So today's date is 19th September. Time for a special one shot! Enjoy.
WARNING! Not for Ron fans!
The alarm sounded, waking her from her slumber.
Chocolate brown eyes opened and looked at the clock sitting on her bedside table.
She switched the alarm off before sitting up and stretching.
A loud snort next to her told her than her husband had not been disturbed by the alarm.
Leaving him to snore away, she got out of bed and made her way into the bathroom to use the shower. It wasn't until she was drying herself off afterwards that she suddenly remembered what the day was.
It was her birthday.
She smiled. Okay, so thirty nine wasn't a particularly significant age to have reached, but still today was her birthday.
She liked it when it was her birthday. Of course, she didn't like the increase in her age, no woman did, but still a birthday was special. It was the day when all the people important to you celebrated the moment that you came into the world.
Well, that and the fact that there was cake.
The phone rang downstairs and, after wrapping her towel around herself, she hurried down to answer it.
"Happy birthday Hermione!" said her mother's voice.
"Thanks, mum," Hermione replied happily.
"So, how does it feel to be another year older?"
"Mother, please don't use the "O" word."
Her mother laughed and replied "Oh, Hermione, you're not old yet. Just experienced."
"Thanks, I think. Are you and dad still coming down on Saturday?"
"Of course we are. Can't miss out on celebrating our daughter's birthday now, can we? Oh, he sends you his love, by the way. He would tell you himself, but I'm letting him sleep in, what with his pains."
"Oh yes, how is his knee?"
"Still sore. He spent half of last night awake with the pain. I'll be glad this time next month, he'll have had the operation on it by then."
"Well, wish him well from me."
"I will dear, but I'll get him to call you this evening as well. So, how's… uh… Ronald?"
Hermione cringed. Neither of her parents had ever taken a real liking to her husband "Oh, he's fine. Enjoying his new job."
"Did he remember your birthday this year?"
"Well, he's not up yet, but Harry said he'd make sure to remind him."
Her mother just made a "hmm" sound, and spared Hermione her real thoughts on the subject. It had been years since her mother had brought up her "why couldn't you have married Harry instead?" bit, but Hermione still knew that her mother still felt the question valid.
To be honest, it was a question that Hermione had been asking herself more and more lately, though she stayed well away from contemplating the answer.
"Well," her mother continued "so long as Harry was reminding him, I expect Ronald has got you something… decent."
Hermione cringed. She knew her mother tried so hard to find nice ways to talk about Ron, but found it extremely difficult. It didn't help that Ron was completely ignorant about the Muggle world and, in twenty years of them being together, he had made very little effort to alter that fact.
Hermione refused to let him near the telephone anymore.
"I'm sure he has," she replied jovially, but inside she was anxious. What had Ron gotten her for her birthday? Did he even remember? His track record in such areas wasn't very good, even when other people continuously reminded him in the weeks leading up to the event.
"Well, I'd love to stay and talk more mum, but I need to get ready for work."
"Ah, one way in which both worlds are the same, I'm afraid. Certainly doesn't feel like your birthday when you're working, does it?"
"Well, I suppose it depends who you're working with," replied Hermione.
"True enough I suppose. Well, take care honey, and we'll see you on Saturday."
"Bye mum, and thanks again."
She put the phone down and then just stood there thinking. A part of her wanted to go and wake Ron up and receive the present that he was sure to have gotten her, and prove her mother wrong about him.
But another part of her, the more rational part that learned from past experiences, was remaining doubtful and expecting the worst.
Well, she needed to go upstairs and get dressed anyway.
In her bedroom she found that Ron was still in bed, snoring away quite loudly. She often wondered how his own snoring did not wake him up. It did her if she ever forgot to cast her usual sound-proofing charms.
She went over to her wardrobe and got dressed for the day. After putting on her underwear, a blouse and a skirt, she pulled a pair of socks out of the top drawer and sat down on the end of the bed to put them on.
This action caused Ron to wake up and she paused, wondering.
She felt the bed move as he shifted about and then, after about a minute, she heard the drawer of his bedside table slide open.
He moved down towards the end of the bed and wrapped his arms around her from behind, placing a rectangular-shaped package wrapped in paper with a teddy bear motif into her lap.
"Happy birthday," he said into her ear before placing a kiss on her cheek.
"Oh, Ron! You did remember!" she exclaimed, overjoyed.
"Of course I did," he replied, getting off of the bed "You don't think I'd forget my own wife's birthday, do you?"
"No, of course not," said Hermione brightly as he made his way into the en-suite bathroom. Well, she couldn't actually point out past mistakes right now, could she?
She unwrapped the present and a book fell out onto her lap. She sighed. Of course. She liked to read, so Ron gets her a book. How simple and cliché.
