Slowly and quietly as to avoid interrupting what was happening near the window in their cottage's living room, Hermione leaned against the kitchen's doorframe and smiled indulgently. She watched her husband with delight as he was holding their six month old godson, James, and whispering to him some words that made the little boy move his arms happily, something he always did with his Uncle Ron.
Ron and Hermione very much enjoyed having little James spend several hours with them on Sundays in order to allow Harry and Ginny to have some time alone. Ginny said that she and Harry didn't want to bother them, but Hermione insisted. She quite loved sharing moments with their godson and seeing how James never failed to put Ron in a very good mood.
Hermione somewhat felt that Ginny didn't want to upset her because she was having trouble getting pregnant.
At first, Hermione didn't worry too much about not getting pregnant because it was a common occurrence among young witches who had fought in the final battle; the extent of the damages caused by certain spells on their wombs made conception difficult.
However, James's presence gave Hermione hope that she and Ron would one day be able to build their own family. They needed to insist, to try every treatment available. They weren't get used to getting things the easy way, so it was only another hard battle to fight in their lives.
Hermione smiled at Ron and James, silently noting their smiling faces and the vivid colours of their clothes. The bright colors that dressed such scene contrasted nicely with the white snowy, landscape that could be seen outside the window. It was a cold and peaceful Sunday afternoon in late November, and Hermione was enjoying being at home. She especially enjoyed hearing how Ron's voice took on an amusing and tender tone when he spoke to the baby.
"You have strong hands, mate," gushed Ron. "And your eyes are like your mummy's. Have I told you that your mummy and I flew on the same broom a day after she turned seven?" The baby cooed happily as Ron continued."We really enjoyed it, but your granny Molly had kittens about it, so we didn't get dessert at dinner that night. But it was worth it; I had a great time with my baby sister."
Hermione's smile faded a bit, and she bit her lip as she thought about the next day, when she'd have another appointment with her Healer. It could be another day that could only increase her and Ron's frustration. Hermione stubbornly tried to put it out of her mind since she didn't want to get teary-eyed. She had to make it.
We will make it.
After three years of enjoying their marriage and settling into their careers, they had decided to have a baby. But what could be seen as a simple decision and a reasonable step in a married couple's life became a complex and frustrating experience.
They'd endured almost two years of going to appointments with different Healers and tried all kinds of fertility treatments, but everything seemed to be in vain. She had got opinions about the problem from both Muggle doctors and Wizard Healers, getting fewer hopes from the Muggle side than the Magical.
Hermione couldn't help herself from feeling disappointed, especially when she and Ron had to hear the Healer say it had been another treatment in vain. With every failed treatment, she saw the unhappiness in her husband's eyes. He tried, unsuccessfully, to hide it from her, squeezing her hand as they sat hearing the Healer's news. Later at home, he would spoil her as much as he could, trying to help them both forget the disappointing news.
It was all very painful for Hermione. She wanted to start a family with Ron as much as he did, and she feared that the possibilities were growing slimmer day by day. The heart of the matter was that the fertility problem made her feel quite useless. She knew everything about fertility issues and the proper treatments for fixing them from all the books she'd read about the subject. She felt like she was doing everything she possibly and rationally could. She knew books didn't always have the solutions, but they would always be a comfort to her.
The torture she suffered at Malfoy Manor due to the repeated Cruciatus curse caused damage that might be cured. The Healers from whom she had sought help had never said hers was a hopeless case, but after almost all the treatments had been tried, her rational mind yielded often to her emotional side: maybe she and Ron had to live with the thought that they couldn't conceive a child of their own…
But they needed to believe that they could make it happen.
James's cooing interrupted Hermione's train of thought. Ron was now close to her, and she hadn't even noticed him coming towards her. James stretched his little arms out to her, and Ron grinned as Hermione held her godson in her arms and kissed his cheek. He put an arm around Hermione's shoulders. "Are you sure that you don't mind going to your appointment alone? I can change my shift with Matthew, the rookie that I told you about yesterday."
Hermione walked to the couch followed by her husband, and they both sat down. Ron took James in his arms while Hermione reached into James's baby bag on the floor for a nappy. Crookshanks had taken a great, playful interest in the ribbon attached to the bag. "Yes, I am sure. It's just another routine appointment. If there were any good news, I'm sure Healer Bale would have owled us Thursday when he got the tests results back."
Ron leaned in to kiss her. "Have I told you that you are the bravest woman I have ever met?"
Hermione took James and laid him on the couch to change his nappy. She used her wand to vanish the dirty nappy and proceeded to put another one after cleaning James. She looked at the most beautiful blue eyes that had warmed her heart for such a long time in her life, an amused hint in his eyes. "Yes, love. Don't forget that I was your best friend before we became a couple."
