Written for SnarkyandProudHufflepuff's Your favourite under appreciated pairing challenge
Written for The Original Horcrux's Family Boot Camp challenge using the prompt 'seeing'
"I'm surprised you haven't ripped her from my arms yet."
"She's sleeping," Ron answered, not daring to take his eyes away from the sleeping baby Hermione was holding. His thumb ran down the child's soft cheek and a smile formed on his lips as he watched her sleeping face. There was the signature tuft of red hair atop her head that declared her a Weasley and her lips glowed a rosy-red under the gentle light of the St. Mungo's hospital room.
He'd never laid eyes on something so perfect before. He never thought he would.
"You can still hold her," Hermione replied, interrupting Ron's admiration for the small bundle he was able to call his daughter.
"I don't want to disturb her. She looks peaceful enough with you." It was the third time in a matter of fifteen minutes Hermione had tried to coax him into taking the newborn from her. After all, he had spent that time staring at her, holding her hand and talking to her, yet he had not once asked if he could hold her. He could see her – see her perfection. Wasn't that enough?
For the first time since their daughter had been with them, Ron looked at his wife. Along with the tiredness and exhaustion she felt, there was also concern. "What?" he questioned, feigning innocence.
"Why don't you want to hold her?"
"I told you, I don't want to disturb her." It was a lie. Hermione knew that.
"I might hurt her, okay!" Ron confessed before she had the chance to prompt him even further. "Look." He held his hands out in front of him. "Look at how big they are. I drop things that are easy to carry. I wouldn't trust me with something as fragile as her."
Hermione tilted her head to the side, her mouth tweaking into a sad smile. "You won't drop her," she assured him.
"You don't know that." He looked away again. He'd never forgive himself if he was the one to break such a perfect being. It was best if he wasn't given the opportunity.
"You won't drop her," Hermione repeated confidently. "You won't hurt her. You may drop a book every now and then, or smash a vase when you're not watching, but what is more important to you? A vase or your daughter? What would you take more care with?"
Ron thought that was a rather stupid question. How could Hermione not know the answer to that? He glanced back at her, ready to give her the obvious answer, when he realised it wasn't a question she was expecting to be answered. She was trying to make a point.
"I-I suppose I can hold her for a few moments," he relented, still very unsure. Well, if Hermione trusted him...
Hermione smiled, holding out the child for him to take.
Don't drop her. Whatever you do, don't drop her. He lifted his sleeping daughter from Hermione's arms. Besides the three of them, the room was empty. There was no one there to show him what to do next. He had this fragile human out in front of him – still sleeping soundly – and he didn't know what to do with her.
His first instinct was to sit down. At least that way he wouldn't be able to drop her.
Careful not to make any rash movements, he returned to the armchair he had been sitting in before and drew his daughter closer to him. Her eyes fluttered open for a second, but closed moments later. She was sleeping again.
"See, it's not so bad is it?"
Ron barely heard what Hermione had said. All he could think about was the ferocity of his heart against his chest now that he had her in his arms. She was so small, so tiny, so perfect. And she belonged to him.
"What should we call her?"
He smiled down at his daughter as he waited for a reply, but when no words came, he glanced up. "Hermione?"
But Hermione had fallen asleep, exhaustion etched on her face even in slumber. It was just Ron with his daughter.
He ran his thumb along the side of her face again. Her head turned slightly towards him, but she remained sleeping. "You're so small," he commented, watching her. It was like seeing, but not believing. When did this perfect person become his? Surely he didn't deserve her.
"I never imagined you'd be like this," he continued. "But I'm glad you're here now. We've waited a very long time for you to get here, you know?" He studied the sleeping child in his arms. Maybe it was too early to tell, but he definitely saw Weasley features on her face. He hoped there was some Hermione in her too. "A perfect mix," he mumbled.
