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It had been a busy day in the Weasley household.
Hermione had planned one of her dinner party extravaganzas despite her advanced pregnancy and nearly everyone had RSVP'd. Harry and Ginny were planning on coming with little James but just that morning Ginny - also almost at the end of her pregnancy - had let Hermione know she was not at all feeling well.
Hermione had Ron running himself ragged, cleaning every square inch of their flat before guests arrived. In her typical Hermione-way, she called out directions to him as he swept, dusted and deodorized rooms he was positive were already clean.
"Don't forget the bit under the rugs, Ronald!" "There's still dust on the top of the fan blades!"
Bloody hell woman, it's November – we don't need the fans and who'd bloody be looking at the sodding fan blades?! He thought.
His patience was wearing thin. Hermione kept their flat just as clean as his mum kept the Burrow, this 'wash-the-walls and scrub the floors' bit was entirely unnecessary. He felt this way particularly because she was requiring him to clean without magic. His skill in domestic duty charms had never quite developed to her standards– "but the Ministry of Magic trusts me to track and capture dangerous blokes with wands so who gives a shite." He thought.
Hermione was trying to remain calm in the kitchen, consulting the recipes in her cookbooks two or three times before proceeding, as if they were back at school and she was going to be graded. Crookshanks circled her ankles and purred, hoping she'd drop a bit of something on the floor for him.
Ron bought himself some time and enchanted the broom to sweep the den by itself as he stuffed a couple of chocolate biscuits in his mouth. He had hidden a box behind some of his old books from Auror training. He looked down at his somewhat-bulging belly and sighed. His waistline had been expanding along with Hermione's.
But what's a bloke to do when the barmy woman he's married to wants greasy chicken or Chinese takeaway every night? And cake. Oh, the cake. The amount of sweets Hermione was suddenly able to consume rivaled even Ron's appetite.
In truth, besides the excitement over becoming a father, Ron's favorite thing about the pregnancy was Hermione's rounded figure. He always thought she was sexy as hell, but the new curves of her hips and her breasts made him crave her more than ever. Just the night before he had been lounging on the sofa enjoying the feeling of his stomach full to the brim with her delicious food when she plopped herself down laying her legs across his lap. She wedged a pillow under her head and exhaled deeply. She massaged a sore spot in her hip and closed her eyes.
Ron felt somewhat lecherous as he surveyed her body without her knowing. She was fantastic looking. Her top wasn't particularly low-cut, but her swollen breasts stretched it out something delightful for his eyes. He put a hand on her calf and she cooed from his warm touch. He did feel badly that she was so uncomfortable. She was constantly bemoaning her swollen feet and sore legs. In a stroke of his own sheer brilliance, he began to softly massage her right calf muscle. Her lips parted and she squeezed her eyes closed. He paused, expecting her to swat him away but she pressed her leg down into his hands. He continued to massage and switched to her left leg, letting his hand drift up a little higher on her leg. She still didn't swat him away, so he dared go a little higher when – WHACK! She smacked his hand and he grumbled under his breath. He was still thinking about this when he heard her calling.
He stuffed one last biscuit in his mouth, making a mental note of how many were left and chewed quickly. "Mmhmm?" He called back.
"Did you dust the chessboard?"
No, Hermione, I didn't bloody dust the sodding chessboard. "Er -No, not yet. Is that really necessary?"
He poked his head into the kitchen and found her glaring in his general direction as she absentmindedly sprinkled a generous amount of parsley into a pot. "Well, Ronald," she said pointedly, "If you and Harry or Neville want to play a game of Wizard Chess, the pieces shouldn't be so dusty." She took her time and enunciated each syllable as if the phrase "Just do what I bloody tell you to do!" was fighting to jump out of her mouth.
"But…but…Hermione, I don't care if the pieces are dusty, they blow each other apart during the game, they're always a mess in the end…" he stammered.
She took a deep breath and sighed sharply, her lips pursed together as if she wanted to tell him off but was biting her tongue.
"All right, all right, I'll dust it." He ducked back out of the kitchen as if expecting a cookbook or something heavier than a cookbook, was going to be launched at his head.
