hermione spat with a frown.
Astoria's expression turned sympathetic as Draco dropped his scowl and thinned his lips. "I am sorry," he muttered.
"It is alright, things happen for a reason," she told him with a shrug of her shoulders.
The female Malfoy exhaled and bobbed her head. "They do. If you don't mind, we would love to invite you over for tea sometime next time you are in town. I am so very interested in Charles's stories. He really brought a new element to Dracology. I can only fathom the number of children who are going to become Dragon Keepers just because of his love for them." Astoria declared with a warm curve of her lips.
Hermione tried to hide her mild disgust from the invitation. "I will certainly pass that along to him. We are going to a family dinner tonight," she conveyed, and Draco arched an eyebrow.
"My wife loves books," he remarked, and Astoria snorted.
"Draco, you were the one who read the book first. I swear it, you were more disappointed you couldn't get your copy signed more than me," she snickered and Draco's cheeks tinted pink.
Hermione smirked and held James closer. "Well, I will definitely tell him about tea sometime. He couldn't believe how many people loved his stories before the tour. I assured him long before that they were wonderful, but I suppose it takes a bit of coaxing to believe when you live an extraordinary life." She finished as Astoria nodded with a bright smile. "I am going to meet up with Ginny; you two have a great day. Congratulations on the son," Hermione finished and moved to walk away.
"Hey, Hermione, have a good day," Draco called out.
She glanced back at the Malfoys. "You too, Draco. Goodbye Astoria, it was nice seeing you again."
Hermione sought out Ginny and explained the odd meeting. Ginny laughed as they collected their books and paid for them. "Charlie's book sure brings up some unusual things, doesn't it?" the redhead asked as she grabbed her bags.
The female Dragon Keeper nodded slowly as they exited the bookstore. "Don't I know it. For the longest time I was identified as Harry's best friend, and now I am wife to the most famous Dracologist in the world. A witch can't catch a break," Hermione teased, and Ginny giggled with a nod.
There was little to disturb them as they were concluding their shopping in Diagon Alley. Talking led to many discussions about the future and Ginny finally got the truth from Hermione. The confession of her failures made the redheaded Weasley feel empathy for her friend. The ice cream was a requirement as they spoke about it.
"It happens, I suppose. I just feel like I gave him a gift and the inside was empty," Hermione sighed heavily before taking a spoonful of her chocolate butterbeer ice cream.
Before Ginny could reply there was a loud voice that cleared. "Mrs. Weasley, it is lovely to see you in Britain," a gentle voice declared.
Hermione turned and saw Kingsley Shacklebolt standing nearby. "Oh, hello Minister Shacklebolt."
He smiled and patted her shoulder. "I am so pleased to see you," he responded, and Hermione tilted her head.
"I recognize that tone, Kingsley. Is there something I can do for you?" Hermione asked, and he grinned.
"Too sharp for your own good, Hermione. Yes, I have a query that I was hoping you could help me solve."
Hermione arched an eyebrow and pivoted more toward him. "What would that be?"
"Well, I am not quite sure you know this, but Glendora is going to be retiring, but I have yet to finish the restructuring of the DMCR department, so I will be short. I was hoping you wouldn't mind taking time from your profession in Romania to help your old department out."
The female Dragon Keeper frowned and set her spoon down. "How long, sir?" she inquired, and his face contorted slightly.
"Well, if I must part with you again, it could be as quick as three months. However, I was hoping to tempt you to stay and help me with another department after."
Hermione's scowl grew, and she exhaled. "I will talk to my husband. I can send you a letter when I have an answer from him."
Kingsley bowed his form a little. "Thank you for your time, Hermione. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a great day Mrs. Potter, Mrs. Weasley." The minister disappeared into the crowd before the witches turned to each other.
Ginny cleaned Albus's face off and snorted. "Is it me or did it sound like he wasn't telling you everything."
Hermione bobbed her head, and her lips thinned. "Charlie won't like that. We just got back a month ago," she replied, scooping some more of her ice cream up.
"Well, the benefit is that you can use this as leverage to create an easier way to go back and forth. I am sure if Kingsley wanted to keep you, he would make it easier for you to come and go as you please and vice versa. I would use that as the stipulation."
The curly-haired witch nodded while laughing. "I could most certainly use that as a stipulation. I am not sure how Kingsley will react, but it would make our lives incredibly easier if he would. Then I could do what I need to and still help on the weekends with the dragons if needed."
Ginny cleared James's empty bowl with a nod. "Alright, I think we have had enough for the day, let's go deal with my crazy family." She declared standing.
"If you insist," Hermione grumbled as she gathered up the bags and they headed to the apparition point.