Ron laughed and caressed James's cheek as the child tried to hold on to his fingers. "How could I forget our rows, and how you were right most of time? But you know what I mean, Hermione. I love you, no matter if we can be parents or not. Never forget that, love."
Hermione gulped. She felt the unshed tears, that she had fought against before, sliding down her face. She couldn't wish for Ron to be more understanding or patient. She had often wondered how Ron had wanted to be better person when he had been a great man for so long. She felt like the luckiest of the women, even if some of their dreams might not ever come true.
Hermione gave Ron the most genuine smile she could muster. "I know, Ron. I love you too."
St. Mungo's Hospital, Spell Damage Department.
Hermione was reading a book while she waited for her turn with Healer Bale. She was a bit nervous, and the fact that the Healer was very late, which was very unusual for him, wasn't helping at all. She berated herself to stay calm; as she had told Ron, it would be another routine appointment. However, she couldn't help feeling as if something was wrong. Three Trainee Healers were speaking behind the reception counter and looking at her, something which was not helping her nerves either.
Then, Lillian, the Trainee Healer working with Dr. Bale, called Hermione while she gave a few papers to another Trainee Healer, whose blonde hair tied in a plait looked somehow familiar to Hermione. As she stood up, Hermione nagged herself to stop with her nonsensical rambling: she must have seen this somewhat familiar Trainee during a previous appointment.
Trainee Lillian gave a hesitant smile to Hermione after she had written a few words in a dossier that looked like Hermione's medical profile. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Weasley, but Healer Bale sustained several injuries when he fell from the broom he was flying at the weekly hospital's Quidditch game last Saturday."
Hermione sighed while Healer Lillian looked for her quill to add additional information to the medical profile.
Damn Quidditch! Stupid vice that attracts all men, Healers included.
Hermione gave a weak smile to Healer Lillian, as she continued. "May I give your medical profile to Healer Maguire? He can see you today. And Miss Brown, Healer Maguire's Trainee Healer, can take the blood sample for the routine tests. If you agree, of course. I'm afraid Healer Bale will be at home for long time recovering, and your next appointment might take quite a whileto be re-scheduled if you wait."
Hermione looked at her watch. She needed to hurry up to get back and give her most recent report for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Creatures, and there wasn't time to owl Ron. She usually preferred that he could be with her every time she met a new Healer.
However, she agreed with the Trainee Healer. "Yes, I would like to see Healer Maguire, please."
Hermione couldn't avoid staring discreetly at the Trainee Healer who worked with Healer Maguire. She swore that the woman was waiting for a signal from Hermione, letting her know where they'd met before.
Hermione knew St. Mungo's only hired the best Healer staff in the Magical world, so a new opinion about the possibilities of recovering from the damages of the Cruciatus was a good idea. Maybe this new Healer might help them find the key that was missing to cure her fertility issues.
Meanwhile, the familiar woman hesitantly moved closer to her. As she got closer Hermione realized that this trainee was the last person on earth with whom Hermione would expect to share her situation.
"Don't you remember me, Hermione? I was wondering which Mrs. Weasley needed help about spell damages from Healer Maguire. I had no idea it was you. Oh sorry, I'm talking too much. How are you?"
Hermione tried to give Lavender a smile but failed miserably. She looked prettier than she used to be, but her character seemed not to have changed much. Hermione took a deep breath. This couldn't be happening to her.
"Hi, Lavender. I'm fine and you? Congratulations on your choice of career. It's very noble."
Lavender smiled while leading Hermione slowly by the arm to a corner of the room. Trainee Lillian was trying to listen to their conversation as she wrote in another patient's profile.
"Can I speak to you for two minutes, please? We could get a drink of water in the cafeteria, if you'd prefer. Water won't influence your upcoming blood tests. I'll be quick."
Hermione's heartbeat speed up. Why on earth would Lavender want to talk to her before taking the blood tests?
What else can happen to me today?
Both women left the reception area, and Hermione thought that it wasn't a bad thing after all that Ron hadn't exchanged his shift with Matthew.
Twenty minutes later…
If Hermione was feeling odd about this meeting, she was sure that Lavender's nerves were a wreck. The smiling blonde had squeezed her napkin so much that it was now crumbled on the table. At last, she began, looking hesitantly at Hermione.
"First and foremost, I want apologize for all things I've said about you in the past. I was a silly girl. Even when I dated Ron, you know… that was just jealousy because I knew…well, I knew what everyone knew about both of you… but the chance arose and I couldn't help myself."
Lavender looked straight at Hermione's eyes, as if she needed to take a pause and find the courage she needed to continue. " Anyway, we never had a chance to talk after the last battle, so I think it's time for me to thank you properly for casting that spell when that monster, Greyback, tried to bit me. I have wanted to talk to you, but my courage always failed me at the last moment. I feel it was about time."
