Chapter 1


Summary: Post-Hogwarts, Pre-Epilogue. Hermione has some news for Ron. He's going to be a father! Follow the fun, delight, and mood swings that Ron has to put up with while taking care of his pregnant wife! Ships: Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, others. Rated M just in case.

Author's Note: This story sorta follows the storyline of "Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts", "Butterfly Kisses", and "Old Magic". But it starts 5 years after "Old Magic." Some facts will be changed to coincide with the Epilogue of Deathly Hallows.

(Hermione's PoV – September 15th, 2005)


Hermione Weasley reached over to the bedside table and pressed snooze on the alarm clock. She yawned and sat up. She yawned and opened her eyes. Her husband, Ron, was asleep beside her, his arms wrapped around her.

"Ron," Hermione said, "You have to be at the Auror Department in an hour. You better get up."

"Five more minutes, Mum," Ron muttered, sleepily.

Hermione rolled her eyes and slapped Ron's back.

"Ow!" Ron groaned, opening his eyes.

"I'm not your Mum!" Hermione said, sighing, "Now get up if you want me to cook you breakfast before I have to get ready for work."

"Relax, Hermione," Ron said, "I know you're not my Mum. You're my loving, adorable wife."

"Well, I'm happy you finally learned it after five and a half years of marriage," Hermione said.

Ron chuckled. Hermione shook her head and sat up. The sunlight streamed in through the window of their house in London, England. They had only had the house for a few months now, after having lived in Shell Cottage for five years.

Ron's brother Bill, and his wife, Fleur, had given them Shell Cottage when Hermione and Ron got married. Bill and Fleur had moved out and into the Burrow with Ron's parents. It had been easier to raise their daughter, Victoire in a larger house.

Hermione and Ron had decided to wait for children for a few years into their marriage, so they could focus on their careers. Hermione was now the founder and Head of the small department that focused on House-Elf Welfare, which was a branch of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and had been so for the past couple of years now. Ron was a high-ranked Auror, along with his best mate, Harry Potter.

Hermione stood up and suddenly felt dizzy.

"Whoa," she muttered, sitting back down.

"Something wrong?" Ron muttered.

"Stood up too fast," Hermione said, "I'm fine."

She stood up again and suddenly tasted bile in her mouth. She hurried out of the bedroom and toward the bathroom. She reached the toilet just in time, before she threw up into the toilet bowl.

"Hermione?" Ron asked, peering into the bathroom.

Hermione sighed and looked up from the toilet. Ron walked over to her and helped her sit down against the


"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Food poisoning, I think," Hermione said.

"You should go back to bed," Ron said, "You can't go into work like this."

"But I have a big meeting today," Hermione said, "I have to!"

"You're the head of your department," Ron said, "You can change the time of the meeting."

Ron stood up and walked over to the sink. He took a small plastic cup and filled it with water, then handed it to Hermione. Hermione smiled at him gratefully and took the cup, then drank from it. She felt her stomach churn again, and hurried back to the toilet, and threw up again.

"Maybe I shouldn't go into work either," Ron said. "I can take care of you."

Hermione sat back against the side of the bathtub again.

"You're going, Ron," Hermione said, "Relax. This is probably a twenty-four hour bug. I'll be fine. I just need to go back to bed."

"I'll make you something before I go to work," Ron said, "Okay?"

Hermione nodded.

"Can you make it back to the bedroom without throwing up your guts again?" Ron asked.

Hermione rolled her eyes.

"I think I can manage, Ron," she said.

Ron nodded and walked out of the bathroom. Hermione stood up, and as she walked past the mirror, she realized something. She turned to the mirror and looked at herself. She didn't look too pale. She felt her head. It wasn't warm, so it couldn't be the flu.

"Oh," Hermione said, her eyes widening, "Ohh... it can't be."

Hermione's mind raced as she headed back to the bedroom. She walked over to the large oak desk and opened the top drawer in it. She took out a small booklet and opened it to a calender. She went back through the months in the calender, then back to the current month.

"Oh, Merlin," she muttered, "Could it be?"

"Hermione?" Ron said.

Hermione looked up. Ron was standing in the doorway.

