Author's note: Here's an extra chapter of MoL that I never posted for some reason. :-) It was originally chapter 14, with three weeks to go to Rosie's birth.
EXTRA: The Hormone Hurricane
EXTRA: The Hormone Hurricane
Hermione sat painfully in a squishy armchair and positioned a pink bucket in front of herself. It swung in the air and toppled slightly as water sloshed into it from her wand. As the bucket filled, Hermione flipped through the pages of A Yesteryear Pregnancy that was floating in midair on her other side.
'Come on,' she muttered. 'You have to have something for back aches and insomnia...'
The bucket filled to the brim, and Hermione guided it carefully on the floor by her feet. Several small fabric pouches lay on her belly, and one slid to the floor as she peeked down to see that the bucket was in the right spot.
'Stupid root of beannut.' Hermione gave the disobedient pouch a nasty look. 'Fine, you go away, I don't need you. You're useless, like me. A huge, useless whale that can't sleep or even walk properly.'
She browsed frantically through the rest of the pouches and finally extracted two, lavender and mint. A delicious smell filled the room as she opened the drawstrings and charmed the herbs to pour into the bucket. She winced a bit as her hot feet sunk into the water, but soon a sweet sense of relief overtook her, and she leaned against the back of the chair. Her whole body relaxed and her wand fell on the floor from her limp hand.
Drat. She couldn't bend forward more than a few inches, if that, and getting up was impossible with both of her feet in the slippery bucket.
'Ron!' she called. A distant snore was the only answer. 'Ron!'
Nothing, not even a snore this time. Hermione ground her teeth.
'Ronald Weasley! You're responsible for this, so get your botty up and here RIGHT NOW!'
A bang told her that Ron had woken up, and soon he appeared in the doorway, wild-eyed and tousle-haired.
'What? You all right?' His eyes fixed on a wet spot on Hermione's nightgown, and he rushed towards her. 'Did your water break? Okay, don't panic! Just lie down and I'll...um, boil some hot water!'
'Calm down, my water didn't break. I just dropped my wand and I can't get u-up...' Hermione couldn't hold back a sob.
Ron picked up the wand and looked at the pink bucket with a confused expression.
'Why are you sitting with your feet in a bucket in the middle of the night?'
'Because in case you haven't noticed, I'm a whale and it's impossible for me to sleep comfortably.'
'Nah, you're not a whale.' Ron rumpled Hermione's hair. 'A small seal, maybe, but '
'Okay, okay, joking. Do you want a backrub?'
Hermione looked up, digging her fingernails into the soft velvet of the chair.
'And how would you do it? I can't lie on my stomach or sit without a back support. Look at my belly!'
Ron cocked his head and stroked his chin.
'Well, it's a Weasley baby, what do you expect?'
Hermione sniffed. She could feel the wave coming, and she quickly accioed herself a tissue from the kitchen counter. 'It's just...I really don't like being so helpless...oh Ron!' She buried her face in the tissue.
'What's wrong?' Ron knelt down by the chair. 'Are you sick?'
'No,' Hermione said with a hiccough. 'But I tried to put on my slippers, and my...my...feet don't fit in t-them any-m-more!'
'Ah, that's okay.' Ron patted Hermione's arm. 'I thought it was something serious.'
'This is serious!'
'But women's feet always swell at the end of pregnancy. It says so in those books of yours.'
Hermione drew a deep breath and lifted her chin as dignifiedly as she could with her nose running.
'I can't believe you said that.'
'What?' Ron said puzzledly. 'They do, it's normal!'
'Maybe it's best you went back to sleep,' Hermione said icily and turned the page of her book.
'Can you ever learn to understand women?' Ron said morosely and threw his jacket on the table of the Aurors' lounge.
'Nope,' Harry said and flopped in a chair with a report in his hand. 'Problems in paradise?'
'I don't get it.' Ron popped open a can of sizzling pumpkin juice and lifted his feet on the table. 'I mean, last night Hermione was freaking out because her feet were swollen. I told her it's normal -I tried to make her feel better- and she flipped out on me.'
Harry nodded slowly, chewing the tip of his pen.
'I think the right thing to say would have been, 'Sweetie, your feet are not swollen and you look fantastic.''
'But her feet were swollen, and she was agonising about it!'
'Female logic.' Harry shrugged. 'Or just pregnancy hormones. I know Ginny went berserk in the last weeks when we were expecting James. She thought she had lost her figure forever and she could never play Quidditch again. It was like walking on glass all day long. She's much more relaxed now, but I feel for you, mate.'