Hermione shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Merlin, this wasn't the occasion for this talk. Actually, this talk wasn't necessary at all. She had been angry at Lavender, but it wasn't her fault that she'd fancied the same boy Hermione fancied as well. Lavender was braver than her to take a chance with Ron first. And Hermione hadn't needed to think twice about casting the spell. Lavender had been her roommate and fellow Gryffindor; she would never have left her die if she could avoid it.
Raking her fingers on her cup, Hermione gave Lavender a genuine smile for the first time. She knew that Lavender couldn't be just a silly girl. Lavender was a caring person to her close friends at Hogwarts. "You don't need to apologize, Lavender. Those were normal things among teenagers, and I haven't ever held hard feelings for you. About the spell, you don't need thank me. I'm sure that you would have done the same if I was in need, right?"
Lavender surprised Hermione when she held her hands in hers. "No doubt about it, Hermione. That's why I asked Lillian to give me your medical profile instead of Samantha, Healer Pringle's trainee. I'm going to help you. Healer Maguire has a new fertility treatment that can work with you, if you become his patient. He is very nice and an excellent Healer. The best N.E.W.T.S. of his year at Hogwarts. In fact…" Lavender said blushing, "Peter's my fiancé."
Hermione's eyes widened. She didn't know if she should laugh due to the irony of fate or if she should cry. Instead, she chose to take the opportunity that Lavender was offering her.
"Let's check again to see if I've understood everything well. Did Lavender ask Healer Bale's trainee to give her a chance with you so you could be seen by her fiancé and not by another Healer? And her fiancé, is he just one of the most promising research Healers in fertility treatments in the Wizarding world? Not only that, but that he began to work for St. Mungo's last week and wrote that book I gave you two weeks ago…is that right?"
Hermione patiently nodded as she listened to Ron repeat incredulously what she had told with him as soon as he had arrived home. She smiled as Ron continued.
"We are talking about the same Lavender that I dated, and who didn't like to study but became a Trainee Healer regardless? Then she apologized to you for her mean words in the past and thanked you for saving her life? It's almost unbelievable!"
Hermione nodded. She slowly caressed Ron's arm as they lay in bed "She said she wanted to talk to me, but the courage always failed her at the last moment. Now she wanted to show me she cared, and she did so by offering to help me. I can't believe it either, Ron, but she seemed very genuine."
Ron snorted. "I don't want to sound ungrateful, but it's hard to believe that Lavender wants to show you she cares about you through a noble gesture that might allow you and the king of the gits to make one of their most desired dreams a possibility. I believe those were her words when she broke up with me. Blimey, if you tell me that she will take care of you in your next treatments sessions, I will need to have a Firewhisky before going to sleep."
Hermione giggled and snuggled in Ron's arms as he shook his head. She then kissed his naked chest as he held her closer to him. "Yes, she will. I share the same feelings as you about this, Ron. However, her fiancé is the nicest Healer I have ever met. As I've told you, he explained that my problem is probably an ovulation dysfunction due the spell damages, and the problem can be solved with hormonal treatment through a proper prescribed potion. We just need to follow his instructions, and he believes that I can get pregnant soon."
Ron arched an eyebrow as he caressed her belly under her nightgown. "Oh, we will follow his instructions very carefully, especially about what has to be done on the specific days of your cycle. I can manage to get home during my lunch time, if you need."
Hermione swatted playfully at his fingers that were getting bolder in their way towards her breasts. "Ron, you're impossible. Shall I write a warning to hang on my office door that says: 'Please wait because Mrs. Weasley is shagging her husband at home during her lunch time'?"
Ron grinned. His eyes were bright again due to the news of the day, and it was one of the best sights Hermione could wish for. He kissed her full on the mouth and caught her off guard. "Would you do that? Wicked!"
She laughed at Ron's boldness and they both kept talking until the Ron's snoring filled the room and Hermione dozed off, snuggled against him, more peaceful than she had been in a long time.
Five months later…
"Are you sure that you haven't got anything to tell your mother-in-law, dear? Because you might fool everyone else, but you can't fool me. You have all the signs that you are pregnant."
Hermione looked shyly at Ron's mother. She and Ron decided to keep everything private until she was three months pregnant, but hiding certain things from Molly Weasley was like hiding a hippogriff under the bed––impossible.
It was especially hard when it came to things about motherhood and children, things that she was wiser about. Although Hermione's mother suspected her signals too, it was easier to fool her because Hermione didn't see her as often as she saw Molly.
Molly sipped a bit of her tea and looked expectantly at her daughter-in-law. She had prepared tea for both of them in The Burrow's kitchen while Hermione waited for Ron to get back from work and pick her up.
