Love Is Blue
"I thought of you and where you'd gone…
And the world spins madly on."
World Spins Madly On – The Weepies
"All human wisdom is summed up in two words - wait and hope."
A.N: The end is not near, it's here! Yes, duckies, this is the last and final chapter of The Blues Are Still Blue. It's been a blast. Thank you for all the support.
For the soundtrack of this chapter, the same as usual, check my LJ. But there's only two songs I found fitting for here: "Lie In The Sound" – Trespassers William and "Life Is A Song" – Patrick Park. Also, there are references in this chapter to Undercloakkept's story called "Hearing", Evanesco75's amazing "Never Enough" and to Artemisia Lufkin, the first Witch to become Minister of Magic. Let me know what you guys think of this last chapter!
And here goes nothing…
Pink: negative. Blue: positive.
The next stage of Hermione's life was to be decided over colours displayed on a plastic stick. Ironically, she had once found herself depending on stripes. Maybe someday the course of another woman's life would be altered because of patterns. Tartan or chintz? Pregnant or not?
Sniffing, she waited. There wasn't much she could do except that. Hermione was, at this point in her life, practically a pro when it came to taking Muggle pregnancy tests in order to learn her tummy status.
And this one was lucky number 51.
With the first one of these that she had bought, Hermione remembered being shaken with nerves, anxiety, and a little bit of sadness at the sight of the positive result. Back then, she hadn't wanted a child. The deed, however, had already been done, and she had embraced it, falling in love with the idea of having a baby with her Ron. But fate, as unexpectedly as it had bestowed upon her that gift, had taken it away.
She had been left with nothing but an empty womb and a burning ache.
The next fifteen tests had been the hardest. Every negative result had taken her by surprise, until she was shivering with cold disappointment and desperation. And as the numbers increased, so had her frustration. Hermione hadn't been able to understand what she had done wrong. Where it had gone wrong. She had wanted a baby more than she wanted to be a mother, to be a wife, to be a woman. And because of this, she had nearly lost herself and her marriage in the process. They had recovered, though. They always did.
The subsequent seventeen tests had been even more of a surprise than the first one she had taken. With every positive result, with every peed-on miraculous confirmation of the randomness that was life, Hermione had grown more frantic and astonished. When she hadn't dared to hope anymore, when she and Ron thought all hope was lost, ithadhappened. She had gotten pregnant again.
And that time, she had gotten to experience the whole arduous process. Everything had been fantastic, as it was supposed to be (aside from the dreadful bed rest she had had to endure for her Rosie's sake) until the accident that had changed their lives.
Seven people had lost their lives that day, and one of them had been Linda Granger. For a while, Hermione had thought she would never recover from this loss. But she did; she had moved on and rebuilt her life, as her parents would've wanted. No one could come out of the loss of a parent unscathed, but she had Ron to lean on, and then Rose, too.
They somehow managed to make it better, managed to heal her. They'd managed to make her feel joy again. Every time Hermione saw her husband cuddling their baby girl, cooing to her while she peacefully slept, her heart had mended a little. Whenever Ron had tripped over Crookshanks and muttered a hushed 'Bloody cat!', he had patched her heart more just by being himself.
After so many losses, they'd kept on loving, kept on living, kept on laughing.
"Just like my mum wanted me to do," she thought, her heart skipping a beat.
Then, when Rosie grew into a rambunctious two year-old toddler with a toothy grin and began sporting her first signs of magic, they had decided to try for another baby.
"Another girl, one just like you, with brown eyes and brown hair," Ron had told her earnestly.
They already had a red-haired girl with quite a temper and eyes a shade of blue Hermione had only ever seen on one other person.
"Mum." It still hurt, but the pain wasn't as raw and crippling as it had been eleven years ago. "My mum and her hauntingly beautiful eyes." Whenever Rosie, due to her adventurous nature, had created a mess out of their living-room and had given Hermione an innocent look that Harry had laughingly told them "would put Jamie's puppy eyed stare to shame," Hermione had always found herself giving in and showering her daughter with kisses, making the misbehaving girl giggle in delight.
"Every bloody time," Ron used to teased her. "I never thought I would be the one to discipline our child. If we have another one with those eyes, can you believe the chaos they could create together? I'll take the next one with brown eyes, thank you very much."
So, Hermione had stopped taking the birth control potion and had let nature run its course. Three months later had found her using a spell to produce urine enough for seventeen pregnancy tests. Ron told her that she was completely mental, but Hermione had explained that it wouldn't feel right otherwise. If it turned out to be lucky enough the first time they had done it this way, why not do it again for the second time?
