Frantically searching through the old dresser at the foot of the bed, I feel tears start to spring into my eyes. I don't understand what's going on, exactly, but I think, I think, I just lost something. And I think that something is the thing that kept my alive when I felt like dying, and the thing that I swaddled my daughter in the first night she was born. And that thing is Ron's blanket, and it is the most foolish thing in the world to loose. It means way too much to me to ever enable me to let it go, and this thought only makes my search for it more frantic. I'm not sure when it started. I know that I told Rose she couldn't bring her Babbity Rabbitty blanket to the park, but that she could bring another one. Maybe... but, no. Rose never goes into the trunk under my bed. She's two... wouldn't she know not to touch things I don't want her to touch? And if she's touched this... oh my goodness. There's going to be hell to pay. Of course, I can't bring hell down upon my daughter. This poses a bit of dilemma, doesn't it? Who will pay if I loose the most precious thing in the world to me other than my family? That cheap little blanket was everything to me at one time.
"Rose!" I call, hurrying out of my bedroom and into hers. My daughter is seated inside of the playpen in her bedroom, her curly red locks springing out all over the place. In her hands are what look like muggle dolls, but even as I walk into the room, they begin to move, and I know that they are really magical ones. Oh, what I would have given to have what Rose has now when I was just a little girl. I know she doesn't appreciate her things enough, but she might someday. I mean, how could Rose know to appreciate the fact that she's growing up surrounded by magic, when her mum did not have that benefit? And why would she care, right now, that her father didn't have half the things she does now when he was growing up? Rose is rich in love that her mother never had, money that her father never had, and a sense of culture that neither fully had when they were growing up. Ron and I have worked hard to combine our upbringings to make the perfect child-raising program. Rose has been subjected to both Cinderella, which Ron learned long ago was not an illness, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
"Mama?" Rose looks up from her dolls and gives me a toothless grin that nearly makes me fall apart all over again. Attempting to compose myself, I say,
Rose looks up from her dolls and gives me a toothless grin that nearly makes me fall apart all over again. Attempting to compose myself, I say,
"When mummy told you that you couldn't bring Blanky to the park, did you get another one?" Rose nods solemnly.
Rose nods solemnly.
"Was it from the big dresser right below mummy and daddy's bed?" Another nod.
"Was it brown?" Affirmative.
"Did you get it home from the park?" Rose considers this. Then she shakes her head. I feel my knees grow week. I curse, and Rose gleefully repeats the word, making me inwardly scream with both anger and sadness. This isn't real. This can't be real. This absolutely is not happening. I run down the stairs and throw floo powder into the fireplace, saying the name of Ron's workplace. He's at his desk, doing some sort of paperwork. I quickly say his name, and he looks up. The grin on his face vanishes when he sees the look on mine.
Rose considers this. Then she shakes her head. I feel my knees grow week. I curse, and Rose gleefully repeats the word, making me inwardly scream with both anger and sadness. This isn't real. This can't be real. This absolutely is not happening. I run down the stairs and throw floo powder into the fireplace, saying the name of Ron's workplace. He's at his desk, doing some sort of paperwork. I quickly say his name, and he looks up. The grin on his face vanishes when he sees the look on mine.
"What's wrong? Is Rose okay?" "Rose is fine," I say, exhaling. "I need you to come babysit." "Er- what?" "Well, Ginny's at work, and so is Harry, and it's only me that's decided to be a stay at home mum, so therefor I need someone to come home and take care of Rose." "Where are you going?" Ron asks, confused.
"Rose is fine," I say, exhaling. "I need you to come babysit."
"Well, Ginny's at work, and so is Harry, and it's only me that's decided to be a stay at home mum, so therefor I need someone to come home and take care of Rose."
"Where are you going?" Ron asks, confused.
"The park." Ron's expression clears. "But Rose loves the park! Just take her!"
Ron's expression clears.
"But Rose loves the park! Just take her!"