Not that she was going to complain, of course.
It looked to be quite an old book and she turned the book over to get a good look at the front cover, which bore the title "Far from the Madding Crowd" by Thomas Hardy.
It was a book that she had read first at fifteen and had greatly enjoyed it, but never got around to reading it again. Mostly because she didn't have her own copy.
She opened the cover and found a publication date. 1901. She knew that this wasn't the story as it was originally written, but was, in fact, a copy of Hardy's third revision of the novel. That made the book in her hands over a century old.
Ron came back from the bathroom and asked "So, what did you get?"
His question prompted a puzzled look from Hermione, but she held her book up to him anyway.
"Jeez, you'd think Harry would have picked out something new." he said.
"Harry?" she asked, getting a sinking feeling.
"Yeah. I got him to get you something. Thought he might know what you'd want."
Of course, she thought morosely, though she had the sneaking suspicion that, rather than Ron asking Harry to find her something, Harry had suspected that Ron would keep putting it off until he eventually forgot altogether and so got something for him to give to her.
Finding her voice she said "Actually, this is one of my favourite novels, and it's a really rare, early edition."
"Oh," said Ron "See? I knew it was a good idea to get Harry to get you something. I would have never thought of that."
And, whistling to himself, he turned and headed back into the bathroom for a shower.
"Of course you wouldn't have." Hermione muttered to herself.
She finished getting ready for work and then took the floo to the Ministry without saying goodbye to Ron.
That morning seemed to drag by slowly. Work days always did when it was also your birthday. Hermione was a member of the Ministry's Law Enforcement Department, where she was essentially the lawyer for the senior Law Enforcement staff, such as the Department Head and the Head Auror. Basically this meant that she went through their plans and procedures and told them if there might be a legal problem with any of it. This usually involved lots and lots of paperwork, and today was no exception.
Hermione looked up at her clock which hung on the wall of her office and saw that it was only eleven thirty. If she didn't know better, she would swear that someone had charmed the clock to go three seconds forwards and then two seconds backwards.
There was a knock on the door and she called for the person to come in.
It was her secretary, Millie Webster, who informed her "Bones has called a lunch meeting in Potter's office."
"Right," Hermione said with a weary sigh.
She gathered up her usual armful of parchment, quills, inkpots, folders and books before making her way down the corridor to Harry's office.
She knocked on the door and then went inside.
Then she promptly dropped everything in her arms when about two dozen voices shouted out "Happy Birthday!"
Harry, the Head Auror and Susan, the Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Department as a whole, had gathered together her closest friends who worked at the Ministry for a small party in Harry's office to celebrate Hermione's birthday.
She couldn't help the smile that appeared on her face. Now this felt like a birthday.
There were presents and cards from her friends, bottles of butterbeer, and a bottle of firewhiskey that Harry really wasn't supposed to have in his office at work. There was food and some music, and a cake with an array of candles on top.
This was what she had wanted. After all, it wasn't too much to ask that the people in your life made a bit of a fuss on your birthday, was it?
After many hugs all around, she found herself on the receiving end of one from Harry. She quickly took the opportunity to thank him for getting Ron that book to give to her.
"Not a problem," said Harry "Ron asked me if there was anything I thought you might like, and when I told him he asked me to pick it up."
Hermione smiled at him. It was so nice of him to try and protect his friend, but she said "You don't have to lie for him, Harry. I know it was completely on you."
"Well," he said, slightly embarrassed "I didn't want to see you upset, like last year. Or your thirtieth."
She nodded in understanding, but did not pursue that line on conversation any further, instead choosing to ask "So, what made you pick Far from the Madding Crowd?"
"I knew that it was one of your favourites."
"And how did you know that?"
"Well when you were reading it, I was subjected to regular updates on the progress of each character, and I learned long ago that when you talk my ear off about a book, you like it."
She swatted his arm playfully, knowing that he was joking with her. A comment like that from Ron would have stung.
Harry continued "When I came across a copy that was more than a century old but still in a good condition, I knew I'd hit the jackpot."
"Well, thank you very much," said Hermione "By the way; I also love the necklace you got me."
"My pleasure," said Harry, who wisely decided to not point out that, since Ron had yet to reimburse him for the book, Harry had technically given her that too.
The party continued on until two in the afternoon, at which point they really could not justify not working any longer. Harry, though, voiced that the party would continue at six that evening in the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade, earning a cheer from everyone.
The afternoon passed by and at four-thirty, Hermione headed off home. Harry spotted her sneaking out early, but gave her a wink and said nothing.
Back home, Hermione found a stack of cards neatly arrayed on the coffee table in the sitting room, and a few more on the mat by the front door.