The truth was that she hadn't really wanted to tempt fate, not that she actually believed in it, mind you. Hermione always tried to act on logic and facts, but when it came to raising a family, she had a lot of proof that logic was overrated.
And as it turned out, she had been right. Seventeen sticks later were, for Ron "the most revolting, unusual exams" she had ever taken, but for Hermione, they were the most lovely and proudest seventeen sticks of her life so far, the ones that proved that she and Ron had created yet another life together, in spite of all the difficulties they had overcome in all the years they'd been together and in love.
Including those sticks, the grand total was fifty Muggle pregnancy tests that she had taken and treasured up until now. When Hermione had told Ron that she had the evidence that another Weasley was on its way lying on their bathroom floor, he had laughed in the most delicious manner and proceeded to thoroughly snog her.
"That's an awful lot of pee, luv," he had said, as he kissed her everywhere with that talented mouth of his, tracing patterns that had lit her skin on fire.
She was the luckiest witch alive, and she knew it.
After Hugo arrived, with his lively boyishness and fascination with everything Muggle (making him Arthur's willing comrade in hiding, fixing and tampering with Muggle devices in his Granddad's shed, away from Molly's nagging), Hermione and Ron knew they were quite content with their small but boisterous brood of two. Their dream of a big, close-knit family had faded away with the exhausting demands of their careers and home lives.
But now, Hermione was leaning against the bathroom sink with a heart beating as fast as if she had just run a marathon across the entire country.
"Well, that's one way of looking at it."
The culprit of her wretched nerves lay innocently enough on her sink, as if it had nothing to do with the edginess that coursed through her body, nothing to do with the tears that were threatening to fall from her eyes. Hermione was nearly falling apart, and the worst part of it was that her still surprised and disbelieving self wasn't being comforted by her own gobsmacked husband.
This was the most perplexing, disconcerting and amazing situation she had found herself in the last eight years. This was the type of situation one couldn't expect to find themselves in on the verge of turning thirty-eight years old.
Maybe if you were an eighteen year old girl, just fresh out of Hogwarts. Or maybe a more experienced woman, in their mid-twenties or early thirties. But when you're an almost forty year-old witch with a daughter about to embark on her first year at Hogwarts, it's downright embarrassing.
She didn't needanother child. They certainly hadn't planned on having another one after Hugo, particularly at their advanced age! It wasn't as if she was ancient, but Hermione felt too old to face another round of sleepless nights, nappy changes and hormonal madness.
She had already deemed herself as too old, too damaged and too scarred of a woman to do this again. Hermione had already dealt with a miscarriage, an emergency c-section and a traumatizing experience with child birth – more than enough to drive anyone out of having children for a long time, and some more.
After Hugo's birth, which had gone far less smoothly than Rose's (and that was saying something, considering the circumstances in which her daughter was born), her ObGyn Wizard told her that another pregnancy, for her, was highly unlikely and undesirable.
This hadn't bothered her as much as it would've before. She had been completely enamoured with her audacious girl and her endearing baby boy, and they were as much of a handful as they came. Any remaining desire for having another child was quickly discarded after seeing Hannah and Neville trying to handle their five kids, or watching Harry and Ginny struggle with their trio.
No, Hermione and Ron had agreed that two children was definitely the best option to preserve one's sanity, and they valued theirs immensely.
"After all, it is what's keeping you from turning into Luna," Ron had informed her, earning a perfectly aimed whack on the back of the head accompanied by Rosie's demand of wanting to see her Aunt Luna to play with the twins and Hugo's delighted cry of "Do it again, Mummy!"
What a handful they were, those two adored children.
Rose and Hugo bickered as fiercely as Hermione and Ron did, were as sneaky as Ginny had been when she was little, and they were as clever, imaginative and prone to mischievous behaviour as Fred and George had been. Together, her children were an unstoppable force of nature, creators of chaos, and they tried (sometimes with success, Hermione was ashamed to admit) to evade their parents' wrath and punishments.
The worst of it was when Rose and Hugo were joined by Freddie, Jamie, Roxanne and Louis; they could be classified as a menace to society, Wizarding and Muggle. The usually soothing effects that the presence of Al, Lucy and Lily's calm personalities had upon their children did little to control Hugo and Rosie when the other troublemakers were around: Freddie with his ingenious schemes, Jamie and his brazen attitude, Roxanne's cunningness and Louis' impressive ability to charm anyone into doing his bidding.