Hermione added some milk to her tea, happiness and hesitation shinning through her eyes. "We did it, Molly. Finally. I am expecting a baby. But Ron and I were so afraid this could fail that we were waiting for next month to announce it to everyone. Do you remember when my Healer fell from his broom and got seriously hurt a few months ago? I started seeing Healer Maguire, my friend Lavender's fiancée. She was my roommate at Hogwarts, and she works as Trainee Healer at St.Mungo's nowadays."
"Lavender… that name is not strange to me at all. Wait, do you mean Lavender Brown? Oh dear." Molly smiled wisely. "Wasn't she the girl that made Fred and George almost kill Ron with their teasing, something about how he was dating the wrong girl?"
A blush colored Hermione's cheeks. "Yes, we did a few silly things without thinking clearly."
Over tea and biscuits, Hermione reported the pains and joys that had happened in those previous five months: their almost losing hope until the day Lavender visited Hermione's office at the Ministry, holding her hand tight as she gave Hermione the blood tests results which pointed to a pregnancy. How the two young women had tea in Hogsmeade so they could talk in private, away from Hermione's Ministry colleagues. How Hermione wept of happiness. And how she impishly hugged Lavender, thanking her and promising her that they would keep in touch during the pregnancy.
As Molly listened to her with a knowing smile, Hermione informed her that they had decided that she should continue being watched by Healer Maguire, even when Healer Bale returned back to work. Hermione chuckled. " Of course, when Ron found out Peter was also a Cannon long-suffering fan, there was no turning back."
Molly stood up and gave Hermione a tight hug, tears of happiness rolling down her round, wrinkled face. "I'm so happy, my dear. You and Ron weathered a long road to get this blessing in your life. My mother used to say: 'In prosperity our friends know us, in adversity we know our friends.' Lavender proved you she has a good heart. Many people wouldn't care to help someone they weren't very close with by doing such a noble thing like she did with you and Ron."
Hermione nodded; she couldn't help herself as her own happy tears soaked Molly's apron. Fate was like love: it moved in mysterious and magical ways.
Lavender Brown had much magic to share––one of the best kinds of magic––the magic of a good heart.
A Gryffindor heart through and through, after all.
One year later…
"Do you know that you have your mother's eyes, pumpkin?" gushed Ron. "They are the prettiest daddy has ever seen. Oh yes, they are… they're chocolate, the sweetest thing in the world. But you can't eat some just yet or your mummy would have kittens. You'll fancy it, when you'll have teeth and can properly enjoy it."
Rose put her little hand in her mouth and sucked. Ron laughed while he put the last piece of chocolate in his mouth, and Rose put her hand in her mouth again, imitating her dad. Then Rosie cooed, stretching her arm towards the window.
Ron turned around to face the window and saw the backyard getting white. "Look, Rosie! It's snowing! Have I told you that I once made snow for your mummy in a Charm class? When it happened, she gave me one of her brightest smiles that I won't ever forget, just like your gorgeous smile, pumpkin."
Slowly and quietly as to avoid interrupting what was happening close to the window in their cottage's living room, Hermione leaned against the kitchen's doorframe and smiled indulgently. She watched her husband with delight. He was holding their six month old daughter, Rose, and whispering to her some words that made the little girl move her arms happily towards the window.
Hermione enjoyed watching Ron and Rose together, his grins filled the room with light, and their little girl's smile warmed the cottage, even on snowy and cold November evenings.
She warms our whole world.
Hermione got closer to Ron and Rose, who stretched her arms out to her. Hermione held her daughter in her arms and kissed her cheek. Ron grinned and put an arm around Hermione's shoulder. The pride that filled his eyes as he looked lovingly at Hermione and Rose held too much emotion to be described.
Hermione got closer to Ron and lightly kissed his lips. "I was wondering if you would like to sit closer to the fire while we drink tea and eat the delicious chocolate cake I made. Then we could wrap up in a blanket and watch the snow until dinnertime. How about it?"
Ron winked and took Rose in his arms again. "Only if Rosie agrees. Right, Rosie?"
The baby cooed happily, and Hermione rolled her eyes playfully. A sense of déjà vu swept over Hermione; it was as if the cycle had been repeated. However this time, everything was happening with their baby.Believing is powerful indeed. Fin
A/N: A special thanks goes to my good friends pili204 and queensb23 for their valuable editing work and suggestions.
Thanks also goes to my good friends RedSioda for her suggestions and encouragement about this storyline, and to Lillywmw for supporting me when this fic took its first steps. And last but not least, many thanks to CM because it rocks and to you for reading my story!
Dedicated to everyone who has ever felt the sense of hopelessness about something and never gave up.