Disclaimer: I don't own HP or any of these characters. That belongs to JKR, Scholastic Books, Warner Brothers, etc.
"Toast?" Harry asked as Hermione walked into the room. Her rather alarming response, to his point of view, was to take one look at breakfast before dashing at top speed to the toilet. Harry closed his eyes and with much difficulty, slowly counted to ten. He hated this. Actually, he didn't know what was worse – seeing Hermione feel bad so often because of her pregnancy or not knowing what to do when she was feeling ill. His first instinct, as always, was to get up and help her any way he could. At the same time, however, he didn't want to smother her by being overly protective. It was a fine line to walk and sometimes he felt that he wasn't up to the task.
Finally, his count of ten was done. Harry quickly got up and hurried over to the bathroom, but the door was already closed. He couldn't hear anything from inside, but just that fact alone didn't mean that Hermione was feeling better.
"Hermione?" Harry called as he knocked softly on the door. "Are you okay?"
Several moments passed without a reply. Harry was about to start panicking when Hermione finally spoke up. "I suppose I'm as well as can be expected," she said.
"Do you still want break—"
"No, oh no, nothing right now, thank you very much!" The sound of Hermione retching was audible even in the hallway.
"Is there anything I can do?" Harry asked but there was no reply this time. Sighing, he made his way back to the kitchen, where he began to put away breakfast. It was obviously going to be one of those days, when the mere sight or mention of food made Hermione nauseous. He could only hope that it would soon pass but unfortunately, Hermione's morning sickness was not always confined to the mornings. He was packing lunch for the day for both himself and Hermione when the sound of a door opening and closing alerted him to the fact that Hermione had finally come out of the bathroom.
He met her just as she was entering the living room. Needing to touch her to make sure she was all right, he swiftly embraced her and she snuggled more closely into his chest and arms. He briefly kissed her forehead before broaching a subject that she was sure to dislike.
"How about staying home today, love?" he asked.
"No, Harry," she replied, taking a step back and away from him. She crossed her arms over her chest. "I took two sick days last week. I don't want to take another so soon."
"But you're not feeling well, love," he said. "That's what those days are for. And you know, if it gets really bad, you don't even have to—"
"I would get bored like that, Harry. Honestly, I can't really relax just staying here so I might as well go to work." She brushed her lips against her cheek and he relaxed. She wasn't happy with his suggestion but she wasn't mad.
"Promise you'll come home early if you start feeling worse?"
"Well . . . if it gets really bad, I will. But I'm beginning to feel better so I don't think I'll need to." She smiled up at him. "Don't worry so much, love. I do take care of myself and if I have to, I will come home early. I promise."
"I know you will, love. It's just that sometimes I can't help but worry and I—"
"Of course you can't. That's part of your charm. You wouldn't be my Harry if you didn't worry like that . . . and sometimes it's adorable."
"I'm only adorable sometimes?"
"Sometimes you're bloody annoying. Don't worry though, I love you anyway."
"Thanks," he replied.
"Don't mention it. And aren't you running a bit late?"
"Damn!" he cursed, as he rushed about searching for his coat. "Where did I put that—"
"In the coat closet, love. I put it there last night after you had just left it strewn on the armchair."
"I had other things on my mind last evening. Such as a beautiful, brown-haired witch that I know."
"Flattery will get you nowhere."
"Will it now?" Having found his coat and put it on, Harry went to Hermione's side again. "And what will a kiss get me?"
Not giving her time to finish that thought, he bent down and kissed her, relishing that he was so close to her and trying to get enough of her to last the day. Kissing Hermione was always dangerous. It was always so tempting to forget everything around them. While he was kissing her, Harry never knew how he'd manage to leave her but somehow he always did. Like he had to do now.
Regretfully, Harry pulled away from Hermione. "I love you," he said softly.
"Love you too," she said in reply. Then smiling, she added, "And I think a kiss like that can just about get you everything you might want from me."