He set to work cleaning the chess pieces individually, cursing each intricately carved piece under his breath. The cat strolled into the room and Ron was sure Crookshanks smirked at him as he jumped up on the sofa and curled into a ball, leaving a trail of bright orange fur on the upholstery. He had just finished the last ruddy piece when-
"Ron?" she called.
"What is it now, Hermione?" Ron said, shooing the cat down to the floor and combing up the fur with swipes of his hand.
He inhaled deeply, closed his eyes and exhaled slowly counting to ten. He waved his wand and the broom stopped sweeping. With another flick, the dust pan scooped up the pile of dirt and emptied into the bin where he also deposited the cat fur. He took the broom in his hand, stowed it in the closet and made his way back to the kitchen to find Hermione wasn't there. Her wand was suspended in mid-air, trained on the spoon stirring the stew.
"Where're you?" he asked.
"The bedroom." She replied.
His large feet stomped down the narrow hallway and he pushed the door open. Hermione had changed into a form-fitting emerald green wrap dress with an oh-so-low neckline. Ron opened his eyes wide and drank her in. He tilted his head and eyed the way the dress clung to her curves, the hem fell mid-thigh. He crossed his arms and leaned casually on the doorframe admiring her. He thought back to a time long ago. The small, bossy, know-it-all girl with the frizzy hair and large teeth was gone and this intoxicatingly beautiful woman had taken her place. And she loved him. Him. Plain old, Ron Weasley.
"Is this alright? I mean, granted I'm fat and disgusting but, do I look ridiculous?" She turned to him, genuinely concerned that she did in fact look fat, disgusting and ridiculous.
"No," his voice came out in a squawk and he had to clear his throat. "No, I wouldn't say you look ridiculous at all."
"Just fat and disgusting, then?" She looked at herself again in the full-length mirror and studied her body, pushing her hips in, willing them not to be so goddamned curvy.
Ron made a noise as if he were considering her question and he walked around behind her. He stood in back of her and put his hands on her belly and kissed her neck. Their baby seemed to recognize its father's touch because it started kicking. "I'd reckon you're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. And I adore you. Now stop saying mental things like you're fat and disgusting, will you please?"
She spun around and while her belly was too big for them to embrace as closely as she wanted, he hugged her close and kissed the top of her head. Crookshanks entered the room and also mewed his approval of Hermione's dress as he leapt up onto Ron's pillow and curled into a tight ball.
"Dinner is simmering, hors d'ouvres are done, how's cleaning going?" She asked.
"Done, mostly done." Ron said, taking a mental inventory of all she had asked him to do.
"Brilliant. I know I've been a pain today, thanks for your help." She smiled.
"Aw, no, not at all. You haven't been bossing me around all day a bit." He said, laying the sarcasm on thick, but with a grin. She grinned back and gave him a gentle elbow to the side.
"So…since everything is done…I thought we could…" as she spoke she reached for his belt and started to undo it. She slid his trousers down below his bottom and looked up at him. Ron's mind raced. They hadn't had sex in more weeks than he could recall. She was still experiencing morning sickness, (although, since she threw up randomly throughout the day, he decided that was pretty much a misnomer.) She had also not cut her hours at work back despite the advice of the Healers at St. Mungo's. So by the time she got home at the end of the day she was completely exhausted and her head would bob into sleep just after dinner.
Ron was trying to be understanding. He knew he could be a moody git and he wasn't growing a human being in his stomach. Working as an Auror meant long hours and time away from home on missions. Although since he and Harry were partners and both of their wives were in the family way, Shacklebolt had personally seen to it that they were kept close to home.
Hermione sank to her knees and as soon as her lips touched his swollen member Ron jumped away. He looked down at her with a strange expression on his face, Hermione looked horrified and embarrassed.
"Well! So much for being 'the most beautiful thing you've ever seen', you lying prat." She spat at him. "Honestly, Ronald if I knew you were so repulsed by me I wouldn't have humiliated myself!" Tears choked in her throat and fell liberally down her cheeks.
Fuck. What did I do?
Ron dropped to his knees and held Hermione by the forearms, shaking her gently, trying to get her to look up at him. "Mione? Please stop crying. Listen, will you?" He said desperately. She sniffled and raised her red eyes.