"What do you want for breakfast?" he asked.

"I..." Hermione said, looking back at the calender, "I can make it myself."

"Hermione, you're sick," Ron said, "I'll do it."

"You're going to be late if you focus on me," Hermione said, "I'll be fine. I just need some rest."

Ron sighed and walked over to Hermione. He put his hand on her head.

"Well, you're not burning up," he said.

"See," Hermione said, "It's probably nothing."

"Perhaps it is stress," Ron said, "You need a day off. You've been very busy."

"Yeah," Hermione said, "I'll be fine. Okay?"

Hermione pulled Ron toward her and kissed him.

"You just get ready for work," she said.

Ron nodded. Hermione laid back on the bed and watched Ron as he walked around the room, looking for clothes for the day. She smiled as she glanced sideways at her calender. It was the middle of the second week of the month. She realized at that moment that she had missed her period. She felt tears come to her eyes. Could that really be what was going on? She and Ron had been trying for a while now.

"You okay?" Ron asked, looking at Hermione, putting on his sneakers.

Hermione looked back up at Ron and smiled. She couldn't tell him yet. She wasn't even sure herself. She would have to make sure of it before she told him.

"I'll be fine," Hermione said, "Just need some rest."

"Okay," Ron said, "I'll go to work then."

He walked over to Hermione.

"You send me a letter via Pigwidgeon if you need anything, okay?" Ron asked, "I'll apparate if I have to."

"I'll be fine," Hermione said, for what felt like the millionth time.

"I love you," Ron said.

Hermione smiled, and she felt her eyes water.

"I love you too, Ron," she said.

Ron smiled and kissed her, and she kissed him back. He walked out of the room. A little while later, as Hermione lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling and thinking about what she might have discovered, she heard the tell-tale crack that meant Ron had apparated to work. Hermione stood up slowly and left the bedroom then walked toward the living room. She walked over to the fireplace and took out some Floo Powder. She created a fire, threw the powder in, then stuck her head in.

"St. Mungo's," she said.

A minute later, she could see the inside of a small office.

"Hello?" she called out, "Is anyone there?"

"Oh, hello," a witch said, walking into Hermione's view, "How may I help you?"

"I was wondering if I could set up an appointment," Hermione said.

"Is it urgent?" the witch asked.

"I think so," Hermione said.

She explained to the witch what was going on.

"Oh, well, then you shouldn't wait very long to find out!" the witch said, "I could set up an appointment for ten-o-clock this morning. I could get one sooner, but considering the possibility of your condition, it isn't a good idea to apparate or use the Floo Network for travel. I suggest the Knight Bus."

"Okay," Hermione said, "I'll be there at ten."

She told the witch her name and all the needed information.

"I'll have that appointment set up for you," the witch said, "Good luck!"

"Er... thanks," Hermione said, grinning.

A little over four hours later, Hermione was sitting in one of the hospital rooms in the maternity ward of St. Mungo's. She was dressed in hospital robes, and was bare underneath them. For the past hour, she had gone through procedures with Healer Janney, whom she was familiar with. Healer Janney had been present with Hermione's sister-in-law, Ginny had given birth to her and her husband, Harry Potter's, son a little over six months ago. Hermione had been at St. Mungo's with Ron, and the rest of their family on that day.

The door to the room opened, and Healer Janney walked in, carrying some parchment.

"Hermione," Healer Janney said, "I have some news for you."

"I'm pregnant?" Hermione asked.

Healer Janney grinned.

"If I'm correct," Janney said, "which I usually am, I'd say you are almost six weeks into your pregnancy."

"Oh, my gosh," Hermione said, feeling tears in her eyes, "Six weeks?"

"I'd say conception was probably around the last week of July," Janney said.

"End of July," Hermione said, blushing.

"I take it you have a good idea of when it happened then?" Janney said, grinning.

"Er... I think so," Hermione said.

"Well, congratulations," Janney said, "This is your first time, is it not?"

"Oh, yeah," Hermione said.

Hermione suddenly felt a pressing feeling against her bladder.

"Er... I'll be right back," she asked, "I have to – er – use the little witch's room."

