Author's Notes: The following was my entry for the 2010 Harry Potter Canon Fest Summer Pick-a-Prompt Challenge over at the hp_canon_fest community on LiveJournal. The prompt I chose was a quote from Dr. Seuss and is listed below.

I held off on posting this until I finished the latest chapter of my on-going multi-chapter epic, Mirror, Mirror, since I didn't want anyone to think I'd been ignoring my work on that story in favor of writing this one.

In truth, I had this story finished months before it was even due back in July. Of course, we weren't allowed to post them elsewhere until they'd all been posted on LJ and the Fest was completed. By then, I was swamped by real life, and I didn't want to post anything until I got Chapter 27 of Mirror, Mirror up and running.

I posted Chapter 27 this past weekend, so now I feel it's okay to post this.

Be warned; this is a very fluffy piece. It's all about the love Ron Weasley has for the family he and Hermione have created for themselves. If you don't like fluff, turn back now.

Thanks: I want to give a big shout out to mugglemama for being my beta on this story and helping me through my very first time joining in on a Fest on LiveJournal. I neglected to thank her when I posted this on LJ, and I feel like a total dick about it. So, thanks, 'Mama…you're awesome! (And anyone not familiar with mugglemama's stuff should totally check out her stuff here on FanFiction, especially if you enjoy the Ron/Hermione flavored smuttiness.)

Disclaimer: As usual, this stuff belongs to JKR.

Living the Dream

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." – Dr. Seuss

Ron moved stealthily through the darkened house on his nightly "patrol". It was something he'd taken to doing every night since Rose was born: he'd cuddle in bed with Hermione until she fell asleep, then he'd slip out of bed and quietly move about the house, before slipping back into bed, taking his wife in his arms once more, and sleeping contentedly with a satisfied smile on his face.

The "patrol" of the house wasn't something born of paranoia – though, as a veteran Auror he certainly knew better than anyone that there were still dangers out there in the Wizarding world. The truth of the matter was that Ron moved throughout the house every night because he just couldn't believe that this was his life.

As he moved down the hall away from the bedroom he shared with Hermione, framed photographs of his wonderful little family smiled and waved at him as he passed. He followed his set routine and made his first stop at his daughter's door.

He ran his fingers over the carved wooden plaque on the door identifying it as "Rose's Room". He quietly opened the door and peered inside, unable and unwilling to hold back the proud, loving smile that came to his lips at the sight within. The room was neat as a pin; a fact that surprised no one. Eight-year-old Rose was very nearly the spitting image of Hermione, save for the Weasley red hair and freckles, and the resemblance to her mother included a desire to keep things around her neat and tidy.

Ron padded over to the bed and knelt down, lightly dropping a kiss on his daughter's forehead. He ran his fingers through her soft ginger curls, watching her as she slept peacefully.

She was his princess; the day she was born he had been the happiest man alive, and every day since had him feeling like the luckiest man alive to have such a miracle in his life.

"I love you, Rosie-Posey," Ron said in a hushed whisper, placing another tender kiss on his daughter's head before gently tucking the blankets back in around her sleeping form and quietly making his way back out of the room and continuing his stealthy trek down the hall.

The next door he came to was his son's. Hugo, too, had a carved wooden name plaque on his door, but where Rose's had been decorated with brightly painted flowers, Hugo's featured fierce-looking dragons.

Once again, Ron opened the door quietly and peered inside, smiling. Where Rose was all about order and structure, Hugo was chaos personified; the messiness of his room was a testament to that fact.

Ron moved into the room, carefully stepping over action figures, comic books, and Chocolate Frog cards as he made his way to the six-year-old's bed. While Rose was Hermione in miniature, Hugo was a carbon-copy of Ron. He'd even taken to calling Hugo "Mini-Me" after catching a farcical Muggle spy movie on the telly one night. Of course, once Hermione found out, she put an end to that particular nickname, forcing Ron to come up with one that was equally fitting.

"I love you, my little Bludger."

The day that Hugo entered their lives, their little family was finally complete and Ron was happier than he'd ever been in his life. Growing up, he never would have imagined that children could be the thing that made him feel like he'd achieved the glory he so longed for as a child; now, however, he knew…being Rose and Hugo's father was all the glory any man could want.

Ron dropped a kiss on Hugo's forehead and repeated the tucking-in process he'd performed on Rose before once again navigating the minefield of toys, cards, and comics that littered the boy's floor.

Once he'd safely made it out of Hugo's room, Ron made his way downstairs. The ground floor hallway featured more photos of family, including pictures of the entire Weasley clan and the Grangers as well.

He entered the lounge were one of his favorite photographs stood in prominence atop the wooden mantel above the fireplace. As he did every night, he stepped up to the hearth and gazed happily at the picture of himself and Hermione on their wedding day.

In the photo, Ron stood proudly in black dress robes while, next to him, Hermione was a vision in white, dressed in the same Muggle wedding gown that her mother had been married in years before. Tears of joy were trailing down Hermione's cheeks in the photograph, and her brand new husband looked a bit misty-eyed as well.

As was his routine, Ron ran the tip of his finger down the length of the photo-Hermione, caressing her lovingly and making the image of her blush. And, as usual, photo-Ron pulled her to him more tightly, as if declaring that she was his.

Ron chuckled and stepped away from the mantel, noticing for the first time that Crookshanks was perched on the arm of the sofa and was watching him intently.

"You and me are a couple'a lucky blokes, Crookshanks," Ron said as he gave the old, fat orange cat a scratch behind the ears, "Who'd have ever guessed that a witch as wonderful as our 'Mione would love a pair of ugly ginger nuts like us, huh?"

Crookshanks pressed his head against Ron's hand and purred in response. Ron and the cat had reached détente long ago, and they each finally accepted the other's place in the heart of the woman they both loved so fiercely. These days, they were old friends, and could often be found lounging together on the sofa on lazy Sunday afternoons.