"You are beautiful. It's just been so long, I was startled. I want you so badly; I always want you so badly. I'd be the daftest git ever if I didn't want to shag you into next week. To be completely honest, I'm not going to last very long and I didn't want to make a gigantic mess all over your dress before company arrived." He spoke quickly, perhaps indelicately, but she seemed to understand what he meant.
"Really? That's the truth?" She tried to smile. He bopped her playfully on the tip of her nose with his finger.
"Honest. I've been wanking in the shower so often, he doesn't even respond to me anymore." he gestured to his crotch. "I miss you. I miss that part of our lives, but I understand. George and Harry have talked me through what it's like – " He knew he shouldn't have said that as soon as he said it. His throat closed and he suddenly wished he could rip out his tongue and chuck it out the window.
"George and Harry? George and Harry!? So you've told your brother and our best friend that your wife is a crazy, frigid cow?" The anger flared up in her cheeks and Ron fell back on his arse. He was suddenly very grateful her wand was in the kitchen, for he knew there was every probability of a curse aimed at his bollocks for that slip up.
"Oh come on Hermione! I only meant that Angelina and Ginny have both been pregnant before and they have given me some insight – there aren't a load of books on the subject for new dads, you know?"
"Well then perhaps you ought to write to the publisher of What to Expect for Magical Mothers and ask them to include a chapter on how not to insult your wife at her most hormonal!" Ron puzzled at her tone, she sounded calm, almost joking, but he kept a healthy distance from her and a hand in front of his groin just in case.
Her expression softened and she smiled weakly. Crawling seductively towards him she put her hand on his inner thigh and teased him with her fingertips. He gave a low moan. "Don't start anything you can't finish, Mrs. Weasley." He said.
Ron lay flat back on the floor. Hermione lifted herself to her knees and pulled Ron's trousers down further. His erection was now sticking out of the opening in his pants like a pornographic Jack-in-the-Box. She pulled his boxers down and took him in her mouth. Ron sighed loudly and hoped to last more than 10 seconds.
He ran his fingers in her hair and tugged to signal that he was there. Recognizing this, Hermione stopped sucking and raised her eyes.
"No, no, no! No stopping!" Ron begged.
Hermione grinned wickedly and turned to lie on her side. He looked at her quizzically and she spread her legs flashing her black lace knickers. "Over here, Ronald" she said, beckoning him.
"Are you absolutely sure this is all right?"
"Ron, if you're as desperate for a shag as I am…just get over here!" she shouted.
Not needing further encouragement Ron scrambled over and pushed his tongue into her mouth. He reached his hand down into her dress and massaged her nipple.
Hermione pulled away and lifted herself up on all fours. Ron stared at her ample arse and wiped the drool away from the corner of his mouth. He stroked the wet fabric of her knickers and felt her body quiver. With a hooked finger he swiped them aside and leaned in to lick her. He let his tongue glide into her as she rocked back and forth. He loved how she tasted, how she moaned and shuddered. He had to stop, feeling again like he could pop at any second.
He kneeled up behind her, locked a grip on her hips and thrust himself inside her. Hermione gasped, moaned and squeezed him with her muscles. She whipped her hair back wildly. "Yesyesyesyes…" she cried out.
"Iloveyousomuch…ohbloodyfuckfuckfuck" he moaned.
As they hadn't done in ages, they climaxed together and collapsed in a heap on the floor panting. Hermione pushed her herself over onto her back and looked into Ron's eyes.
"Can't we just pretend we're not in when people arrive and lay like this all night?" She whispered, her voice sounded like melted chocolate.
"No, love." He replied running his fingers down her cheek. "I did not clean the entire sodding house to just cancel the party." He joked, rising up on his elbow.
Neither of them was entirely sure how long the buzzer had been ringing.
"Oh, sod it!" Ron yelled, jumping up to his feet, trying to smooth out his clothes. He turned to leave the room to answer the door when she said:
"Wait! Help me up! I'll never get off the floor by myself!" Ron winked and helped her to her feet, giving a good-natured grunt as if he were lifting something that was entirely too heavy for him. She glared at him but chuckled as she steadied herself before rushing to the loo to straighten up. He watched her go, shaking his head and walked out into the hall.
He tried to compose himself as he swung the door open. Harry beamed at him and they gave each other a friendly hug and pats on the back. James jumped across the threshold and excitedly yelled "Uncle Won!" He reached his tiny arms out to Ron.