And when Rox and Rosie were inseparable and Hugo worshipped the ground his cousins stepped on, little could be done to separate the Cheeky Six, as Molly affectionately called them when they were together.
So, Ron and Hermione's lives were anything but dull. Apart from their children, they still had exceptionally demanding jobs to contend with, jobs that worked them to their very core, but that they treasured nonetheless. Hermione constantly worked alongside other departments of the Ministry and travelled overseas to seal agreements between Wizarding nations. Her job was challenging, but she loved everything about it. Hermione felt as if she had helped make a difference in the values of Wizarding society.
Ron, after ten years working as an Auror with Harry as his partner, invested his innate talent into training the newcomers of the Department, and was now the head of the recruitment team. Legendary for his unorthodox methods of training, respected amongst his peers and admired by his recruits, Ron had secured a well-deserved reputation as being another Moody in the making with the exception of still maintaining his original body parts and being far less paranoid, but just as competent and important to the division.
Hermione couldn't be more proud of the man he had become, the man she always knew he could be even when he wasn't quite sure himself.
Ron always thought she was joking when she said she had complete and utter faith in him. And even though sometimes she told him that just to take the piss out of him, she positively meant it. He was her hero. He was the love of her life.
"I wager you say that to all your husbands," he had joked when he pillow-talked this confession out of her a certain night.
"Only to the Wizard ones," she'd played along, "with bright red-hair and freckles."
"So just the rest of my brothers, then." Ron had smirked. "With the exception of Charlie, of course. It would be a rather tricky long-distance affair to carry on."
"Or so you would like to think," she'd added, her eyes twinkling with amusement, fighting the urge to laugh at her husband's antics, "but I have my ways."
"I bet you do," he had replied,and silenced her with an unnerving efficiency provided by some many years of marriage and companionship.
They still loved each with a passion that the years couldn't dampen. Hermione would smile whenever she recalled the time Rose had a Ministry hearing for the recurring use of underage magic when she was nine years old. Her daughter had learned silencing spells at the ripe age of seven, by herself, practicing with Hermione's easily discarded wand when she and Ron were too wrapped up in each other to remember their wands, and she had used the spell on them. As the years passed, their lovemaking grew more daring, blithe and satisfying, both of them completely in tune with each other's bodies, as well as their own.
And if her math wasn't off, the mortifying situation that Hermione was currently experiencing was the result of all the careless fun they had had four weeks ago.
She blamed Ginny Potter for this, for on that memorable afternoon, her sister-in-law had volunteered herself and her husband to take their children to the beach to give Hermione and Ron some quality time by themselves at the summer house the Potters and the Weasleys had bought together in Cornwall.
While they had basked in the glorious sunlight and blessed quietness, a summer storm had suddenly made an appearance. Ron had given her a sheepish, lopsided grin that crumbled any possibility of resistance and protest, not that Hermione was offering any. She had been just as eager as he was. Sex in the rain was their thing.
And that was most definitely the reason for her current predicament.
She could hear the deep masculine voice that belonged to her husband across the hall in Hugo's bedroom, telling the nine year old the story of Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump. Rosie's sluggish voice asked for a different story, and Hermione found herself growing melancholy at the upcoming loss of this treasured routine. Her daughter would be heading for school in just a few days, and Hugo would soon follow her. Then only Ron and Hermione would remain, all alone in their old house, overcrowded with books.
A silent house. A childless house.
A month earlier, Hermione would have been thanking the skies for this, looking forward to being able to lie around on Sundays, wearing nothing but her knickers and an overgrown Chudley Canons shirt that had been Ron's when he was a teenager.
Somehow, Hermione felt different about this today. What a couple of weeks ago seemed like a foolish and life-risking possibility, today felt like a vital yearn, like a sweet promise of love and new beginnings. She had come from being satisfied with her experiences with motherhood to desiring a baby that might not even be real, that might not even be there. But she wanted that confirmation of her love for Ron, of that beautiful, crazy afternoon they had in Cornwall.
And that was because up until then, Hermione hadn't been confronted with the harsh, saddening possibilities of what could've been happening to her. She had been having headaches, and had been constantly tired. Her breasts were tender, and she felt like a human roller coaster of emotions. And after missing her monthly cycle, Hermione had been sure two things could've been happening to her: she was either looking at a highly unlikely possibility of a pregnancy or at the symptoms of a very, very early menopause, just like her mother had experienced. She couldn't decide which possibility was scarier.