Ah, how simple things are in Ron's world. If only life was, in fact, that easy.
"I know. But I lost something, and I have to go back there and get it." Ron blinks.
"What did you loose?" "A blanket."
He shakes his head.
"C'mon. We'll get a new blanket. It's fine." "Ron, it's not just a blanket." "It's... Ron doesn't fully understand the importance of the blanket, but he knows it's important to me and goes with it. You'd think he'd recognize it, but no. Apparently, Ron is either quite bad at noticing details, or he's trying to block out many images from the war. I'd wager it's a little bit of both. I nod.
"Ron, it's not just a blanket."
Ron doesn't fully understand the importance of the blanket, but he knows it's important to me and goes with it. You'd think he'd recognize it, but no. Apparently, Ron is either quite bad at noticing details, or he's trying to block out many images from the war. I'd wager it's a little bit of both. I nod.
"How did that-?" "Never mind that, I have to get it back!" I begin to feel frantic again. I need that blanket. I don't know why, but it's as much of a symbol of my love for Ron and Ron's love for me as our wedding rings. I feel like I've just lost my wedding band. And seeing as I hate, hate, hate loosing things, it's about fifteen times worse than it is for normal, sane people.
"Never mind that, I have to get it back!"
I begin to feel frantic again. I need that blanket. I don't know why, but it's as much of a symbol of my love for Ron and Ron's love for me as our wedding rings. I feel like I've just lost my wedding band. And seeing as I hate, hate, hate loosing things, it's about fifteen times worse than it is for normal, sane people.
"Bring her over to my mum's," Ron suggests. "Thank you! Perfect. Why didn't I think of that?"
"Thank you! Perfect. Why didn't I think of that?"
Ron starts to answer, but I cut him off.
"Bye! Love you! See you later! Wish me luck!"
Then, before he has time to say anything at all, I back out of the fireplace. The last thing I see before I go is Ron's expression, half amused, half exasperated. It's a look I recognize well from wearing it so often on my own face. I take Rose and floo over to my in-law's home, feeling a tightness in my throat and a nervousness in my stomach.
"Hello, Hermione!" Molly Weasley says, seeming pleasantly surprised to see me standing in her kitchen. I smile at her, my eyes flitting around as if the blanket might have somehow ended up here.
"Hi... um, can you take care of Rose for a bit?" Her smile diminishes a bit at my lack of attention and the fact that I do not seem like I'm about to stay.
Her smile diminishes a bit at my lack of attention and the fact that I do not seem like I'm about to stay.
"Of course, dear. Is something wrong?" "No, nothing," I fib. "I just... need to find something, and I can't bring Rose all over the place while I search." She nods.
"No, nothing," I fib. "I just... need to find something, and I can't bring Rose all over the place while I search."
"Best of luck to you!" she says, and I smile distractedly at her once more before turning on my heel and apparating out of the room. I come out at the park that Rosie and I were at earlier, and immediately start looking around. I can't use magic, so I spend the whole day looking around, muggle style. It's dark by the time I admit defeat. I've been everywhere, and I still haven't found it. It must be gone forever. Plopping myself onto the ground, I bite my lip to keep myself from crying. When it doesn't work, I let the tears flow. It's so stupid, and yet, at the same time, I feel as though this blanket does deserve a good cry. It's been everything to me since I was eighteen years old. Now, I'm married with a beautiful little girl, and it still means the same thing. My eyes flit across the lake, to the full moon which is being reflected onto its surface. And I'm still looking at that when I feel someone sit down next to me. I don't need to look to know that it is Ron. He remains silent, seated next to me, and we both just stare at the water for a while, until Ron drapes something around my shoulders. At first, I think it's his jacket, because it has the same scent, but when I reach up to touch the fabric, I realize that it is not, in fact, his jacket. It's the blanket. I look around at Ron, my eyes shocked.
"Where-?" I start, and Ron shakes his head, rolling his eyes simultaneously.
"It was at home the whole time." My mouth slides open, my eyes widening.