"Well, we're in trouble then. As I could say the same about you." He kissed her once more and then left her behind as he apparated to work.
Though he may have left Hermione for the day, she had not left his thoughts. It didn't help that it was a slow day at work and so he had plenty of time to think of her and worry about her. But when he was sitting at long, boring meetings, it was quite easy for his mind to wander to thoughts of Hermione and the child she was carrying. About halfway through the afternoon, Harry decided that enough was enough. He wasn't really needed here today, and he would be much more productive if he went home to make dinner for her, who would likely be tired from her day at work. He easily procured the needed permission from his supervisor and just like that, he was on his way home.
Harry didn't go straight home, however, as he decided to stop at the market to buy a few things to use for dinner. He whistled his way through the shop, picking up vegetables and fresh bread, as he made an on the spot decision to make a light dinner of soup and sandwiches. That would probably be best for Hermione tonight, he thought, and also good for my on-again, off-again skill in the kitchen. After paying for those ingredients and for a small bouquet of flowers as well, he apparated home.
There was a surprise waiting for him when he returned – Hermione was stretched out on the sofa, deep in sleep. He couldn't help but smile at the sight. She had kept her promise and had come home when she needed to. True, he supposed he shouldn't smile at the fact that she wasn't feeling well that day – and that thought alone was enough to make him sober – but on the other hand, it felt good to know that she wasn't going to be too stubborn about taking the breaks she needed. Harry leaned over to brush a kiss against her hair before he moved on to the kitchen in hopes of concocting an edible dinner.
When Hermione woke from her nap, it was to the smell of something burning in the kitchen. It wasn't the best scent to wake up to, however much it may be one she was used to. At least, she wasn't feeling nauseous this time around. She silently got up and made her way towards where Harry was certain to be. She smiled to herself as she thought how he must be frustrated with whatever he was trying to cook and how adorable he looked when he was frustrated like that.
Harry was busy cleaning the kitchen when she came in. Evidently something bad had happened to the batch of soup he had been making, which led to him looking rather indignant in general.
On top of all that, he was wearing a 'Kiss The Chef' apron. It was an opportunity too good to miss.
Smiling wickedly, she silently crept up behind him, intent on surprising him with a quick peck on the cheek. Harry, however, had not played Seeker for seven years at Hogwarts for nothing. Just as she darted in to steal her kiss, he turned and caught her in his arms.
"Trying to sneak up on me, love?" he asked.
"Of course not." She smiled up at him and arched an eyebrow. "I know better than to attempt that."
"Really? I could have sworn that you were trying to steal a kiss, Ms Granger."
"I would never steal a kiss from you."
"That's a shame. Am I that unattractive?" Harry pouted.
"No, love, definitely not that. Rather the opposite really. It's amazing that I can keep my hands off you at all. And as for stealing a kiss . . . how can I steal kisses from you, when you're always so willing to give them to me?" She tilted her head up to meet his lips with hers, enjoying the taste of him as she always did. She opened her mouth under his, expecting him to take the chance to deepen the kiss, when to her surprise, he backed away.
"Huh?" She blinked foolishly up at him.
"I thought perhaps I should be less bountiful with my kisses. If that's what it'll take to make you steal a few."
"And I could ask you about dinner and when it'll be ready instead."
"Your point is?"
"So long as we're together, does it really matter?"
"No, that rather makes up for everything, doesn't it?" Harry grinned at her. "And you've always been smarter than me." With that, he kissed her again, all thoughts of cleaning up and making dinner forgotten.
"Hermione? Are you ready yet?" Harry paced frantically in front of their fireplace. After spending last night simply at home together, their plans for Saturday consisted of meeting Ron and his latest witch for dinner. "We're suppose to meet Ron and Ophelia in ten minutes!"
"I'm almost ready, don't worry. It just took me longer, what with it being hard to find a set of dress robes that fit these days." Hermione came out of their bedroom, looking a bit rushed and rather scrumptious. She ran a hand through her hair. She headed towards the bathroom, intent on looking as presentable as possible. "And I've yet to fix my hair yet. I'll just have to pin it up. Remind me again why we're going to a fancy restaurant when we're just having dinner with our best friend and his girlfriend?"