Healer Janney chuckled and nodded. Hermione stood up and raced toward the in-room bathroom, and sat on the toilet.

"That is to be expected, Mrs. Weasley," Janney said, outside the bathroom, "You'll find you'll be doing that a lot."

"Brilliant," Hermione said, "I'll just take up residency in my bathroom then."

When she was finished, she walked back into the room.

"Do you wish for me to tell you what else you'll be expecting during the coming months?" Janney asked.

"Er... you don't have to," Hermione said, "I have four sisters-in-law, all who have been through this before. Between them and books, I think I'll be fine."

"Well then," Janney said, "I think we are finished for now. I'll probably be seeing you a lot in the next few months. That is... unless..."

"Unless what?" Hermione asked.

Hermione raised her eyebrows. Was the Healer going to ask her if she didn't want the baby? Hermione couldn't do that. She could never go through that process.

"Well, I saw in your information that you are Muggle-born," Janney said. "I've dealt with a few Muggle-born mothers-to-be over the years. There are always a few who are never sure if they want to be guided through with their pregnancy by a Healer or a Muggle doctor."

"Oh," Hermione said, "I hadn't thought of that. I'm not sure. My husband is a wizard and he'll probably trust Healers more. But... well, what do you suggest?"

"I've met quite a few Muggle doctors who deal with maternity, Mrs. Weasley," Janney said. "Muggles have genius ways of dealing with it. I only wish we could use some of their... machines, I think the word is."

"Oh?" Hermione said. "Right."

"I suggest that you and your husband talk about it," Janney said. "Do your research on both ways."

"Right... my husband," Hermione said, chuckling.

"You didn't tell him you thought you might be pregnant, did you?" Janney asked.

"No," Hermione said, "He just thought it was the flu or something."

"Well, I'm sure he'll be happy to hear the news," Janney said, grinning.

"I hope so," Hermione said.

"Was this planned?" Janney asked.

"We've been trying for a while now," Hermione said, "I just didn't realize... end of July, you said?"

"Yeah," Janney said.

"Wow," Hermione said, laughing.

"Congratulations, again," Janney said, "This is quite the early birthday present for you."

"Er... oh, right yeah," Hermione said, "My birthday's on Friday. In all this excitement, I sort of had forgotten."

"I'll just let you get dressed," Janney said.

Hermione nodded and Janney walked out of the room. Hermione took off the robes and looked at her belly. She felt tears in her eyes again. Was there really a child growing inside her? Her and Ron's own little bundle of joy?She chuckled to herself, as she wiped away her tears. As she got dressed, she wondered how to break the news to Ron. Then she realized the perfect time. She and Rupert would be celebrating her birthday with a private dinner at their house for her, which would happen Friday evening. She could tell him then. She just wondered if she could keep the secret until then.

(Ron's PoV – September 19th, 2005)

"So, it is Hermione's birthday today," Harry asked, "Anything planned?"

Ron was sitting with Harry at the Leaky Cauldron, enjoying a small lunch during their break.

"She's taken the matter into her own hands," Ron said, shrugging, "She said she's fixing dinner for us tonight. I wanted to go out somewhere with her, but she insisted."

"Perhaps she isn't in the mood to go out today," Harry said. "Didn't you say she wasn't feeling very good?"

"I think she's been sick lately," Ron said, "But she doesn't want me to worry about it. She said she went to a Healer a few days ago. Healer Janney or something like that."

Harry suddenly coughed, choking on his butterbeer.

"You okay, mate?" Ron asked.

"Ye-yeah," Harry said, "Healer Janney, you said?"

"Er... yeah," Ron said, "Do you know them?"

Harry grinned and nodded.

"We've met," he said, "What has Hermione's symptoms been?"

"She's been puking her guts out the past few days," Ron said. "At random moments she races off to the bathroom. I'm worried about her, mate. What if it is something bad?"

"I don't think it is too bad, Ron," Harry said, "Maybe she'll tell you what's going on. Perhaps you can ask her tonight."

"I'd hate to ruin her birthday because I was worried about her," Ron said, "Like you said, it is probably nothing too bad. Anyway, so... how's James?"