'Thanks,' Ron said and leaned back, his eyes fixed on the ceiling. 'Three more weeks...'
Ron closed the door cautiously and folded his jacket on a stool. He smoothed out his trousers and checked his hair in the mirror before he stepped into the living room. The window was open, and a faint smell of cinnamon hung in the air.
'Ron!' Hermione emerged from the kitchen with a plaid scarf around her head and a vigorously swinging feather duster bobbing in the air ahead of her. She let the feather duster drop on the sofa and wobbled to Ron.
'I'm so sorry I snapped at you last night! I - I missed you s-so m-much...' She buried her head against Ron's chest.
'That's all right,' Ron said, more confused than ever, and wrapped his arms around Hermione. Her belly was so big that he could hardly make his fingertips meet any more. 'I know you must be really uncomfortable, so I spoke to Mum this morning. She'd be happy to come and help you -'
Hermione pulled back abruptly and waved her hand.
'Thanks, but no need for that. I'm fine! In fact, I made some cinnamon rolls!' She wiped her nose and pulled Ron to the kitchen, where a kettle was bubbling cheerfully on the stove.
'Have you been cleaning?' Ron asked as Hermione pushed him in a chair and shoved a cinnamon roll in his hand. 'You absolutely shouldn't do that in your condition.'
'Oh, poppycock,' Hermione said and took the teapot. 'Do you like them? I made three batches.'
Ron bit into the rock-hard roll.
'It's, er, perfect,' he said, massaging his cheek. 'Look, you really should be sitting down. The nurse told you to take it easy until the birth.'
'Tosh, I feel great.' Hermione slammed a jar of jam on the table. 'It's Your Baby says women should listen to their own bodies more than nurses and doctors. I for one am going to clean the whole house before the baby arrives!'
'See, I was thinking we could redecorate the living room. I know the baby's cot will be in our bedroom at first, but I really think we could pick lighter fabrics for the curtains, and -'
Ron rose up, took the teapot from Hermione's hand, and put it on the table.
'No, you're not going to clean the house, and no, you're not going to redecorate the living room,' he said firmly. 'You have three weeks till your due date, and you're going to rest. I want a happy and healthy wife and a happy and healthy baby.'
Hermione opened her mouth, but Ron pressed his finger gently on her lips.
'Mum and I will do the housework. In fact, I think she's going to pop in at any time now. She's been helping Ginny assemble that new cot they got from Magical Babies yesterday...what's wrong?'
Hermione's lips were trembling violently, and a lone tear was flowing down her cheek.
'No, no, please don't cry again!' Ron said desperately. 'Look, I'm sorry. I just want you and the baby to be well.'
'It's not that,' Hermione said and blew her nose in the dish rag. 'I feel so useless and ugly! I don't like just sitting at home and doing nothing. I can't sleep because my back aches constantly, and I can't sit or lie comfortably either. And now my feet don't fit in m-my s-shoes anymore! And you're probably repulsed by me, too. You haven't, you know, touched me for a while...'
'Hermione...' Ron swept a curl from Hermione's hot face. 'Remember last night? You haven't exactly been begging for me to touch you.' He reached to hug Hermione, but she wrenched herself away.
'I'm sorry, I'm being ridiculous. I feel great! I think I'll wash the windows now...'
'Oh, for heaven's sake,' Ron said exasperatedly. 'Don't you think that you're getting a tad swept away with the pregnancy hormones?'
'Nonsense.' Hermione sniffed and squirted bright green liquid into the sink. 'My hormones are fine and orderly, thank you very much. I'll start here, and oh...' Her hand dropped.
Ron took a deep breath.
'I I...it looks like I forgot to do the dishes. I'm a bit scatterbrained these days. Well, never mind, I'll have the brush do them first...oh, but our brush broke this morning. I was trying to clean the loo with it.'
Hermione's shoulders lurched. Ron detached the sticky bottle gently from her hand.
'It's all right.' He turned Hermione towards the bed room. 'You've worked way too hard today, and now it's time to rest.'
'But who's going to buy a new brush and clean the windows?'
'I am, or Mum.'
'You don't know how to clean the windows! You have to be very particular with the spell, or otherwise the cloth will leave marks -'
'You know what, my little maniac?' Ron turned Hermione's chin to himself and placed a soft kiss on her lips. 'Why don't you sit in the same room and supervise me, and I promise to oblige your every command.' He brushed his nose against her cheek and blew in her ear so that a tingle went down her spine. 'And for your pleasure, I'll be...naked.'