"Hey, little man!" Ron smiled back and ruffled James' messy black hair.
There weren't many pictures of Harry as a small child; the Dursleys never made any effort to document his formative years. In any photos that existed, Harry is on the perimeter or otherwise mostly obscured by his rather large and very spoiled cousin, Dudley. Looking at James though, it was entirely obvious that he looked just as Harry must have at three years of age: pale, with unruly black hair and Lily Potter's bright green eyes – full of wonder and mischief.
James ran into the den and began unpacking the basket of toys his Aunt and Uncle kept for him. Crookshanks snuck into the kitchen but upon hearing James' clomping feet he thought better of it and retreated to the peace of the bedroom.
"It smells brilliant in here, Hermione's outdone herself." Harry said looking around. "Where is she?"
"Oh, erm- you know." Ron stuttered. He used his hands to mime a large, pregnant belly and drew invisible circles with his finger near his temple: pregnant and mental.
Harry nodded his head, "Yeah, I've one of those at home myself." He said sympathetically. "But, er- Ron?" Harry casually motioned down at Ron's undone trousers.
"Oh, Bugger it!" Ron said turning bright scarlet and doing up his fly. Harry chortled.
When Ron turned back towards him, Harry delicately pointed his wand at the leg of Ron's trousers and with a quick "Scourgify" cleaned the tell-tale stain he saw there.
Ron looked at Harry, probably more embarrassed than he'd ever been in his life but Harry winked at him and they laughed.
"Better it was me who saw that than George, eh?" Harry said.
"Oh, Blimey – if George saw that he'd never quit taking the mickey." Ron said shaking his head.
"So then, everything's good in that department, then? You're lucky, Ginny and I…" Harry began.
"Oi! I get it, I get it, you shag my sister, all right! I don't need…details…" Ron interrupted with a shudder.
Harry put his palms up in defense, and stifled a laugh. He had come to really enjoy making jokes like that around Ron, he never failed to react.
"So, how is Ginny feeling? No good today?" Ron asked.
"Not great, no. But it's the normal stuff: her back hurts, her feet are swollen. She was the same way with James. Thankfully, we're at the end, the baby's due in a couple of weeks." Harry took a seat.
Ron wished he could be as calm as Harry was. His brain was in a constant state of worry and his nerves were a total wreck. Hermione's due date seemed ages away.
Can I do this? Can I be a dad? What if I cock it all up?
"Harry!" Hermione beamed as she entered the kitchen and kissed him. Her cheeks were rosy and she had done her hair up in a plaited bun at the nape of her neck. James came scrambling out of the den at the sound of her voice.
"There's my James!" Hermione gushed, scooping the boy up and balancing him on her hip. James kissed her on the cheek.
"How's your baby Aunt My-oh-knee?" James asked patting Hermione's stomach.
"The baby is brilliant, James!" She nuzzled him with her nose and placed him back on the floor. "Did you see the new puzzles we bought you? They're in your basket!" James gasped and ran back into the den in search of new toys.
The dinner was a complete success. Neville and Hannah brought a special spirit he had infused with fresh herbs. Hermione eyed it longingly as each guest tasted it and declared it delicious. Hannah said she had her eye on buying The Three Broomsticks from Madame Rosmerta, who was getting on in years, and said that thanks to Neville's creation, she was getting closer to the deal.
Luna arrived late and left early. Rolf and her father were searching for something she called a Razzled-Snout Gruffhorn. "They eat Nargles!" she explained excitedly. In the middle of dessert she rose from the table, cleared her plate and excused herself, kissing everyone good bye before Disapparating. As they all were used to Luna's eccentricities, they exchanged amused faces when she left so suddenly.
George and Angelina doted on James and Fred who played their favorite game of dueling with fake wands. As the elder of the two, Fred always insisted on being Harry Potter when they played, forcing James to be Voldemort. "But Harry's my dad!" James would protest with a stomp of his foot. George proudly declared that little Fred had clearly inherited his namesake's thirst for practical jokes as Angelina fed baby Roxanne some applesauce in a highchair.
"In just a few years McGonagall is going to have her hands full with this lot at Hogwarts, eh?" George said. He sounded almost jealous that he was too old to join in with them.
