December 28th 2010
It had been two days since Hermione gave birth to her and Ron's third child and her body still ached with a mild hum around her lower region. She took note that her magic appeared to react differently during labour depending on the gender. When she had given birth to Hannah, she had accidentally transfigured the Healer's glasses into two plums, while with her son almost three years ago, she had managed only to flick the lights on and off during contractions.
However, on that cold Boxing Day morning, Hermione had transfigured the cup of iced chips Ron brought her into lemonade, thus leading her to the conclusion that transfiguration was a side effect of giving birth to girls.
"Are you awake?"
Glancing up, she nodded as Ron let himself into the ward, carrying with him half a dozen balloons and a bunch of yellow, red, white and purple flowers. Holding onto Ron's robes with a curious expression on his face was a small red-haired boy, who was holding a golden lion plushie tightly. When the boy noticed his mum, he ran up to her, trying hard to climb on the bed.
Ron walked over, placing the flowers on the bedside table, before helping him up to the bed. Hermione wrapped her arms around her son gently when he crawled over to her. "Is that for your baby sister, Stephen?" she asked, pointing at the plushie still gripped tightly in his hand.
He nodded happily, stroking the lion's mane. "Yes," he said. "Daddy wants her to be a Griffy door."
Gasping in mock shock, Hermione shot her husband a playful smile. "Is that true? She's only been here a few days and you've already chosen her Hogwarts house!"
Looking bashful, he mumbled something incoherent as he attached the balloons around Hermione's bed.
"Of course, you wouldn't love her any less if she was say, a Ravenclaw?" she asked, watching him now find a vase for the flowers. It was only three months ago that they received an owl from Hannah, who explained that the Sorting Hat had placed her into the noble house of Ravenclaw, making her the first Weasley who hadn't been in Gryffindor for over fifty years.
"I'd still love her if she turns out to be a Squib; you know that, Hermione," Ron said, ruffling his son's hair affectionately. While she knew this was true, she also knew Ron hoped that Stephen would be a Gryffindor and on the Quidditch team.
The door to the ward opened and a young Healer entered, carrying a bundle in a pink blanket over to Hermione. Beaming, Hermione held her hands out to hold her new daughter.
"Eager to breast feed again?" the Healer asked, making sure the baby's head was supported correctly. "She's feeling a bit hungry and missed her mum." The Healer bent down to search through the bedside cupboard, taking out a few nappies and napkins for any spilled milk and placing them next to the new mother.
"Thanks, Jennifer," Hermione said, her eyes not leaving her new daughter. Her blue eyes were wide and bright, curious at her new surroundings, while her hair appeared brown at the moment, like her mum. Ron walked around the other side of the bed once Jennifer had left. He stuck his index finger out and watched as her daughter grabbed it, her fingers barely covering the circumference.
"Hello, beautiful," he whispered, his eyes shining. "Daddy's come back to see you." He glanced up at Hermione, who was beaming back at him. She began to rub the blanket gently, earning a quiet muffled noise to escape the baby's tiny lips. "And your big brother Stephen has brought you a present," he added proudly, as the little boy held out the lion to show her, before placing it back on his lap.
"Your big sister Hannah isn't here yet," Ron continued, his new daughter watching him, her mouth open. "She started Hogwarts a few months ago and decided to stay over Christmas as we didn't expect you for another two weeks. She's coming to see you in a few days."
"She's little," Stephen observed, leaning closer to have a good look. "I like her." He smiled widely and waved at his sister.
"And Juliet likes you," Hermione cooed, planting a kiss on the top of her son’s head.
"Now, Stephen," Ron said in a surprisingly serious voice. "You're only three years older than Juliet, so that means you'll need to protect her when your mum and I aren't around. Namely at Hogwarts."
"Oh, Ron," Hermione sighed, realising where this was going. Stephen appeared to be listening intently to his dad, most likely because of the tone.
"This needs to be said!" Ron said with indignation. He turned back to Stephen. "You'll be at Hogwarts with her for four years, which is long enough to make sure any boys don't get too close. That's what I did with your aunt Ginny." He suddenly paused, furrowing his brow, before adding, "Keep an eye on your best friend."
Hermione laughed. "I think you did a fine job keeping Ginny away from boys … Dean, Michael, Harry …"
"Okay, okay!" he said, waving his hand at her. "But better she married Harry than some loser. I swear one of the Aurors in my team fancied her when she came to my office." He pulled a face. He didn't like to think of his baby sister as a sexual person he had lived in the hope that she and Harry had remained virgins throughout their marriage, but the birth of their son Sirius the previous October had soundly shattered that illusion.
Hermione nodded, yawning half way. "I'm going to give Juliet her feed and then we're going to have a nap each," she explained, pulling her nightshirt free from under the bedspread ready.
"Say no more," he replied, making his way over to Stephen and picking him up. "We need to stock up on food at home anyway, what with you both coming home tomorrow."
Smirking, she said playfully, "Let me guess. You've run out of ready-meals and chips?"
"Actually, we need more cheese, eggs and milk," he retorted. "Get some sleep, love." He leant down, his lips brushing against his wife's. "I'll come back later after I've dropped trouble here off at Harry's."
As Ron began to leave, he stopped at the door, kissing the air in Hermione's direction and said, "Love you."
"I love you too," she replied sleepily.
End Story Notes: Wow, I can't believe it's finished. When I began this storyline back in 2002, I was overwhelmed that I received 700 reviews at fanfiction.net. Having my account hacked into and all my work deleted broke my heart, but encouraged me to re-write Daddy, making it longer, better and more mature. Reading through my reviews, emails, IMs and watching as the number at HarryPotterFanFiction.com reaches over 2000, makes me truly believe that all the writers block, rude reviewers and tension were worth it.
Thank you all for reading this story over the past year. I couldn't have done it without all your support.
If you have any questions for me, there's a link to my FanFicton journal in the profile, where I've opened a Q&A post so I don't have to repeat myself in reviews.
A million thank you to my beta, Nicole who is to thank for the spelling and grammar corrections, as well as any bits that weren't in the first draft, that she helped me on.
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