Disclaimer: Harry Potter is owned by JK Rowling et al. Any characters or locations you recognise are the intellectual property of these individuals and corporations. I make no money from the writing of this story.

This story was written as a prize in the Monthly Carrot Challenge at The Maple Bookshelf for the incomparable (and very welcoming) EternaRomantica. Head over there if you haven't already and check it out.

Beta'd in almost record time by StitchWitch.

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The Perils of Prospective Pregnancy

"Harry, you must come home immediately, my temperature has just spiked and that means ovulation is imminent! This is our lucky month, I can feel it!"

Harry Potter sighed as the silver otter dissolved into the air around him. At least this time he was alone in his office, not like a couple of months ago when he had been standing in front of the entire department delivering the next year's budget. Even his best "I killed Voldemort, you don't want to mess with me" glare failed to quell the mirth and catcalls generated by the cute little otter that had demanded he immediately attend his wife for sex.

Three years they had been trying for a baby. At first it had been great—the thrill of having sex with no thought to contraception, wherever and whenever they chose. It was after six months that Hermione had started to voice concern over how long it was taking. First she got tested. Then he got tested. Then she had them both tested to see if they were compatible genetically. Then had come all the well-meaning advice…

"You should have sex twice a day, every day for a month—that will guarantee conception." His teenage-self probably would have slapped him, but he learned there is such a thing as too much sex.

"You should abstain for an entire cycle, Harry's sperm needs to be seen by your uterus as a new thing, not something that is there all the time." He was sorely tempted, but with great restraint managed to keep himself from slapping Parvati Finch-Fletchley for this piece of advice. He should have realised something was dreadfully wrong with his wife when she just blindly accepted this premise.

"Do it while Hermione is hanging upside down, that way your sperm will go straight to where it's supposed to." Well that had been awkward, and painful, and Hermione nearly passed out halfway through because of all the blood that had rushed to her head. When Harry had remonstrated with George Weasley about that piece of advice the redhead had fallen about laughing, saying he had only said it as a lark, he never meant for them to go through with it. "Easy for him to say, he already has one kid with another on the way."

"Now I've heard that blueberry jam spread over your… well, your you-know-what… will aid in fertility, Harry. You might think about trying that. One of my former students did that and was successful three times in impregnating his wife." Harry could not remember a time he had felt more awkward. He and Hermione had been attending the annual Christmas Party of their former professor, Horace Slughorn, when the man himself had taken Harry aside and imparted this sweet and "endearing" tidbit of advice. Thank Merlin Hermione was not around to hear that! She did wonder why blueberry jam was suddenly banned in the house though…

"Erotic massage—now that's the answer." Okay, Harry had to admit he had enjoyed that one. It didn't work, but it was good.

The point was, absolutely nothing was working. Hermione was becoming more and more obsessed with every passing month. Harry had marked the calendar in his office so he knew when to approach the house with caution at the end of the day, armed with chocolates, flowers and the latest release from Flourish and Blotts (which they had begun to hold for him). Bolstered with loving and reassuring words flowing from his mouth that next month would be better, and that he, of course would always love her.

"HARRY!" Another silver otter shook him from his reverie. "Fuck, how long have I been sitting here?" He thought frantically. He jumped up and gathered a few papers together and stuffed them in his messenger bag. He sent off two quick Patronii, one to his assistant letting her know he was gone for the day and one to his wife to let her know he was coming.

Coming. The thought made him wince, for even that was starting to be a bit of a trial for him. There was no romance left in their lovemaking. He felt like a robot. Last month Hermione had made him go at it with her for the three days where the scientific method her mother had introduced her too had indicated when ovulation was most likely to occur. Other than that she had not allowed him to touch her. Something really had to be done.

Hermione was on him the moment he stepped out of the fireplace. She had already stripped naked and immediately went for his belt buckle; unclasping it with one hand while harshly rubbing his penis through his trousers. She was peppering dry kisses over his neck, hitting all the sensitive spots exactly, in order to make him hard as quickly as possible. He hissed when her cold hand reached into his underpants and grasped his semi-erect member firmly.

"Wait, Hermione, please… just wait," he begged. He tried to get her to step back a bit; he still had his bag over his shoulder for Merlin's sake!

"Can't wait, my temperature spiked half an hour ago which means the egg is just about to be released if it hasn't already. Come on, Big Boy, let's get that sperm inside me," she said still rubbing his penis into hardness.

"No, Hermione, NO! STOP!" he said firmly. Hermione stopped her ministrations, surprised at his tone.

"Harry, what is wrong with you? This has to happen now or it won't happen at all for another month!" she told him, her voice reaching a desperate pitch.

"Hermione, please just look at us, look at you; you didn't even give me a chance to undress you and you practically attacked me the moment you saw me," he tried to get her to see his point.

