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    Hermione woke in the early morning hours only to find Ron already awake. He was positioned on his side, head propped up on his hand, staring at Hermione with a strange expression - like he had just tried to swallow a dragon egg. When Hermione's eyes had fully focused, she jumped back a little, frightened to wake up and see a freckled someone right in her face.

    "What's the matter, Ron?" She asked groggily.

    He put a finger to her hair and guided a small trestle of hair behind her ear. "Nothing," he replied sweetly. "Just watching you sleep. What were you dreaming about?"

    Hermione blanched. She had been dreaming of Ron's poor reaction to the news of the baby. Aware that Ron was still staring at her, Hermione quickly recovered. "It was just a nightmare. Not a big deal."

    "Maybe when you get back to Hogwarts, you can ask Poppy for a sleeping draught," he suggested. He watched her squirm a bit under the covers. Of course he knew she couldn't take one in her condition, but would she tell him that? He smirked internally.

    "I don't need a sleeping draught, Ron. I'm fine," she said shortly. "Besides, it's still six weeks until I go back to teach."

    "No need to be short with me. Are you having girl problems?" He was pushing his luck, he knew. But it was too fun to watch her face change colors, and see her eyes dart around the room. "Come here," he cooed as he put his arm around her and pulled her close. "I'm going to come home early tonight and we'll go out to eat. I miss spending time with you."

    Hermione snuggled up against Ron’s chest, happy to have her husband home to spend at least a little bit of time with. As she listened to his beating heart, she resolved that there was no way she could play that horrible prank on him. She would tell him about the baby tonight, with no jokes at all.


    Dinner started out nicely with Ron removing Hermione’s overcoat and pulling out her chair. It amazed her what kind of gentleman he was being, so cautious and careful - not at all how he normally behaved in restaurants.

    The waiter came to their table as they were perusing their menus. “Can I start you off with something to drink?” He flashed a pearly smile and looked back and forth between Hermione and Ron.

    Hermione missed the mischievous gleam in Ron’s eye as he said, “A bottle of Merlot.”
    “Um,” Hermione interrupted. “I’m not in a wine mood. I’ll have sparkling water with lemon, please.”

    “Come on Hermione,” Ron urged with a smirk. “Have a glass of wine.”

    Hermione smiled embarrassedly at the waiter. “No, water will be fine.”

    The waiter nodded and walked off to get the drinks. Hermione held her menu up to block her face, and her crimson flush. Of course, when she suggested the muggle restaurant, she hadn’t counted on a bottle of red wine.

    “You love wine,” Ron pressured her. “Why won’t you have a glass?”

    “I’m not in the mood, Ron. Just drop it, okay?” Hermione ignored his quiet okay and finished deciding what it was that she wanted. Everything looked so good…except the veal, and the chicken, and the spaghetti.

    Ron felt a little bad for making her so flustered, but was enjoying watching her squirm. He wondered how long it would take for her to break down and tell him about the baby. For a second he thought he should tell her that he knew, until another stroke of brilliance came to him.

    “What’s your craving,” he asked nonchalantly.

    “What?” Hermione squeaked as she dropped her menu. “I’m not craving anything.”

    “Then why are we out to dinner?”

    “You…I…,” Hermione stuttered. “I am hungry, I’m just not craving anything. I could just not eat…”

    Ron laughed. “You have to eat, love. How about the veal?”

    Hermione wanted to puke. “I don’t eat babies,” she whispered shortly.

    “Are you okay?” Ron asked her with a knowing smile. “You’re acting weird.”

    Just then, the waiter came back with their drinks. “Are you ready to order?”

    Ron started to say no, but Hermione cut him off. “I’ll have the filet mignon, well-done, and the steamed vegetables.” She handed her menu back to the waiter.

    “And for you,” the waiter asked, looking at Ron.

    “Veal,” Ron said simply. “With the vegetables,” he added under Hermione’s penetrating glare.

    All through dinner Hermione had to keep herself from running to the bathroom. Watching Ron gnaw apart his veal was the most disgusting thing she had ever seen. It was a baby. Her hand went to her stomach. She had to tell him now, before she was begging him to take his meal outside.

    “Ron, we need to talk,” Hermione asserted nervously. “Listen I-”

    “I know,” Ron confided. “You’re pregnant. I found the test.”

    Hermione stared in shock. She felt dizzy and sick. This whole time, through the whole damned dinner - making her sick and fighting with her over wine and PMS - he had known that she was pregnant.

    “Why didn’t you say anything?” She shrieked. Outrage, that’s what it was! Making her feel guilty for not mentioning it sooner. “Did you enjoy watching me suffer. Veal!” Hermione shouted, pointing at the half masticated baby cow lying on Ron’s plate.

    Ron howled in laughter as he watched her face contort from shock to confusion and finally to anger. He scooted his seat next to Hermione and put his arm around his shoulder. “I’m sorry,” he said in between snorts. “You just made it too easy.”

    “Yes, well, I’m glad you find the situation amusing,” she bickered as she turned her head in the other direction.

    “Hermione.” Ron took his finger and tilted her chin to face him. “You should have told me when you found out.”

    “I only found out yesterday.”

    “Still. We had this morning,” he said, caressing her hair and planting a kiss on her forehead. “There’s something I don’t understand, though.”

    Hermione softened under his perplexed expression. She nodded her head to encourage him to continue.

    “How?” he asked simply.

    It was Hermione’s turn to laugh. “What? You need an explanation on where babies come from?”

    Ron blushed. “You know what I mean.”

    “Well, you see, when a mommy and daddy fall in love-”

    Ron started tickling Hermione half way through her sarcastic speech. Hermione, howling with laughter tried to run away from Ron. Ron quickly placed the money for dinner down on the table and continued chasing Hermione from the restaurant.

    Once they were outside, Hermione stopped running to catch her breath. Ron was about to start bugging her again, when he looked at her in a way he never had. Not only was she beautiful when she laughed, but she had this new glow about her, something Ron never noticed before. Instead of pinching at her sides, Ron’s hands rested lovingly on her hips.

    “I love you,” he whispered as he moved in to kiss her. When they broke apart, he moved a stray piece of fluff from her face and smiled anxiously. “We’re gonna be okay, right?”

    Hermione nodded. She placed her tiny hand on Ron’s and moved it to rest on her belly. “I think we’ll be okay.”

    A/N - This chapter is dedicated to Nic, who inspired this whole fic. Blame her if Ron comes out missing in later chapters ;) And, also to Princess - see, I can write Ron without killing him, aren't you proud? :P

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