Amongst all the cards was one from her two children, Rose and Hugo, who were currently attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
After opening and reading all of her cards, she headed into the kitchen, and there spotted a note on the fridge.
In Ron's untidy scrawl was written the message "Gone to Hog's Head with the lads. Don't bother with dinner for me."
Anger bubbled up inside of her. Of all the lousy, rotten things he could have done today, going out with his mates from work just about took the biscuit!
Until recently, Ron had been an Auror. Then he had given it up for what he claimed to be his "dream job" – assistant to the assistant coach of the Quidditch team, the Chudley Cannons.
Assistant coach Hermione could have understood, but assistant to the assistant coach?
She drew a deep breath and blew it out again. As much as the job annoyed her, it had come as a relief in one respect. Not long after Harry's promotion to Head Auror, she had found him looking very stressed out. She managed to coax out of him that he had a problem regarding Ron and, though Harry never came out and said it, Hermione was able to piece it together. Ron wasn't a very good Auror and Harry was feeling pressured into getting shot of him, but he couldn't do that to his friend. Then Ron had announced that he was leaving the Auror profession for his "dream job" and the problem was sorted.
Hermione made her way upstairs to her bedroom, determined that Ron's behaviour would not ruin her night. She was going to dress herself up, go out, have a few drinks with her friends and have a good time.
She showered and was just drying herself off when, like this morning, the telephone rang.
It was her father, calling to wish her a happy birthday. She was very careful to let nothing slip about Ron. They were all going to have dinner together in a nice restaurant on Saturday after all.
Back upstairs, she found herself searching through her wardrobe for something to wear. Most of her usual "going out" outfits just didn't feel right today.
Then she found it, that little black number. It had been ages since she had last worn it, and doubted that it would fit her still, but if it did then she would certainly be wearing it.
She tried it on and found, much to her surprise, that it did fit. It was a bit tight in places, but it fit.
Clearly she wasn't as fat as the self-conscious part of her mind believed her to be.
She did use her wand to increase the length of it an inch or two, however. She wanted to look nice, not like she was on the pull!
Of course, a few admiring glances would not go amiss.
She fixed her hair as best she could (it had become a little more tameable than it had been in her teenage years, but not by much) and added a bit of lipstick. Then she went to her work bag and fished out the necklace that Harry had given her.
As she put the necklace on, she thought about her long-time friend. He had been married to Ron's sister Ginny, but that had ended in divorce about eight months ago. No one was really at fault as things had just fizzled out between them and things had ended amicably. Now that he was single, the gossip rags liked to speculate on who the famous "Man-Who-Conquered-He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" would choose to be the next lucky lady in his life.
Whoever that woman ended up being, Hermione hoped that Harry would choose wisely. There were far too many out there who would take advantage of her friend given half the chance.
She finished getting ready by putting on a pair of earrings that went with the necklace, grabbed a purse that matched the dress and threw in her mobile phone, some money, her lipstick and a few other essentials before slipping on a matching pair of shoes and apparating to the Three Broomsticks.
Quite the crowd was waiting on her, and not just those from work. She received more cards and presents, and was presented with another cake, and someone put a glass of her favourite wine in her hand.
Finally she made her way to the bar where she met Harry.
"Alright Hermione?" he asked "Where's Ron?"
Hermione bit her lip before replying "He went out with his workmates."
Harry shook his head "I'll have a word with him."
"No, don't bother," said Hermione with a weary sigh "You'll only be wasting your breath."
Harry smiled and put a comforting arm around her shoulders. She leaned into him, allowing herself to be comforted.
Then, quite suddenly, the sound of her mother's voice echoed through her mind "Why couldn't you have married Harry instead?"
Hermione shook her head to get rid of that question and the thoughts that were brought up by it. At no point did she attempt to shrug off Harry's arm however. He himself removed it a few moments later though in order to shake Neville's hand, and did not return it to her waist.
She missed the contact.
The party went on much later than it should have, especially seeing as they all had work the next day, but no one really cared.
Hermione drank a little too much, but couldn't bring herself to worry too much. She was having a good time on her birthday without Ron, just as she had planned. The black dress was working a treat as well, getting her many appreciative glances from the single men in the room (and a few who weren't). She also caught Harry having a peek a couple of times.
It was around one in the morning when she swayed off of the barstool that she was sitting on and had to be caught by Harry.
"Uh-oh!" she heard Lavender call out "Looks like the birthday girl's had enough."
"M'fine," she slurred.
"Nope," said Harry "you're not. Come on, home time."
"Hmm'kay." she replied. Home sounded good.
"You okay to get her home Harry?" asked Dean.
"I'll have you know that I'm very proficient at apparating drunk people to their homes," replied Harry "It's one of the less glamorous sides to being an Auror."