"Well we only have a tiny window left this month and I thought I'd just help speed things along a bit," she explained.

"This doesn't help. Sweetheart, are you even aroused? Do you really feel like having sex right now?" he asked.

"Of course, Harry, arousal is tantamount to success. I read an article that speculated that vaginal lubrication aids conception as it helps guide the sperm up into the uterus and onward into the fallopian tubes to await the egg," she lectured.

Harry's eyebrows raised in surprise… and suspicion. "How did you get aroused?"

"While I was waiting for you, I fingered myself," Hermione said seductively. Despite himself, Harry moaned at the mental image that rose to the forefront of his mind. He dropped his bag to the floor and captured his wife's hips in his hands.

"Will you touch yourself again for me?" he asked huskily. He bent to press his lips against Hermione's but she pulled away.

"Maybe later, for now…" She reached into his underpants again and manoeuvred them so she could extract his penis.

"Hermione, please," he tried. She took this as encouragement and doubled her efforts on his member. "No, stop, stop, Sweetheart, I don't want to do it this way."

Hermione huffed. "Well I don't know what way you think we should do it. Tell me, we'll do it but we need to chop-chop!" she clapped her hands. "Time's a-wasting."

"Are you even listening to yourself?" Harry asked incredulously. "What's happened to us? Sex used to be about us expressing our love for each other and now it's just… just… a chore!"

"What?" She looked as if dumbstruck for a moment, her eyes blinking fast and her face blank.

"How can you possibly be deriving any sort of satisfaction from what we do now?" he asked. "For the last two months you've only let me touch you on the days leading up to when you might be ovulating. You never let me engage in any foreplay and Merlin forbid I should ejaculate anywhere but in your vagina—I thought you were going to rip me a new one when you caught me wanking in the shower!"

"That would have been wasted sperm! I'm trying to fall pregnant here in case you had forgotten. If you let the morning load go down the drain it could be up to twenty four hours before your body produces anything viable enough to cause fertilisation—" Hermione's lecture was interrupted by a gentle finger placed over her lips.

"Sweetheart, maybe we should just give it a rest for a while. You're obsessing over this way too much. How about we get away for a weekend? Just spend some time together away from this house and our normal routine? It would do you some good," he suggested.

Hermione looked at him as though she was trying to determine just who this man was in front of her. "You think this is my fault?" she asked.

"What? No—" he started to defend.

"Yes, you do. I am trying everything I can here to provide you with the family that you want and you don't even want to participate in…" she paused as she tried to voice her disappointment.

"Hermione, Sweetheart, that's not what I meant—"

"Yes it is," tears gathered and started to spill down her cheeks. "I know what you are thinking! Everyone else around us is having babies, some are even on their second or third and we cannot even have one! You think I am a failure as a woman!" With that, she turned and ran from the room, slamming the door shut behind her. The sound of a second door slamming upstairs shook Harry from his stupor and he sprinted to the door after his wife while frantically redressing himself.

"Hermione!" he called as he ran up the stairs. A cracking noise from their bedroom told him his wife was no longer there. "Shit, shit, SHIT!" He wrenched open the door and found exactly what he expected, an empty room. He sank onto the bed and took a deep, calming breath. The scent of his wife's arousal on the sheets wafted into his nose. "Fuck! I should know better than to question her when she's in a state. What was I supposed to do though? She would have noticed when I couldn't keep it up enough to impregnate her. And that's all it would have been, I've long stopped terming it as making love, it's just been sex, now I don't even think it's that.

"A failure as a woman. How could she even think that? I love her for Merlin's sake; she could not be more of a woman if she tried. And a failure—shit! Fuck, fuck, shit, FUCK!" Harry knew that was it, Hermione hated failing at anything and she had always given him whatever he had desired. It was him three years ago who had suggested they start trying for a baby and now… as much as he knew it was not the case, he realised that was exactly how Hermione perceived it. "Right, time to find her," he thought as he rose from the bed. He noticed her dressing gown was missing from the chair it was perpetually draped over so she was in only one of a few places—her parents', the Burrow, or Ginny and Draco's penthouse flat.

The shrill ringing of the telephone in the hallway had him moving quickly. Hope rose in his chest as he grabbed the receiver. "Hermione?" he practically yelled into it.

"It's Richard," came the quiet reply.

"Richard, is she there?" Harry asked his father-in-law.

"Yes, she popped in a few minutes ago clad only in a dressing gown, in the middle of the day I might add, and started going on about insensitive husbands who don't appreciate what women have to go through in order to satisfy them. Care to catch me up?" he asked.

Harry blew out a deep breath. "Yeah, that looks really good," he thought. Into the receiver he explained, "We had a bit of a disagreement about the whole baby thing and now she thinks I think it's her fault that she hasn't fallen pregnant yet even though we've been trying for three years, but I don't think that, and she blames herself for failing at providing me with a family but she's family enough for me and I have to tell her that. I'm coming over to your house now!"