Ron kept sneaking glances at Hermione throughout dinner. His mind kept drifting back to what they'd done together on the bedroom floor. Fuck, we haven't shagged on the floor in…blimey how long was it now? He watched her breasts jiggle when she laughed. He hoped he would be able to bury his face in her cleavage after everyone left.
He wondered if her garter belt still fit - the black one she'd worn under her dress at the Auror Christmas party last year. They had gotten good and pissed and stumbled into a deserted corridor at the party venue. He propped her up on a table and buried his face under her dress. She yanked his hair and tried to buck away from him but he was much stronger than she was. He made her gyrate and orgasm wildly at least three times before he stopped. She unbuckled his belt and he made her beg him to fuck her senseless…and he did.
They eventually stumbled back to the party, pretending that nothing whatever had happened but as Harry offered Ron another glass of champagne he winked and said – "A Silencing Charm would have been a good idea, mate."
The tips of Ron's ears burned red with embarrassment but Harry added "Don't worry; when I figured out who it was, I cast it myself. I don't think they heard." The memory made Ron laugh out loud and when everyone at the table looked at him – no one had said anything amusing when he laughed – he waved them off and raised his wine in a salute to Harry.
Angelina and Harry changed the boys and Roxanne into pyjamas and set them down to sleep in the spare bedroom. On the way back down the hall Harry paused at the threshold of his soon-to-be niece or nephew's room and switched the light on. Hermione had painted the nursery a pale shade of yellow and there was no end to the collection of plush toys and books. In the closet they had hung dozens of little tiny baby clothes with the tags still on them. He knew Ron had grown up with only hand-me-downs from his five elder brothers and it was a point of pride for him that his children would always have new things. Harry smiled to himself, very happy for his friends.
After eating, the group settled into the den for a game of Exploding Snap. Harry and Ron sat at the chessboard as Hermione gave Ron a smug grin. As the children had now been put to bed, Crookshanks decided it was safe to come out of hiding. He trod into the den and sat at Hermione's feet, watching the game and allowing people to occasionally pat him on the head.
After a round or two though, Hermione became visually uncomfortable. She kept grabbing at her stomach, rubbing a twinge and trying to pretend it was normal. She stood on wobbly legs and excused herself to the loo. Ron and Harry both noticed she looked extremely pale.
Ron refilled his glass of wine and stared at the door, waiting for Hermione to come back out but all he heard was the scream and the sound of a body hitting the floor.
He pushed against the door but it was locked. On reflex he whipped his wand out of his pocket, "Alohomora!" he shouted and the lock sprang open. Harry and George were behind him now and they saw Hermione on the tile, a puddle of blood underneath her. Ron yelled and rushed over to her, afraid of what was happening, unable to put his thoughts in order.
Harry pushed through the crowd to fetch a towel from the linen closet and found Neville staring at the pot in the kitchen.
"There is a lot of parsley in this…" Neville said quietly.
Harry narrowed his eyes, "This is no time to complain about her cooking, Neville!"
"No, Harry…parsley…it can cause pre-term labor in large amounts…"
Harry's eyes widened with realization. "Any way to stop it?" He asked hopefully.
Neville shook his head. "Not that I could do, perhaps at St. Mungo's." He said hopefully.
Harry exhaled and got back to Hermione, still on the floor. She was whimpering, clutching her stomach and shaking. Ron took the towel from Harry and mopped her brow.
"It's all right, Hermione, everything is going to be all right." He repeated over and over again as he rocked her. He looked up at George, Angelina and Harry, his eyes flashing blue oceans of fear.
"It's the parsley in the stew," Harry told them. "Neville said…"
Hermione gasped weakly "Oh! Oh no! I'd f-forgotten!"
"We have to get her to hospital straightaway – they might be able to stop it." Harry told them.
Without another thought, Ron scooped Hermione up in his arms and carried her to the fireplace in the den. Angelina draped a blanket over her and squeezed her arm.
"You'll be fine, Hermione, you'll see!" She said with a trembling voice.
Harry took a pinch of Floo powder and a second later the fireplace glowed green.
"St. Mungo's!" Ron shouted and disappeared in the flames with Hermione.
"George, Angelina – will you take James? I have to go with them…" Harry asked urgently.