Hermione had tried not to dwell on it, tried to ignore the symptoms for two whole weeks, until her missed period had warned her that regardless of all her wishful thinking, this wasn't going away, and she had to deal with it.
The first step had been taken; she had acknowledged the problem. Then, she'd had to decide how to deal with it. Should she read more to try to find out what was happening to her body by herself, or consult a Healer right away?
Then, last night, Hermione had remembered. She'd remembered the ones she loved dearly, the ones whose presence she missed every day, the ones whose imprints she could see on herself, on her children. In Rose's eyes. In her love for poetry, and the distinct scent she possessed. In the colour of Hugo's shaggy hair, a deep chestnut-brown similar to her father's. In his slightly big front teeth, hazel eyes and his penchant for music.
She had remembered her mother telling her about the joy of seeing those sticks turn positive. She had remembered her own joy when they had.
Would it be so bad to have another baby, to rediscover things she had once thought lost in the ones she loved and that had passed away? Would it be so awful to have another testament of the love she and Ron shared? Another baby on the way, ready to fill their house with more love, laughter and life?
"No," Hermione realized. It would be the most beautiful thing.
So she had dared to dream about becoming a mother again, at the unlikely age of thirty-eight. She began to hope and dream again. It was possible; stranger things have happened. Luna had proved the existence of Nargles, hadn't she?
And the other idea, the one that her rational mind kept reminding her was a possibility, suddenly seemed downright abominable. Too unkind to be true.
So, the previous night, Hermione had decided that she had dwelled and considered the possibilities long enough. She had waited and hoped, but now it was time to discover the truth. She was a woman of action, after all. All Hermione wanted to know was if she had hoped, longed and waited in vain.
Now she simply had to know.
Hermione had often proved she was a fearless woman, even though she didn't exactly feel that way at the moment. But this was the moment of truth, and stalling it, avoiding it, wouldn't make it any less devastating if she were wrong and the test turned pink instead of blue. It wouldn't make it any less surprising if she were right.
Would her dreams come true? Would she get the chance of carrying another child again? Would she get to have a new baby to claim as hers and Ron's?
And if she was wrong, would she fall apart like she did all those times she had thought she might be pregnant, but wasn't? Was Hermione setting herself up for more disappointment, bitterness and heartache?
No. Come what may, she knew things were drastically different this time.
She had Ron.
She had Rose.
She had Hugo.
She had thrice as much as love, support and affection as she had had before.
And that was enough to make any woman the luckiest woman alive.
Hermione Granger-Weasley was no coward. Standing in front of the sink, clutching that urine-smelling ray of hope in her hands, telling herself that shecould do this; she was a Gryffindor after all. Listening to her children's innocent voices bidding their father goodnight, Hermione prepared herself for what was about to come. Whatever it may be. Pink or blue. Blue or pink.
"I have to find out."
Whether the test turned the colour she wanted it to turn or not, Hermione knew she could handle whatever life tossed in her direction. She was her parents' daughter, she was Ronald Weasley's wife, she was Rose and Hugo's mother.
Most importantly, she was her own person, Hermione Granger-Weasley, and she was sure that she was as strong as her parents willed her to be, that she could bend and not break.
So she looked.
And there it was.
A blue stick, holding all of her hopes and dreams with it.
Adrenaline ran through her body, and Hermione didn't feel like the luckiest woman alive anymore. She felt like she was more than that, that she also was the most blessed, most fortunate woman to ever have walked on the planet.
Ron knocked on the bathroom door.
"Ready to come out, love? The kids are asking for you."
She opened the door, controlling the huge smile of triumph that snuck its way onto her lips. Hermione looked into the depths of her husband's eyes, his blues darker than the one she held hidden within her hands.
She couldn't love that colour more than she already did.
"So?" He was peering at her with apprehension written all over his face at the sight of her inscrutable expression. "Which colour did the sodding thing turn?"
"I hope you're proud of yourself for doing this, Ronald Weasley." Hermione wanted to make him as happy and surprised as she was with the results of their little Cornwall escapade. "Because now you'll have to tell your mother that her randy git of a son managed to turn his wife's pregnancy stick blue again."
And thus the third Great Massacre of Names, also known as the epic and endless discussion of the virtues of Priscilla versus Artemisia, began.
A.N: And that's the end of it, loves. I hope you've enjoyed as much as I did. Last chance to review and let me know what you thought! ;)