"Harry! Wait, we're not at home!" Richard shouted into the phone.

"What? Where are you?" Harry asked in confusion.

"We're at the clinic," Richard answered.

"She went to the clinic in her dressing gown?" Harry asked in disbelief.

"It is the middle of the day," Richard reminded his son-in-law. "Luckily she Apparated into my office while Jayne and I were having lunch. Jayne's taken her into her office to calm her down. You come into my office. JESUS!" he swore when a particularly loud apparition crack was heard right next to him. "Don't do that!" he said with his hand over his rapidly beating heart.

"Sorry," Harry apologised. "I'll just go and—"

"Wait!" Richard interrupted him. "If you go in there now she'll either clam up or she'll tear you a new one. You should know after six years with her how to handle her moods."

"You're right, you're right, I just can't think straight. How could she think I don't see her as everything a woman should be? Yes, I want a baby, but not at the expense of our relationship! If she were to fall pregnant now how do I know she wouldn't end up resenting it because she only saw it as a way to keep me or something stupid like that? I only want a baby so we can share our love with something we created together, not because I'm feeling like I'm missing something. Merlin, I love her so much, I would be more than happy to live the rest of my life childless as long as I could live it with her!" he ranted.

"You really think that?" a soft feminine voice was heard from the doorway.

Harry turned in surprise to see Hermione standing in the open doorframe. Her mother, Jayne, was standing behind her, a look of approval on her face at Harry's words. She beckoned to Richard to leave their daughter and son-in-law alone. Richard gathered up the plate of sandwiches they had been eating before their daughter's arrival and joined his wife in the corridor. Jayne gave Hermione a gentle push into the office and slid the door closed behind her.

Harry and Hermione were oblivious to all of this, just staring into each other's eyes from across the room.

"Of course I think all that, Sweetheart. I love you more than anything. I love how I come home at the end of the day and know that it will be to an empty house because you're working late. I love that you spend the weekends jotting notes about everything you need to accomplish the following week. I love that you plan my week out for me. I love that you get crazy over something deviating from those plans because I know I'm the only one who can calm you down and make you see that another way can be just as good. I love that you tell me every single thing about your day and want to hear every single thing about mine. I love that you trust me and I love that you love me. You do still love me, don't you?" he asked tentatively.

Hermione flew across the room and into his arms. "Of course I love you, you big pillock. How could you think I don't?"

"I'm so sorry if you thought I was putting you under any pressure to have a baby. That was never my intention and I really thought I was being supportive of you and your desires. But all the enjoyment was being sucked out of our marriage and I was starting to wonder if all you thought of me was as a sperm bank."

"I wondered if all you thought of me was as a baby-making machine," Hermione admitted. "I just don't understand why it has been so hard for us! I look at all the couples around us and they all seem to just fall pregnant at the drop of a hat, whether they want to or not! What are we doing wrong?" she asked plaintively.

"Nothing, Sweetheart, we're doing nothing wrong. What I was trying to get at earlier was that we're too focused on the end goal rather than just living spontaneously in the moment. I used to love that I could turn to you in the middle of the night and just slip my cock into your pussy. I loved that you would surprise me in the shower and give me a blow job. I loved that I could just throw you down on the table and eat you for breakfast." There was a whimper and a thud from just outside the door. Harry immediately blushed. "I think we have an audience," he whispered.

"I don't care, we're married; they know we have sex," Hermione dismissed her obviously eavesdropping parents. "I can barely remember when we last did all that, you're right, sex has become a chore. But you've been without a family since you were one. I know that is all you want in life and I worried that if I wasn't able to provide you with it then you would leave and find someone who could."

Harry captured Hermione's lips in a desperate kiss, trying to pour all the love he felt for her into it. He broke away from her gently and cupped her cheek. "Never," he declared passionately. "If I can't have a baby with you then I don't want a baby with anyone. I have a family. You. You've been my family ever since you stood in front of McGonagall and told her you went looking for a troll to fight. Granted I didn't always feel the romantic love I feel for you now, but ever since a couple of days after that bathroom incident, I have loved you. I think our love is stronger having been built on a foundation of friendship and mutual respect, so when the lust came, it just added to an already incredible relationship."

"Oh, Harry." Hermione returned his earlier kiss with equal fervour and desperation. "I love that you are able to express yourself so much better now."

"It's all because of you, Babe," Harry said huskily.

"You're my family, too. I don't want a baby with anyone else either. I want us to keep trying, but I promise I'll try not to be so obsessed about it," she said.

