LbN: Just a little idea I had. Decided to let it stand as a one-shot. Song is from Return of the King.

Hermione pushed the door open as quietly as possible. Peeking into the nursery, she watched her children sleep. Rose stirred a bit, but did not wake. She walked in and sat between the two beds. Hugo snored softly and sucked his thumb. She sighed, wishing she'd made it home to tuck them in.


"Hi, love. I just wanted to check on them." She stood and walked back over to where Ron was standing in the doorway. "Did you have a good day?" she asked, shutting the door behind them.

"Very. The Dragons trained like their lives depended on it. Cardiff is going to be a force this season," he said, kissing her. "What about you? Catch any scumbags today? Rewrite any laws?"

"Aurors dragged in a former Death Eater. I was called down to watch the interrogation. Tonks and Kingsley want documented evidence that all regulations are being followed, so I'll be watching interrogations for the next few Dark wizards they catch."

"You sound tired."

"I am a little drained."

"Come on. I'll get you something to eat, then we can go to bed."

Hermione followed him into the kitchen. She was quiet for a moment while he pulled the leftovers out of the refrigerator. "Ron…can I ask you something?"

"What's that?"

"Do you…do you think I should stay home more? With Rose and Hugo?"

Ron huffed. "We've been over this, 'mione. Not everyone can or wants to stay at home all day. We both work. The work you do has to be done. The Wizarding world is still fragile. They need people like you in the Ministry. Especially…especially since Harry left," he finished quietly. He passed her a plate and cut a slice of cake for himself.

Hermione nodded. "Can't really blame him."

"No. You can't. Though running off with a Bolivian supermodel was a bit random."

Hermione chuckled at this. It was true. "What about you?"

"What about me?" he asked thickly through a mouthful of red velvet cake.

"Do you…ever feel neglected?" she asked, not meeting his eyes.

"You're asking me this less than a fortnight after you Apparated to another bloody continent, just to sleep with me after a game?"

Hermione grinned at him and began to eat. "I guess you're right," she said, after a few bites.

He nodded and sat down next to her. "Oi, what brought this on?" he asked gently.

She shrugged and kept picking at her broccoli and rice. "Just something I've been thinking about."

"Hermione," Ron said, putting a hand on her shoulder.

She sighed. "I…I've just been thinking about it lately. Since dinner last week."

"Dinner?" Ron muttered blankly. Then it struck him. "Dinner with my family? Merlin's rusty tits, what did Mum say to you this time?"

Hermione nearly spit out the rice she was eating from laughter. "Why are his tits rusty? Never mind. Anyway, she just…hinted…that it might be more beneficial for me to take a more active role in the kids' lives."

"Hermione," Ron said seriously. "You've never missed any of Roses netball games. You're with me at every single doctor's appointment. You make sure that when we both have to be away, they're both surrounded by loving, responsible family. You wake them up and cook them breakfast before taking them to Primary. You love them, and they know it. Everyone knows it. You are a great mother. And my mother isn't perfect. Don't tell her I said that," he added, smiling slightly. "But she's not. Her way was good, but it's not the only way."

Hermione smiled. "I'd kiss you, but I have chicken grease on my lips."

"When have I ever objected to anything related to your kisses or chicken?" he asked, kissing her and handing her a napkin.

She laughed.

"Mummy?" Rose whispered.

"Yes, Rosie?"

"May I have a cookie?"

"Only one. We're going over to Uncle George's tonight for dinner." She smiled as her daughter ran off to the kitchen. She kept rocking Hugo, even though he was already asleep. She never got to hold him anymore. "Home is behind," she sang, "The world ahead. And there are many paths to tread. Through shadow, to the edge of night, until the stars are all alight. Mist and shadow, cloud and shade…all shall fade. All shall fade."