"You ask that every day, mate," Harry said, grinning, "He's great. He's been sitting up by himself. And he tends to grab at my necklace that Ginny gave me for my birthday. He has quite the strong grip. He also copies my facial expressions when I play with him. Ginny does that with him too. She can't get enough of it."

Ron chuckled.

"I can't imagine what it must be like for you," he said.

"Relax, mate," Harry said, "You'll be in my position sooner or later and you won't be able to stop talking about your child."

"I know," Ron said, "I just wonder when it will happen. Hermione and I have been trying for a while now. I don't like to talk about it with her, but sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with me. Like if I'm not capable of... you know... making Hermione pregnant."

"A lot of blokes think that at some point or another, Ron," Harry said.

"Did you?" Ron asked.

"Maybe once or twice," Harry said, "And then Ginny and I found out that she was pregnant."

Ron nodded.

"You shouldn't worry about it," Harry said, "Your time to be a father will come. And when it does, you'll find that you're the happiest bloke in the world."

(Hermione's PoV – September 19th, 2005)

Hermione had taken the full day off of work for her birthday, even though she had regret it. She had already taken one day off that week, when she had first discovered she was pregnant, and due to her symptoms of nausea and her overactive bladder, she hadn't been too focused on anything the past couple of days when she was at work. She knew that, in a few months, she would have to take a long maternity leave, and would have to find a temporary replacement as Head of her department. That only made her regret not being at work even more. She was quite an important person in her job.

The Society for the Protection of Elfish Welfare was only a couple years old, and Hermione was still trying to help the department find its feet and place in the wizarding world. She had quite the opposition when it came to her department. Between the owners of house-elves, and the house-elves themselves, she wasn't sure which was her biggest problem. A few house-elves had already taken favor for what she was trying to do, but many of their kind, most of whom had been slaves to their jobs for many years, had been used to their life and work as slaves, and refused to listen to Hermione and the rest of her department. Pureblood wizards, especially those who were owners of house-elves had threatened to sue Hermione's department, but after a couple victories over these lawsuits, the rage had died down quite a bit.

Ever since she learned she was pregnant, Hermione had wondered how she could break the news to Ron. She knew the best date would be her birthday, and now the day had finally come. Keeping her announcement a surprise had been rather troublesome. Nausea and her overactive bladder had sent her to the bathroom numerous times. Unfortunately most of the time when this happened, it was at home with Ron. She could see the worry in Ron's face whenever this happened. In fact he had shown up at the bathroom door many times, just looking at her. He must have thought she was still ill. There were times where she wanted to tell him what was going on, but this was such an important moment in their lives, and she wanted to make it special.

Ron had sent her a letter earlier in the day, telling her he'd be home around seven or so, because he wanted to pick up some stuff. Hermione had deduced that Ron hadn't bought her birthday present yet, and he was probably trying to get one, quite literally, last minute. She wasn't too particular curious about what Ron was giving her for her birthday. He had already given her the best present in the world... he just didn't know it yet.

Hermione had spent a few hours setting up dinner for her and Ron. She had made a roast with all the fixings, and had put candles and fancy dinnerware on the table. When everything was set up, and it was a little over half-an-hour until seven, she took a shower and put on a nice semi-formal outfit for the evening. She just hoped her current situation wouldn't interfere with her plans that evening.

The roast was done when Hermione returned to the kitchen, and she was in the process of cutting it, when she heard the tell-tale cracking sound that meant Ron was back. She smiled when she heard the front door open and close, and a moment later, she turned to see Ron walking into the kitchen. He had a paper bag in his hand.

"Smells delicious!" Ron said, his eyes on the roast, "You look beautiful. Is this all for me?"

Hermione nodded. Ron smiled and walked over to her. He put his arms around her, hugging her.

"You didn't have to do this, you know," Ron said, "It is your birthday, not mine. I should be the one spoiling you. I feel like I'm not doing enough."

Hermione smiled and kissed Ron deeply on the lips.

"You've done quite a bit, Ron," she said.

"Well, I've done a bit more," Ron said.

"My birthday present?" Hermione asked.

"Mmhmm," Ron said. "You're not the only one who've planned something special tonight. I also bought this..."