"I'll probably regret this, but your obsessiveness is so much a part of you that you wouldn't be my Hermione without it. Maybe just temper the obsession a little bit, and let's go back to making love, rather than just rutting like mindless machines. I have the most beautiful, wonderful wife in the world; I'd like to be able to appreciate her again." He framed her face in his hands and bent to kiss her sweetly. Hermione arched up into his kiss, her robe falling open slightly. Harry suddenly remembered that Hermione was naked underneath the floral silk and moaned into the kiss. A stirring in his pants awakened a deeper passion within him and he pressed his groin into her stomach so she could feel the hardness that had formed.

When Hermione answered him with a sensual moan of her own, accompanied by a breathless, "Harry!" a throat clearing was explicitly heard out in the corridor. "Please do not have make-up sex in my office," Richard almost begged from outside the door. Harry and Hermione broke their kiss with an embarrassed giggle.

"We're off, thanks," Harry called.

"Love you, I'll call you later," Hermione added.

"Love you both, too," Jayne called back.

Harry gripped Hermione firmly in his arms and Apparated them back to their bedroom. He bent to kiss her again and pick up where they left off. He was confused when she moved her head out of the way.

"The reason this all started was because I called you home to demand we have sex," she said softly. "I'll understand if you don't want to right now even though we probably are still in the window."

"You're right, I don't want to have sex," Harry replied. When Hermione went to move away with a small, sad smile, he gripped her arm gently and pulled her back. "I want to make love to my beautiful wife. Whether or not that results in a pregnancy completely doesn't matter. I just want you," he said, pushing his hardness into her belly once more. "I want you," he repeated into her ear, his hot breath blowing over the sensitive skin and eliciting a pleasurable shudder from her.

"I want you too, Harry, so much," she said. Harry gently parted her dressing gown and slipped it from her shoulders to the floor. She drew him by the hand to the bed where she climbed on it sensuously and positioned herself wantonly in front of him. "I believe you expressed a desire earlier to watch me do this," she said saucily, drawing one finger down her front to play with her nipple. Harry groaned and gripped the bedpost as his wife started touching herself for his pleasure.

It was several hours before Hermione made the promised call to her parents.

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~Three Months Later~

Harry leapt to his feet, cheering along with half the stadium as Puddlemere United scored another goal.

"That was blatant misdirection!" his best friend, Ron Weasley, whined from the chair next to him.

"That's the whole point, Weasel," Ron's brother-in-law, Draco Malfoy, crowed from his other side. Puddlemere United were playing against Ron's favourite team, the Chudley Cannons, who were having a surprisingly good season. They just could not get it together against the more polished side in Puddlemere United.

The three wizards had just settled back down for the next play when a silver otter materialised in front of Harry. "Now, you must come home now!" it declared excitedly. Harry groaned.

"I thought you said she was over this," Ron said.

"I thought she was," Harry said in resignation. These last months had been bliss. It was almost like they were newlyweds again—no surface in their home was sacred and their friends quickly spread the word to call before arriving at the Potter home. Preferably by telephone after Ron witnessed them going at it doggy style on the rug in front of the fire when he had placed a floo call to them.

"Best you get your arse home then, Potty, before she comes looking for you," Draco warned.

"Thanks, Ferret," Harry retorted. With a sigh he pushed himself to his feet and said goodbye to his friends. Draco promised to call him later and let him know the final result. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Puddlemere would win; it only remained to be seen by how much. Harry Apparated away feeling slightly relieved that at least it was not a close game.

He landed in their sitting room. "Hermione?" he called out.

"Up here," the answering shout came from the bedroom. He planted a supportive smile on his face as he climbed the stairs. "Obviously her temperature has spiked again, I hope we don't backslide into a repeat of the other month."

He entered the room, half expecting to see her already naked and laid out on the bed ready for him. He was brought up short when his fully-clothed wife hurled herself into his arms a second after he had opened the door. Catching her expertly, he responded passionately when she planted an excited kiss directly on his mouth. He placed his hands under her arse and hoisted her into the air, his burgeoning erection growing larger by the second as she hooked her legs around him and ground into him. He staggered with her to the bed, stumbling at the last second and depositing her on it none to gracefully.

"Oomph, careful, Harry," she admonished him.

"Sorry, Babe, how do you want it? Hot and heavy or slow and sensual?" he asked, beginning to unbuckle his belt. Hermione reached out with a shy smile and stopped his action.

"Neither," she said. Harry looked at her in confusion. "Why the hell did she drag me away from the match then?" he thought. "It worked, Harry," she said.

"What worked?" Harry asked, still confused.

"Going back to the way things were between us. I'm sorry I pulled you away from the game, but I thought you'd want to know as soon as I found out." The expression of joy on Hermione's face was almost indescribable.

"Found out what?"

Hermione held up a white stick. There were two blue lines clearly visible in the little window. "I'm pregnant, Harry."

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Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this one-shot. Please leave a review if you feel like it :)