He was twenty-five years old. He had fought Death Eaters. Surely, he could find Hermione a Valentine's gift. Jaw set in determination; Ron strode into Siren's Secrets only to halt inside the door. "Merlin," he whispered, gaping at the sea of knickers. "I'd rather duel a Dark wizard."
On the walls, paintings of famous sirens smiled down at him. Ron swallowed hard. He could almost hear his mother hiss, "Scarlet women!" When the closest painting blew him a kiss, he averted his eyes from Lorelei's seashells to gaze at the clothing. His heart sank. How he would ever find what he was looking for?
"Good afternoon, sir. May I help you?"
Ron blinked. Even the employees looked like sirens! "Yeah," he said. "Uh—maternity?"
He followed the clerk through a maze of silk and satin, trying not to gawk at some of the displays. He and Hermione didn't need things like "lickable" massage oil. The only requirement they had for an amazing sex life was each other—and a wizarding version of the Kama Sutra.
In the back of the shop, Ron discovered there were two distinct styles of maternity apparel. There was the kind that could pass as sleepwear, and the sort designed to inspire lovemaking. Hermione would like the camisole with a skirt to drape over her curves, but his eye fixed on a black "babydoll."
"Those criss-cross ribbons at the side," he said, pointing. "Are they adjustable?"
"Yes, to fit all the stages of pregnancy." The clerk lifted the silky material off the rack to give him a better look. "It has double shoulder straps and an underwire to support cleavage."
Ron glanced over at the more traditional, pink-rose coloured camisole. "Does that one come with…erm…knickers?"
"It has a matching dip front bikini."
It took a moment for him to figure out "dip front" meant the undergarment would fit below the belly. He approved. Some maternity knickers reminded him of the panties Aunt Muriel used to hang over the towel rod in his bathroom when she visited over Christmas holiday. They were dead scary, not sexy!
"What about that one?" he asked, pointing to the black lingerie.
"A low rise lace thong."
The collar of Ron's wizard robes was starting to feel tight. He gave it a tug and made a decision.
- - -
On Valentine's Day, dinner and dancing led to a mutual desire for more intimate celebration. At home, Ron paced while waiting for Hermione to change. When she entered the bedroom, he stared. "You chose the black."
Hermione's smile was as radiant as her skin. "I'll wear the camisole another time," she said. "Tonight, I wanted something to go with my present for you." She held up a tiny paintbrush and a jar of chocolate body paint.
Ron took her into his arms. "Smart, beautiful, loving: I am the luckiest man in the world."
After a long, sweet kiss, Hermione said, "May I have that in writing?"
He grinned and reached for the paintbrush.