He backed away and opened up the paper sack, then took out a bottle of firewhiskey. Hermione's heart sank. She knew she wouldn't be able to have any of it, given her condition. Unfortunately Ron didn't know that yet.

"Er... put it on ice," Hermione said, "We can let it chill."

She smiled, but she had a feeling it looked quite fake. She was right, because she saw the look in Ron's eyes.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Ron said, putting the bottle down and hugging Hermione again, "I forgot you don't like this stuff."

"You can have it, Ron," Hermione said, "I won't stop you."

"I'm sorry," Ron said, backing up, "I was just so focused on this evening, that I forgot about it. I know you haven't been feeling very good, and I wanted to make this evening perfect for you. I was hoping we might be able to – you know – try what we've been trying for the past few months. Maybe we'll have some luck given that it is your birthday."

"Oh, really?" Hermione asked.

"Yeah," Ron said, "I was talking to Harry today, and you know how he is whenever he gets into his discussions about James. It made me kind of – I don't know, jealous or something."

Hermione felt tears in her eyes. She knew what Ron was thinking about. She opened her mouth to tell Ron her announcement, but Ron was faster.

"But," he said, "We don't have to do that if you don't feel very well. I mean –"

He frowned slightly.

"You look kind of pale still," Ron said, "Are you sure you're all right?"

Hermione's announcement caught in her throat. It could wait until dinner. She kissed Ron on the cheek.

"I'm fine," she said, "Go get out of your work clothes and into something nice. I'll set the table. Dinner will be ready when you're finished."

Ron smiled and walked out of the kitchen.

"And put the clothes in the hamper!" Hermione said, "I don't want to see them all over the floor! I know you, Ron!"

"Yes, Mum!" Ron said, loudly.

Hermione scowled, but she grinned. Mum... she was going to be a mother. Maybe she shouldn't be too mad when Ron called her that. She wouldn't be surprised if it was a new pet-name he'd use soon.

She turned and picked up the firewhiskey bottle and put it in the fridge. She laughed softly, as she closed the door. Depending on how Ron reacted to the announcement, he'd probably have quite a bit of that firewhiskey by the end of the night.

Hermione set the food on the table and put it on two plates. As she was lighting the candles, Ron walked into the dining room. He was in dress pants and a button-down shirt, an outfit that Hermione had picked out for him. He hadn't worn it since their fifth anniversary in May when they went to a fancy restaurant in London.

"Oh, you look so handsome," Hermione said, kissing Ron's cheek when he walked over to her.

Ron smiled and pulled back one of the chairs.

"Such a gentleman," Hermione said, as she sat down.

"Oh, I almost forgot," Ron said, sitting down, "Mum wrote to me today. She's planned a get-together on Sunday."

"My birthday party?" Hermione asked, grinning.

"Maybe," Ron said, blushing, "Okay, yes. Only you should be surprised on Sunday. She wanted to keep that part a secret."

"Sounds wonderful," Hermione said, "Should be fun."

"Yeah," Ron said, "I'm sure the whole family will be there. We'll get to see James again! And you know how Victoire's always happy to see her 'Unka' Ron and Auntie Hermione. "

"You know she can say Uncle now, Ron," Hermione said, "She's five."

"I know," Ron said, "But it's her nickname for me. It is better than Uncle. I like being an Uncle, though."

Hermione smiled and closed her eyes.

"What about being a father?" Ron asked.

Ron froze, staring at Hermione. His fork, full of roast, was frozen in mid-air.

"You know I'd love to be a father, Hermione," Ron said. "I always talk about it. I'm always wondering when it will happen."

"Ron," Hermione said, "You're going to be a father."

"I know I will, Hermione," Ron said, "Harry tells me that too. It'll happen. We shouldn't worry about that."

"No, Ron," Hermione said, "Listen to me. You're going to be a father."

"What?" Ron asked, "You mean -"

"I'm pregnant!" Hermione said, grinning.

Ron's mouth opened and closed, like a fish, as he looked at Hermione. His face grew white as a sheet. Suddenly, without warning, he fell over off his chair, and onto the ground.

He had fainted.