The refrigerator door closes. Hermione straightens up, calls up the stairs "Did you get the milk like I asked, Ronald?"
He scrambles downstairs, pecks her on the cheek. "Sorry, love, I was working late last night. Big case, you know how it is."
Ron honestly doesn't mean to lie. But she only ever asks questions she knows the answer to, and he hates being called Ronald.
Hermione bristles. She knows it's a lie; this morning, he woke up with a spectacular hangover he tried to hide from her. Probably down at the Leaky, celebrating the end of that case he just mentioned. That case he'd mentioned having wrapped up yesterday morning.
She doesn't call him out on it, though. She just smiles, bumps him with her hip, and says, as cheerily as she can manage, "Well, go on then, Hugo can't have his porridge without it. Just pick it up fast, will you? He gets so cranky when his blood sugar gets low, and I do like milk in my tea."
From his high chair, Hugo watches, eyes wide in his round face, mouth slightly open. He's not entirely certain how to react to this.
Ron stops, pauses, wondering how much he can get away with. He overestimates a little bit, as usual.
He grunts, grabs his hat. "Yeah, course, darling, but I was just going to check up on Matty and the lads in Training. They get confused, y'know. We're making them do the paperwork." He grins brightly at her, already halfway out the door. "I'll do it right after, yeah?"
"Ron." She makes herself use the name he likes, makes herself sound calm. Hugo is watching, and she doesn't want to argue in front of him. He doesn't understand the words yet, but he has tone down pat. "Ron, would you please go to the shop now? I am so, so tired, and Hugo will start wailing any moment now. It's a bloody Saturday morning. They won't be expecting you in. Please." She doesn't quite sound as calm as she strived for. She pinches the bridge of her nose between her forefinger and thumb, trying to stave off the rapidly-building migraine.
"Yeah. Fine. Sure." But he sounds reluctant and—more importantly—bored. Hermione wants to scream.
She cracks a smile, a genuine one this time.
He thinks that means something. It does, but not what he's thinking.
"Ron, are you bored?" She sounds too innocent, she thinks. She wishes for a second go.
He stops, stares at her. So does Hugo, almost doing a double take in that high chair. She feels victory singing in her veins, and it's addicting. The smile grows.
"Ronald Bilius Weasley, what right do you have to be to be bored?"
He has no fucking idea what is in her head and the uncomfortable feeling she knows every last thing in his.
"How dare you be bored, Ron Weasley? How dare you?" She stirs the porridge a little bit too forcefully. He winces. "But of course you have every right. It is me who spends every moment with you so bloody intellectually stimulated."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"What, do you need me to spell it out for you? Oh, wait, you probably do, since you're Ron Weasley, the bloke whose idea of high culture is getting drunk off your arse at the pub in Ottery St. Catchpole and belting out Don't Cry For Me, Argentina. With the lyrics wrong."
The porridge goes flying. It hits the cat Molly gave to them two years ago after Crookshanks died (they never bothered to name it), who yowls and dashes off to the comfort of the garden.
He can feel the words gathering up in her lungs, the words she had never, not once in the years they've dated, said to him. He can feel the poison sliding forward along her throat, and he cringes in anticipation.
"You are a fucking liar, Ron Weasley. I know you went to a pub last night, I know you got drunk, I know you wrapped up the fucking case yesterday. I know."
He is almost relieved. These aren't the words he was expecting to hear, but they are vastly better. He has no time to protest, though.
Every cell in his body freezes up at those words.
"You are so unbelievably, pathetically stupid."
That's it. Those are the words. Something deep inside him locks down.
"You told me yourself that you finished up the case yesterday morning. When you Floo called me? Remember that?"
Her tone is biting, joyful. He doesn't look back to see her expression. He doesn't dare to. He is already out the door.
The door slams, and she breathes out in one long, slow exhalation. She's smiling in a way she hasn't for years, not since their first exhilarating moments of sexual discovery, when they'd lie tangled together in his orange bedsheets, sweaty and sated and smiling. She feels a bone-deep satisfaction.
She cleans the porridge up calmly. Soon, she'll have to find the cat and give him a wash. She adds it to her mental to-do list, just above register Rose for nursery school and immediately below find a cheap flat, just in case. Hugo is wailing; she picks him up and tucks him in the crook of her arm, balancing him against her hip. As he quiets, she walks over to the refrigerator. In a careful, looping hand, she adds milk to the shopping list.
She walks up the stairs, toward the nursery, body curving like a bracket around Hugo. "Hush, my darling, hush, my precious little Hugo baby..."