After nearly three years away from England she was back. Hermione Granger crossed the secret passage to Diagon Alley in a hurry and tried not to attract any attention to herself and the small child in her arms. Rose Weasley was fortunately a quiet little girl. That helped Hermione's mission of being inconspicuous. They made it into the necessary shops, bought everything needed for the potions and quickly made their way back to the Leaky Cauldron.
"Granger?" The voice made her stop dead in the middle of the road. Internally Hermione cursed. Maybe she could try to walk away and pretend she didn't hear him. Pretend she wasn't Hermione Granger with a red-haired child, that screamed Weasley.
"Hermione..." Carefully she turned. Fred Weasley starred at her, then at the small girl. Rose blinked at the strange man with her large blue eyes, but stayed quiet. It was obvious to what conclusion his racing thoughts came. A groan escaped her. She could never explain this mess without causing an uproar in the Weasley family. If her roommate wouldn't be out cold with a nasty fever, this wouldn't have happened.
"You have a child. Is that why you didn't come back after Ron and you broke up?" Fred's voice and facial expression told her everything she needed to know. He was angry. "You withheld his child?"
"Fred, I know the phrase It's not what it looks like is a little bit cliché, but in that case it is absolutely true. And now I have to go" Without giving Fred the chance to say or do anything, she turned on her heel and apparated away.
Hermione and her roommate shared a wonderful flat in Muggle London, with an extra room for Rose, a large living area and open kitchen. They both worked as healers and could afford it, plus here no one would suspect them to be.
Hermione quietly sat Rose down to play and started brewing the fever potion and cooking dinner.
That was bad, very bad. She had known it was dangerous to take Rose with her. But with her roommate sick, there was no other person to watch the little child.
The last years they had lived in Australia, not far away from Hermione's parents. Her parents loved Rose like crazy and were the best babysitters in the world. It hadn't been Hermione's choice to leave and come back, but St. Mungo's had offered Hermione and her roommate such lucrative positions, that her roommate couldn't say no. And Hermione couldn't let her go alone. They had talked about telling Ron about his daughter. Both knew that it would be necessary at one point. But they had hoped that they would have a little more time beforehand.
Now it was only a matter of time till Harry and Ginny would send owls, would try to find her. Probably in tow with an angry Ron and, worst case, Mrs Weasley, demanding to see the little girl. It was a mess.
"Hey, you're back early." Hermione's pretty, blonde roommate made her way from her room to the kitchen. On her way she kissed Rose, but the girl was immersed in her picture books. They often joked about this obvious Hermionesque character trait.
"We have a problem." Hermione handed the Blonde the fever potion and a tea. "I met Fred. He saw Rose and came to the brilliant and obvious conclusion that she must be Ron's and my daughter."
"Lavender, language!" But Lavender Brown didn't care about manners at this moment. She fixated her gaze at the girl in the living room. The spitting image of Ron with her hair and the freckles. Hermione and Lavender had raised the girl together, and they both weren't ready to let the Weasleys into their life. Cause let's be honest. When Fred knew, he would tell Ron and with him would come the rest of the loud family. They would ask questions and would be without a doubt angry.
"How are you feeling?" Hermione eyed Lavender worried.
"Better, thanks for the potion."
"Well, at least we know it can only be the flue," joked Hermione and busied herself with the dinner preparations.
"Oh, now that you say it", Lavender replied smirking, "there might be a possibility."
"Don't even joke about it, Brown. I'm not ready for another child." Hermione playfully swinged the wooden cooking spoon at Lavender.
"But you're doing such a great job with Rosie. Why not have another one." Lavender grinned madly.
Hermione was ready to give a smart reply, but suddenly a big owl scratched at the kitchen window. Curious Lavender opened and took the letter, but the owl stayed. Obviously she had the order to wait for an answer.
"It's from Harry. Seems like our time is up."