"We'll take the kids, you should all be together." Hannah offered. Neville had scooped up Crookshanks who was trying to follow them all into the fireplace. George and Angelina nodded in agreement and with a flash, they all stepped into the fireplace, headed for Hospital.
The Healers at St. Mungo's declared at first glance of Hermione's condition that there was no way to stop or slow down the process. They whisked her away to a delivery room with Ron. Harry, George, and Angelina anxiously paced the waiting area and were soon joined by Arthur and Molly Weasley, still clad in their bed attire.
"Neville got the message to us!" Arthur told them. "We've tried sending word to the Granger's but I don't think they're at home!"
Hours passed and Harry was starting to crawl up the walls. It had been far too long since a Healer had come in to speak to them. His mind drifted to Ginny. He was sure she was at home cursing him for keeping James out so late and for leaving her home alone so uncomfortable. He closed his eyes and made a silent request to the universe to keep her safe. He was worried enough about Hermione, he was sure he'd lose his sanity if anything ever happened to Ginny or the baby.
Just then, Ron burst into the room, his eyes were red and swollen but also dancing with delight.
"It's a GIRL! My ROSE is here!" He said throwing his arms up in victory.
Everyone gave a yelp of excitement and relief as they ran up to hug and congratulate Ron. Molly Weasley clutched a handkerchief in her hand and dabbed at her eyes.
"D'ya want to come meet her?" Ron couldn't wipe the smile off his face if he wanted to.
They all voiced their agreement and Ron led them out of the waiting area. Heading towards Hermione's room Ron recounted the birth in more detail than he would later admit to giving. Walking past a particular room, Harry froze when he heard:
"Mrs. Potter, you must try to remain calm!"
Ginny's howls echoed in the hallway and Harry ran towards them. "Ginny!" He called out.
"Harry! Where the bloody hell have you been?" Her face was bright red and she was gripping the bed sheet in her hands as the Healers examined her.
Harry took one of her hands and grimaced when she squeezed it.
"I've been here – Hermione went into labor." He said quickly. Ginny's breathing was strained and it was difficult to talk through the pain but she asked him with her eyes if everything was all right.
"She's fine – it's a girl, they've named her Rooooo-" Harry yelped as Ginny nearly broke his hand.
Before either of them knew what was happening, it was time to push. Harry watched in awe as Ginny delivered a small, screaming and absolutely perfect baby boy.
Harry collapsed in a crying heap at Ginny's shoulder, never more in love with her than at that moment. They kissed and laughed as the Healers took the baby away to clean him.
"So, Albus Severus, then?" Ginny offered "That's what we agreed on, right?"
Another hour had passed before Harry strolled into Hermione's room. The group had expanded by two as the Grangers had arrived.
"There you are!" Ron shouted motioning Harry over. "Don't you want to meet your god-daughter?" He asked.
Harry smirked and said "I've got someone else with me, well two other someones…" He stepped aside revealing Ginny in a wheelchair cradling baby Albus in her arms.
"What is this?!" Molly exclaimed "I've missed it! Oh GINNY!" She cried running over to her.
"It's all right, Mum. Harry nearly missed it himself."
Harry approached Hermione's bed and perched himself against it. She took her eyes off of Rose for only moments at a time to smile at him. He couldn't see the baby's face but there was no mistaking that tuft of ginger hair popping out above the blanket.
"She's brilliant, Hermione." Harry said. "May I?" He reached a hand out for the baby and Hermione carefully placed the precious bundle in his arms.
"Mind her head!" Ron warned. He slouched next to Hermione and wrapped and arm around her shoulder.
"Hello Rose. I'm your Uncle Harry." Holding Rose, Harry looked back at Ginny. George, Angelina and Arthur were cooing softly at Albus, Molly was weeping into Ginny's hair.
Ron kissed Hermione's temple and crossed the room to greet his sister and meet his nephew. It was a surreal moment when Albus was placed in Ron's arms and he caught Harry's eye. They smiled at each other. Another wild adventure and they had made it through together as always.
"So, Potter – you've knocked up my sister twice now, that'll do, I think!" Ron teased. Everyone laughed, except Molly who cuffed Ron around the head.
"I dunno, Ron. Seven was a lucky number for Mum and Dad…" Ginny teased. Ron's eyes bugged out momentarily and he nearly toppled to the floor with laughter.