My mouth slides open, my eyes widening.
"What the hell?" Ron sighs.
"Rose had it in her playpen. When I realized you weren't home, I went to make sure you'd dropped her off, and it was right there. Then I spent the better part of an hour trying to find you. Do you know how many bloody parks there are in the area?" I stare blindly at the blanket, trying to clear my mind.
I stare blindly at the blanket, trying to clear my mind.
"Wow," I whisper finally. Feeling quite randomly drained, I lean my head on Ron's shoulder, and he places his head on top of mine.
"What is it about this blanket, Hermione?" Ron whispers sometime later.
"You," I tell him quietly, and Ron's brow furrows even more.
"I don't understand."
I'm not looking at him, but at this comment I feel I must. I smile endearingly at the look on his face, and lean over and kiss the spot on his nose that is illuminated by moonlight.
"I love you," is all I say, and for that moment it seems to be enough. Ron thinks about this for a while. It's a few minutes later when he whispers,
"Hermione, are you sure it's just emotion for the blanket? Are you sure you aren't... pregnant? I mean, weren't you overly emotional all the time while you were pregnant with Rose?" My eyes widen in surprise. I hadn't thought of that. But he's right. I am overly emotional. Later on, I take a pregnancy test, and Ron is proved right. I really hate when that happens. I do not, however, hate the fact that I'm pregnant again.
My eyes widen in surprise. I hadn't thought of that. But he's right. I am overly emotional. Later on, I take a pregnancy test, and Ron is proved right. I really hate when that happens. I do not, however, hate the fact that I'm pregnant again.
Later on, as we curl up together in bed night, Ron's breath tickles my ear a few moments after the usual 'Goodnight, I love yous'.
"You know, you'll have to tell me why that blanket means so much to you."
I give him the promise of someday. Someday is always a beautiful thing.
"What are you thinking about?"
Ron's voice startles me from my memory, and I look around at him.
"Oh. Just... us."
"Us?" Ron repeats blankly, and I nod.
"We've come so far. And sometimes it just surprises me, when there are so many times I've wanted to quit."
"We definitely beat the odds."
"Mum? Dad?" Rose emerges into the room, her flaming red hair swinging as she walks, rather like Ginny. "Hi. Thanks for taking care of him while we worked everything out at St. Mungo's."
"Not a problem," Ron says, and I nod.
"Our first grandchild! What, do you think we'd miss an opportunity to visit with him?"
Rose looks tired.
"Well, seeing as I just gave birth, and you've been dealing with that all day, I'd say I might be pretty sick of Arthur already."
"That's true," I say, before the name registers. "Oh, Rosie! You decided on a name?"
"And the husband is okay with this?" Ron says, narrowing his eyes. Rose shrugs.
"Sure. All I had to do was give him doe eyes and play the I-was-just-in-labor-for-twenty-bloody-hours card."
I'm about to reprimand my daughter for swearing when I realize that she is twenty six and perfectly okay to swear. For goodness sake, she's a mum now!
"I played that, too," I mouth to her, and she laughs and looks over at her father.
"You weakling," she says teasingly. She sighs and looks around the nursery. "I can't believe I sleep and yours and dad's room now. It's a little wrong."
"Well, if you think about the fact that both you and Hugo were conceived there, then, yes, it's quite wrong," Ron says, wrinkling his nose. My brows knit together.
"Thanks, you two. I never would have thought about it that way until now."
Rose looks lovingly around the room.
"Well, I'm glad you didn't sell it. This place is amazing."
"Oh, we know," Ron says, and I laugh.
"We put a lot into it. If you hadn't wanted it, your father and I probably never would have moved out. That said, this huge place with just the two of us... not worth the cleaning."
Ron and Rose both roll their eyes.
"Please," Rose snorts, while Ron says,
"You love cleaning!"
"I beg to differ!" I announce, a scandalized look passing over my face. "I only like it-" They burst out into laughter, and I continue on furiously "-but not in overly large and unnecessary quantities."