Ron gave Crookshanks one final pat and left the lounge, making for the kitchen at the back of the house. He always finished his patrol of the ground floor in the kitchen, usually nicking a bit of whatever was left over from the night's pudding – tonight it was homemade raspberry tarts.

As he sat at the old wooden table, enjoying his tart, Ron's eyes explored the door of the refrigerator where artwork and bits of exceptional schoolwork from Rose and Hugo covered the entire surface. He was filled with pride as he saw Rose's essay, "My Daddy the Auror", had received a gold star from her teacher. Equally pride-inducing was a stick figure drawn in crayon featuring a large head of orange squiggles and a bright red cape. Hugo's messy scrawl declared the picture to be "Super-Daddy", and who was Ron to argue?

Finishing his late night snack, Ron moved back through the house, heading upstairs once more. He checked on Rose and Hugo again before walking quietly down the hall to the bedroom he shared with Hermione.

He stopped at the door and gazed, captivated by the woman sharing his bed. She was his life…his universe…his everything…and if he were honest, she had been since before he even realized that it was okay to like girls as more than just friends. He had known her since he was eleven years old, and while he existed for those eleven years before meeting her, he could say without a shadow of a doubt that he hadn't lived.

This woman was his wife, his lover, his confidante, and his best friend; she really was his everything.

Ron got undressed and slipped back into bed, doing his best not to wake Hermione. He spooned up behind her, reveling in the warmth of her naked body pressed against his own. He wrapped an arm protectively around her stomach and placed a tender kiss on her bare shoulder.

"I love you, Hermione," he whispered in her ear before laying his head upon the pillow.

"I love you, too," came the murmured response from somewhere within that bushy head of soft brown curls.

Ron stiffened at her response. "Did I wake you?" he asked apologetically.

Hermione rolled over and brought a hand up to gently caress his face, wanting to erase the worry she found there. "You wake me every night when you get up for your little walk around the house. When your body leaves the bed, it's like every bit of warmth goes with it. So, I lie here and wait for you to bring your body…and the warmth…back to bed."

"This has been going on for eight years," he said, unable to believe she'd been awake all those nights, "Why didn't you say anything?"

Hermione gazed deep into Ron's eyes…eyes that she had lost herself in so many times over the years. "I knew you needed to take your walk every night, and if you knew it woke me up, you'd stop doing it."


"I followed you once, you know," she said, "I watched as you checked on the kids and went downstairs for your midnight snack. I understand your need to make sure that we're safe, Ron."

"That's not what it is, Hermione," he said, shaking his head, "I mean, yeah, it's a little of that, but the wards around this place are almost as strong as the ones around Hogwarts; I doubt even a curse-breaker of Bill's calibre could get in here if we didn't want him to."

"Then what is it?" she asked, concerned.

He reached over and twirled a strand of her chestnut curls around his finger, smiling at her. "You really don't know?"

"No. Tell me."

"I walk around the house every night because I can't believe that this is my life."

He had such a broad smile on his face that she couldn't help but smile back. This was the man she had loved since before she knew what love was. He had his faults, surely, but when he said things like that, there was no doubt in her mind why she loved him.

"When I was eleven," Ron continued, "And I looked in the Mirror of Erised, I saw an older version of myself as head boy and Quidditch captain with the House and Quidditch Cups firmly in my grasp."

"You saw yourself achieving glory," Hermione said, nodding, "Not hard to believe, considering your insecurities back then."

"I dreamt of being better than my brothers," he agreed, "Of being rich and famous."

"And you are…you're all those things," she replied, smiling, "The first Weasley with a Chocolate Frog card, too, I might add. So, now that you've achieved your dreams, you find it hard to believe?"

"Yeah…well…no," he said, causing Hermione to frown in confusion, "See…those were my dreams growing up: fame and fortune. But, once I grew up, I found something even better."

"What could Ron Weasley possible think is better than fame and fortune?" she teased.

Ron leaned in closer, so their foreheads were touching.

"I'll tell ya', 'Mione…all the fame and fortune in the world can't beat the love of a brilliant witch and the adoration of two amazing kids."

Without a word, Hermione threw herself at him, kissing her husband ardently and with all the love and need and desire that she felt for him. This was the man she had once said had the emotional range of a teaspoon…that she had said was the most insensitive wart she had ever had the misfortune to meet. Oh, how things change.

This was the man who had screamed her name as she'd been tortured, as though every stroke of the Cruciatus against her body was causing him physical pain as well. This was the man who, as a battle raged around them, had showed concern for the castle's innocent house elves. This was the man who had captured her heart when she was a young girl and had never let go.

Despite arguments and hurt feelings and misunderstandings and petty jealousies, this man was the love of her life…the only man she had ever, would ever, could ever love. This was her Ron.

Their passionate kiss quickly turned more heated, and their naked bodies intertwined in a manner they had both become incredibly fond of…and good at…over the years. It didn't last long, as there was a burning need pushing them towards the pinnacle of their pleasure. However brief it was, their fevered lovemaking left them sated for the time being as they held each other, sweaty, out of breath, and completely in love.

"I just remembered another dream I used to have when I was younger," Ron said a while later as they lay, catching their breath.

"What's that?" Hermione asked, her head nestled against her husband's chest, listening to the beat of his heart.

"I used to dream about getting laid on a regular basis."

Hermione couldn't help laughing. "Well, we've certainly made that dream come true…over and over and over."

"What say we go again?" he said, waggling his eyebrows and rolling them over until he was lying on top of her.

"Aren't you tired?" she asked, eagerly taking him inside even as she questioned him.

"Who needs sleep," he replied in a husky voice, "When real life is better than any dream?"