Susan laughed and raised her glass "You got that right!"
She next thing Hermione knew, she was on her own front doorstep with Harry supporting her. He pushed open the door and helped her through.
"We're we going?" she asked.
"I'm putting you to bed," Harry replied.
"Okay. Bed sounds good."
Up the stairs they went and into the bedroom, where Ron's loud snores threatened to rupture their eardrums.
Harry drew his wand and cast a silencing charm on Ron and then led Hermione around to the opposite side of the bed and laid her down upon it before using his wand to remove her jewellery and her shoes before transfiguring her dress into a nightgown.
"Thanks Harry," she mumbled sleepily.
"No problem," he replied and was just about to leave when something unexpected happened.
Hermione sat up, placed her hands on either side of his face and pulled him in for a kiss.
It lasted for about ten seconds, at which point she pulled back and said "Night" before lying back on the bed, rolling over and closing her eyes.
"Night," Harry echoed and made his way to the door.
The next day Hermione was punished by having a splitting headache when she woke up. At work she slumped over her desk, head in her hands, and tried to will the pain away.
After a while the door opened and she looked up to see Harry come in, a glass phial containing a green liquid in his hand.
"Thought you might want this," he said, holding the phial out to her.
Her head might have been hammering, but she was able to recognise a hangover potion when she saw one. Gratefully she took it and downed the lot.
Almost immediately the potion kicked in and the effects of her hangover began to wear off.
He smiled at her and replied "No problem."
One small side effect of the hangover potion was that it also allowed you to recall certain events that occurred during your drunkenness that you might otherwise have forgotten. Seeing Harry's smile brought what she had done in the early hours of the morning crashing back into her mind.
"Listen Harry, about last night…"
"There's nothing to explain," said Harry, kindly "You were drunk and mad at Ron. Simple."
"Yeah… thanks Harry."
"No problem," he said before leaving.
Hermione didn't bring up Ron's abandonment of her on her birthday with him, knowing that it would only result in an argument that she could not win no matter how right she was.
Ron didn't detect that he had done something wrong and Harry did as Hermione had asked and kept quiet.
However, the final straw came that Saturday. Ron had to work that morning, but Hermione was at home getting everything ready for her parents' arrival at seven that evening. Realising that she didn't have much milk in the fridge, but with an hour and a half to go before her parents were due to arrive, Hermione decided to stretch her legs a little bit and took a walk down to the little corner shop two streets over.
When she got back she was furious to find another note on the fridge, almost identical to the one that had been there on her birthday. It simply said "Gone for a drink. Might be late back."
She snatched the note off of the fridge and read it again before crumpling it up in her hands as tears stung at her eyes and threatened to fall.
He couldn't even be bothered to come out to dinner with her parents. What had she ever done to deserve him treating her like this? Did she not deserve better than this?
She slumped against the fridge, her back to it, and slid down until she was sitting on the floor with her knees tucked up under her chin as she cried.
That was how her parents found her when they arrived.
There were many ways that Hermione could have greeted Ron when he finally came home, but a right hook to his jaw was the method she ended up going for. The direct hit saw him sprawl out on the floor, making her father very proud of her.
"Go to your parents' house Ron!" she shouted at him "You're not welcome here!"
Clearly confused by her behaviour, but obviously not wanting to risk her taking another swing at him, Ron scrambled madly towards the fireplace and seize a handful of floo powder before vanishing in a swirl of green flames.
Breathing heavily, Hermione turned to her parents and said "That felt good."
It took less than a month for the divorce to go through. Due to her line of work, Hermione had more than enough contacts to grease the wheels and get things rolling.
Hugo took a bit of time to come around to the changed situation, but thankfully Rose understood her mother's decision completely. Nobody could have ever called her a "Daddy's girl."
During this time and the months that followed, Harry was a massive support to her, unintentionally showing her that, not only could she do better than Ron, but also just who she could do better with.
She initially decided that waiting until her fortieth birthday would be a respectable amount of time to allow to pass after her divorce before making a move on Harry. But then the mistletoe at the office Christmas Party proved to be far too tempting an option and she took it.
Throughout the rest of the party she noticed a lot of gold switching hands, indicating that, not only had there been a few bets made, but also that the mistletoe might just have been a setup, but she didn't really care. All this really did was move her timeframe up a little.
It also meant that by the time she was celebrating her fortieth birthday, Harry was ready to stop the celebrations for a moment in order to get down on one knee and make her fortieth the best birthday ever.
Well, until she turned forty one, which was the day when they had the wedding.
She loved birthdays.
Happy Birthday Hermione!
Did you know that her birthday is never mentioned in the books, let alone celebrated? Weird, huh?
For those of you wondering what happened to Ron in this story, well… choose whatever ending you feel like.