Harry sighed. "I'm not going to answer that."
"It was rhetorical and besides, I know you like Ophelia as much as I do. Which is to say, not at all."
"If Ron likes her though . . ." Harry trailed off. He didn't think that Ophelia was the right witch for Ron. Hermione would say that Ophelia was attracted solely by Ron's fame and fortune – and only when she was feeling tactful.
"Yes, I know, if Ron likes her and she makes him happy, then we should just be happy for him. I still think it'll all end badly, mark my words."
"I thought you weren't one for putting much stock in Divination."
"Shut it." Hermione came out of the bathroom, her preparations complete. "Well what do you think?" she asked, twirling around. "The robes are a little tight, but I didn't think to shop before this and so I don't really have . . . "
"You're lovely. As always," Harry replied simply, smiling at the blush that covered Hermione's cheeks. "Shall we go, my lady?" he asked, offering her his arm.
She took his arm and winked. "Not unless you can think of anything better to do."
"I know that I can think of a few things I would rather be doing – but we promised, and so let's not be late."
"Last time was entirely your fault. You just had to wear that dress."
"Ought to be illegal?"
"For you to wear it in public where other wizards can gawk at you? Most certainly yes."
"I love you."
"I love you too. But we really should get going."
With those words, Harry reached for the invitation that was their portkey to the fancy Wizarding restaurant where they were meeting Ron and his date. It turned out, however, that they were the ones left waiting for the other couple to arrive. After a half hour of waiting – and a couple glasses of wine on Harry's part and water on Hermione's – Ron and Ophelia finally arrived.
"Sorry we're late," Ron said. "We were rather preoccupied." The smug smile on his face could only mean one thing.
"I'm sure it's fine. It's not like your friends haven't ever been late in meeting us," Ophelia said sharply. She looked over at Hermione, and in particular, at Hermione's hand. "Still not engaged, I see? And yesterday would have been a perfect time for a proposal!"
Harry clenched his hands into fists under the table. Why was it that everyone had to bring up the topic of marriage? It wasn't as if he hadn't asked Hermione. Indeed, as soon as he heard that she was pregnant, he had asked but she had responded that she didn't want to get married just because they were having a baby together. Harry could see the reasoning behind that response, that she didn't want him to feel later on that he had only married her because he was obligated to do so. He knew he was going to marry her one day and that they were going to be together always, so he felt no reason to press her. When they were both ready, that was when they would wed, and Harry just wished everyone would accept that.
"I don't see why yesterday would have been a perfect time for a proposal," Hermione was saying. "There was nothing special about it."
"Nothing special?" Ophelia looked genuinely shocked. "But it was Valentine's Day yesterday!"
"Was it? I didn't notice. Was that the reason for the flowers?" Hermione asked Harry.
"No, those were just because I love you."
"So what did you two do yesterday?" Ron interjected before his friends could start kissing.
"Not much," Harry responded. "Went to work, came back home, and tried to make dinner."
"Try being the operative word. We wound up having to subsist on sandwiches," Hermione added.
"Again? Harry, are you sure you don't want to take a cooking class? It couldn't hurt," Ron suggested yet again but Harry simply shook his head no.
"How perfectly dull," Ophelia declared. "Ron here took me to Paris for a most romantic date. It says something about a man who doesn't even remember it's Valentine's and doesn't bother to do anything special."
"It depends on who you're talking about," Hermione responded evenly. "I don't need Harry to plan anything special for some ridiculous holiday. He loves me and he tells me that every day and that's all that I need." She reached out under the table, questing for Harry's, and only resting when their hands were fully entwined. "So yesterday may have been dull and ordinary . . . but nothing's ever really ordinary if you're in love."
Harry squeezed her hand to let her know that he agreed and that he loved