He sat there in silence for a while longer. He didn't dare move from where he was. He supposed he'd have to get used to carrying her, but that time would come later. For now, he was more than happy sitting with his daughter in his arms. Even as he held her, he knew there was no one else in the world who desired to protect her more than he did. He needed to keep something so small safe, save she end up living a life like he had.
"That's never going to happen," he said. "You're never going to grow up in a world where you fear dying each and every day. I won't let it happen. And you won't ever feel like you're not important, because you're not. You are very important to us; to everyone. To me."
His daughter's eyes fluttered open and for a moment, he swore she looked right at him. But then they were looking to her right. Her left. Up.
"She recognises your voice."
Ron jumped. He hadn't realised Hermione was awake again. "I doubt it," he replied anyway, cradling the child closer to him. "She's too young to even know who I am."
"No, she does. If she didn't, she would have started crying when she woke. But she feels safe with you. Look."
Ron looked down. Unfocused eyes were staring up at him. She was only a few hours old, but she was content. She wasn't afraid. "She hears both our voices," he said in wonder. "She feels safe with us."
Hermione nodded, smiling. "She should."
"So, do we have a name for her yet?" Ron then prompted. He couldn't very well keep referring to his daughter as 'his daughter'.
Hermione shrugged. "What do you think she looks like?" she asked.
Ron studied his daughter's features. With eyes wide open, he now realised they were blue.
No, he wouldn't inflict such a name on his child. She'd grow up hating him.
He must have deliberated for a long time, because Hermione's voice penetrated his thoughts. "I think she looks like a Rose," she said.
Ron studied the child's face more intently. She did have rosy-red lips. Her cheeks were flushed with colour too. "Rosie," he said.
"You can call her Rose, I'll call her Rosie."
Hermione seemed too tired to argue with that. She nodded.
"Rose Weasley," Ron said. It felt good on his tongue. His daughter had a name. Finally. "Rose Nymphadora Weasley."
"You chose her name, I think it's only right I choose her middle name," Ron said. Rose wiggled in his arms and her face turned towards his body. "It suits you, don't you think, Rosie?"
"But... isn't there another name you like?" Hermione questioned.
Ron shook his head. "No, I like it."
Hermione sighed, accepting defeat. "Rose Nymphadora Weasley, it is," she said. "I thought we agreed not to name her after anyone?"
"All her cousins do. She might feel left out," Ron reasoned. "No one will ever use it, anyway."
"I suppose," Hermione answered.
To Ron's left, the door to the room opened and in stepped two, three, four bodies.
"Can we come in and see her now?" That was Molly, standing impatiently at the door. Her eyes went directly to Rose in Ron's arms.
"Can we?" Ginny added. "It's been driving Mum mad having to sit out there, waiting."
Ron stood up from the armchair, cradling Rose carefully in his arms. "This is Rosie," he said to his mother and Ginny, as well as his father and Harry, who had followed them in. "Rose Weasley." He held her at an angle so they could all see her. They all smiled.
Instinctively, Molly put out her arms to take Rose. Ron didn't want to hand her over.
Hermione chuckled. "Half an hour ago, I had to force her into his arms," she explained to everyone's curious glances. "Now he doesn't want to give her back."
"You have to hold her like this," Ron instructed his mother, putting his daughter carefully into her arms.
"Ron, I think she knows how to hold a baby," Ginny said.
"But this is Rosie," Ron replied. "This is different."
Rose was his daughter. She wasn't some niece or nephew he could hand back after half an hour of playing with them. He would never even want to give Rosie back to anyone, because for once in his life, he didn't have to share with someone. He had something that was completely his.
He tenderly placed a kiss on Rose's forehead as Molly held her. "I love you, Rosie," he said, smiling at how perfect she was. "I love you." So much, he wanted to add. But he didn't. She'd come to learn that in time.
This has been an idea floating around my head for some time, though I never intended for it to have as much Hermione in it. And it didn't exactly turn out how I expected it to. But I like it.
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