Hugo walks into the room, then halts, looking surprised to see Ron and Rose in fits of laughter.
"What's this all about?" he asks.
"You had to be there," I say sourly, and Hugo shrugs.
"Right, then. Rose, here's your baby carrier. For all I went through to haul it up the damn stairs, his middle name had better be Hugo."
Rose wrinkles her nose.
"No way, Hugh. I don't even like the name Hugo," she shoots us an apologetic glance. "No offense."
"I think it's great." I say, glancing over at Ron. He determinedly avoids my eyes. "Ron? Don't you?"
"Er- not really."
Hugo and I both throw up our hands.
"Really, dad? You didn't even like it, and you let her name me this monstrosity?" Hugo growls.
"Ron, our son is twenty three years old, and only now does it come out that you hate his name?"
Ron looks caught between a rock and a hard place. He throws a terrified glance at Rose, but she holds up her hands.
"Don't look at me. I'm not the namer or the name-ee. I'm out of this one."
"Traitor," Ron mutters.
"Pot calling kettle black," Hugo shoots at him. I clap my hands together.
"Oh, for goodness sake! It's too late to change it now, you two. Stop acting like children. Besides, it's not even that big of a deal."
"Easy for you to say. Your name isn't Hugo."
"Love, my name is Hermione! No one even knows how to pronounce it when they read it! I have to give lessons to new trainees! With a test. Although that part's just fun."
Ron screws up his face and starts to mimic Viktor Krum. I elbow him in the gut. Oh, bugger. They've got me acting like a ten year old, too. It's time to get everything under control again, so I decide to do what I do best: give orders.
"Hugo, go home to your fiancée, for the love of god. She's been waiting up all night for you. As for you, Rose, as much as I'd love to be here and babysit, you need to get used to having a child. Just get as much sleep as you can and take care of Arthur."
Rose nods and hugs me, while Hugo hugs Ron. My heart swells with adoration for the two beautiful beings that I brought into the world with my husband. After I've hugged Rosie hard enough, we switch.
"By the way, Rose," Ron asks as he hugs his daughter, "What's Arthur's middle name?"
"Oh!" Rose says, pulling back and smiling widely. "Ronald."
"There's nothing wrong with that name except for the last part. First, great. Middle, excellent. Last-"
I elbow him.
"Ron, you love Rosie's husband, don't you?"
"At least Arthur's middle name isn't Dra-"
"Okay, we really must be going," I say. Rose nods and turns to her brother.
"Bet you still can't beat me downstairs."
"Seriously?" I moan. "Aren't you two a bit old for these sh-"
"Totally could!" Hugo retaliates, and my twenty six year old and twenty three year old run out of the room and proceed to race each other down the long, wide stairs. Rose becomes too exhausted after only the third step, seeing as she's just given birth, and I can hear her loudly asking for a rematch in a few months while Hugo lets out a whoop of victory.
"You think they're grown up, and then something like this happens," I complain endearingly.
"Well, at least they're not our responsibility anymore," Ron says soothingly, and I nod and turn around so that he can hug me. There's a pause, then he says, "So... I had dinner reservations tonight, but in light of what's happened, I think this was a Valentine's Day well spent, really."
"That's true. Besides, we've done Valentine's Day together since we were eighteen. But when was the last time we had our first grandchild?"
"Never. Operative word being first."
"Smart arse," I whisper, before standing on my toes to kiss him. My hand trails up his chest, around his neck, and rests on the red hair sprinkled with bits of white. At first, when those started showing up, they shocked me. Now I'm used to them. They're in my hair, too, but Ron doesn't seem to mind. He's still Ron, and I'm still Hermione. Ron and Hermione. Forever and always. The way it was intended to be, I'm sure. We were made for each other. Made to be able to withstand all the jealousy and bickering and personality flaws and just love each other.
And love each other we have.
"I think it's time I tell you a story."