Chapter 1: Oops!
The gentle morning sun tapped at the window of a snug, vine-embroidered cottage. It was very quiet, and the curtains had been drawn close. This was very odd, for usually at least the bushy-haired occupant sat at the porch with a steaming cup of coffee and a fresh newspaper at this time of the morning.
There was a narrow gap between the curtains, and determined to see what was going on, the sun slipped a ray through it. The ray fell on a bed with a cream-coloured duvet, under which lay two bumps, breathing evenly. The ray tickled a hand dangling over the edge of the bed, and the owner stirred. The familiar mass of brown hair emerged from under the duvet, bushier than ever, and the sun smiled. This was more like it.
Hermione stretched, yawning widely, and turned to look out of the window. The white curtains were a blazing sea of light; it promised to be another glorious spring day. She yawned again, which surprised her as she had slept rather well. But lately there had been a strange heaviness about her, an overpowering feeling of drowsiness.
Ah! She perked up as she remembered a discussion from the previous day. That tip her boss had given her... She put one foot on the floor and shivered as the coolness brushed her toes. The warm bed had never been so inviting.
Ron moved a bit and opened one eye.
'Mornin',' he said sleepily and slid his hand on Hermione's tummy under the duvet. 'Where are you going?'
'To get the paper,' Hermione said. A pleasant shiver ran through her at Ron's touch, and she snuggled back into the sleepy warmness. Maybe she could wait for just a moment.
'Come on, it's Saturday,' Ron muttered and buried his head in her hair. 'No rush.'
'But Juliana said today's Prophet might have a sneak peek of that new book about the history of the Gringotts goblins!' Hermione said eagerly.
'Hermione, Hermione,' Ron mumbled into her ear and pulled her close. 'Your husband has a much better proposition for you...'
Hermione smiled at the blue eyes flickering naughtily at her under locks of tousled red hair.
'Fine. But you'll have to listen to everything I say about the book afterwards, and not run off to play Quidditch with Harry,' she whispered.
'Promised,' Ron said solemnly, his hand wandering down her back. 'Now, come here...'
Quietness overtook the cosy little bedroom, save a few soft murmurs, and the sun withdrew its eyes politely. Newlyweds, always the same.
'This is so exciting!' Hermione said, propping the paper against the juice jug and balancing a sandwich on her knee. 'The book will include actual interviews of the goblins! They've never talked to anyone before! I have to get this book as soon as it comes out, and you know, Juliana said her uncle might get it for me with a discount!'
'Goblins,' Ron said and sipped his tea, looking amused. 'Is that your newest mission?'
'Well, they are terribly isolated, and isolation is never good, as it breeds prejudice and narrow-mindedness,' Hermione replied thoughtfully.
Ron grinned and buttered himself another slice of bread.
'As long as you don't bring any home. Aren't you eating that sandwich?'
'Oh yes - maybe.' Hermione looked at the ham-covered slice of bread doubtfully. 'I'm just not that hungry now.'
'What's wrong? You didn't eat yesterday either.'
'I guess I'm too excited about the book,' Hermione said and caressed the photo in the Daily Prophet. It showed the publisher beaming and holding the book beside a surly-looking goblin.
'Well, give it to me then. We don't want to waste it,' Ron said and took the sandwich. 'Any other plans for today?'
'Ginny said she'd pop in, and I really have to do something about the guest bedroom; it's still full of boxes. You know, Muggles have this line of home furnishings called Laura Ashley, and it's really stylish and elegant. I'm wondering if wizards have something in the same style. Oh, and I brought home a couple of reports to read before Monday. And of course I still have those books and magazines Dad and Mum sent me.'
'Those books about Muggle politics and history? Don't you have enough to read in all the books we got as wedding gifts?'
'I want to keep up with the Muggle world,' Hermione said, blushing as she remembered the piles of books all around the living room. 'Besides, my job requires a lot of knowledge.'
'Sure.' Ron's eyes twinkled behind the tea cup. 'The biography of the Muggle Prime Minister and an in-depth look into the shopping habits of male wizards in the 18th century are absolutely essential.'
Hermione couldn't help laughing.
'You're the one to talk. Look at all the Quidditch gear in the shed!'
'I need good flying skills in my job,' Ron said unperturbed and ate Hermione's sandwich. 'It's imperative.'
A knock on the door interrupted Hermione's reply, and soon Ginny peeked in, Harry in tow.
'You're both still having breakfast! What's going on?'
Hermione glanced at Ron, whose ears had gone red. Harry nudged Ginny with grin.
'Don't ask things like that from newlyweds.'
Ron rushed up, his ears flaming, and downed the rest of his tea with one swig.
'Come on, Harry,' he grunted and disappeared to the hall.
Hermione pushed her coffee cup away, trying to look unbothered, even though she had a strange urge to burst into hysterical laughter. If Harry and Ginny had heard the things Ron had whispered to her only an hour earlier!
'So,' Ginny said and vacated Ron's seat. 'A late morning - ah, crumpets and Mum's jam. Can I have some?'
Hermione nodded, and Ginny scooped a generous amount of jam and butter on a crumpet.
'James kept me up again last night, and I was too tired to eat anything at breakfast.'
'Where is he?' Hermione asked and handed Ginny a napkin.
'Sleeping on the porch,' Ginny said through her mouthful and peeked out of the window. 'Harry's got him. You know, I swear the tot does it on purpose -keeps us up every night and naps happily all day long.'
'At least you can eat,' Hermione sighed. 'I couldn't eat a thing this morning or yesterday. I'm so tired, too. I think I must have a cold or something.'
'As a matter of fact...' Ginny tore off a piece of crumpet with a mischievous smile. 'I'm eating for two.'
Ginny nodded, her eyes sparkling.
'Oh Ginny!' Hermione squeezed Ginny's arm affectionately. 'That's wonderful news!'
'Yes, although I must admit I'm a bit nervous about having two so soon. Harry's thrilled, though. So, when are you due?'
'What?' Hermione leaned back so quickly that her cup fell over.
'You're pregnant, too, aren't you?' Ginny said calmly and lifted the cup up. 'Mum says it's positively scary, but I tend to notice if someone has a bun in the oven, and I think you look just like it. Besides, didn't you say you were feeling tired and nauseous?'
But Hermione sat speechless, her elbow in the puddle of cold coffee. For once, her calculations had failed her -utterly and completely.