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    "So, three o'clock, Monday afternoon. Right. Okay. Yes, my husband will be...yes, Mmmhmm. Thank you so much." Hermione pulled her head from the fireplace and turned around to face Ron. "The appointment is at three o'clock-"

    "I heard," he told her. "I just don't understand something."

    Hermione walked over to Ron and put her arms around his middle, leaning her head against his chest. While stroking her thick hair, he mused, "Why are we going to Mungo’s to visit a healer? Isn't that for maladies and...erm...injuries?"

    "Ever since your mother began parading healers under my nose, I've had to think about who I'll see for the baby," she answered with slight unease. She didn't want Ron to know that she fancied seeing a Muggle obstetrician, so instead she made a tiny sacrifice. "So I owled a healer at St. Mungo's who has agreed to see me through the term of the pregnancy."

    "What's the healer's name?"

    Hermione braced herself. "Augustus Pye."

    Ron pulled Hermione away from his torso and looked at her quizzically in the eyes. "That bloke that tried to sew my dad up?"

    Hermione bit her lip nervously. Somehow explaining the Muggle way to Ron wasn't going to be exactly easy. She racked her brain for some sort of example, but all of the Magical solutions seemed all the more simple. She sufficed with a unadorned, "Uh-huh."

    "He's mental! No. He's not going to try sewing up my wife or something." Ron began pacing the living room, one hand on his hip and the other stroking his chin as if he were in deep thought. "How about the one my mum or Fleur went to? He did fine!"

    "I can't let a Magical Healer try and see me through this," Hermione answered quickly. "I'm muggle-born, Ron. They don't know the things that could happen. I may well have to be sewn up."

    Not the thing to say, apparently, because Ron had given her the most terrified and skeptical look ever. His ginger eyebrow was arched over his blue eyes, his mouth was open and his face was steadily losing color.

    "You what?" He didn't wait for an answer. "Is that what Muggles do? Do they just fix everything with string and a needle? How the bloody hell does that work? What in the name of-"

    Hermione walked up to Ron and planted a hand on his shoulder, stroked his arm and tried to get him to relax. "Listen to me Ron. No," she put her finger to his lips, "let me talk. You see, because I am Muggle, there are certain things that can happen to me, that won't happen to a pureblood wizard. Instead of seeing a doctor or a full-fledge healer, I'm going to see Healer Pye, because he studied Muggle medicine."

    Ron made an 'Oh' face and continued his silence long past Hermione's lecture about Pye. He felt that he should have realized it would have been different for her, being a muggle-born rather than a pureblood Witch. Still, he didn't like the idea of a person being sewn like they were a tear in a jumper. A shiver passed through his body as he thought of being poked with needles. Confunded, those Muggles.

    "So, will you go with me on Monday then?" Hermione asked with a hopeful smile on her face.

    Ron nodded. "I'll tell Dawlish that I'm coming in late. And from now on, Harry can work on Malfoy's case by himself on late nights...I need to be home for you."

    "What's going on with Draco?" Hermione had never wondered before, but Ron had been spending increasing time on this case in the last few months. Her curiosity was getting the best of her.

    Ron sighed and sat down on the couch, patting the spot next to him for Hermione to take a seat. It was such a long story, dating back to when they went to Hogwarts; the day that Draco almost killed Albus Dumbledore. Harry had witnessed it and had never forgotten it. But after graduation, they came face to face with Draco once more.

    "The day in Diagon Alley, when we were going to get our supplies for the University, do you remember?" Ron inquired.

    "Right. We ran into him outside of Flourish and Blotts. He looked awful," Hermione recalled. "Harry almost killed him."

    Ron shook his head. "That's the same day we learned about the death of his mother, Narcissa. Conniving wench if I ever met one."

    "What does all this have to do with now?"

    "Well-" Ron stalled. He didn’t want Hermione to get worried over what was happening, he didn’t want her stressed out. “The news is reporting that Lucius killed Narcissa.” Hermione gasped, but Ron continued, “but the Ministry is pointing the finger at-”

    “Draco?” Hermione was on the verge of tears. “Why would he kill his own mother?”

    “From everything Harry and I can figure out, it all has to do with the Malfoy Manor, the money and the family honor.” Ron looked sideways at Hermione and could tell by the hand covering her mouth that she was dying to ask a question. He brought her hand from her mouth and laced his fingers with hers. “There’s something I want you to understand…”

    Hermione nodded slowly, afraid of what she might hear from Ron. It was bad enough that they were working on a case pro-Malfoy, but if there was something else, it couldn’t be good.

    “We’ve been working closely with Malfoy, junior that is, trying to gain some insight into his father’s workings,” Ron said lowly. “Being an Auror…eventually I’ll have to do something more than just paperwork….”

    Hermione jerked her hand from Ron’s. She stood up quickly and glared down at him with her finger outstretched threateningly. “I forbid you!”

    Ron sputtered. “You what? It’s my job, Hermione! You can’t tell me I can’t-”

    Hermione pointed her finger to her stomach. “This means I can tell you whatever I want to Ronald Weasley! You will not go and endanger yourself over a slimy ferret, just so you can…so you can do what, exactly?” Hermione stopped her ranting and quirked an eyebrow. “What will you be doing?”

    Ron hesitated. “Er…” Ron’s voice was a frightened whisper as his face paled under Hermione’s glower. “Find Lucius.”

    With widened eyes, Hermione sat down next to Ron. “You can’t,” she murmured. “Why would you want to do that?”

    Several deep breaths later, Ron answered in haste, “Lucius wants to resurrect Voldemort and we think that killing Narcissa was just the beginning.”

    “How does he expect to revive Voldemort? It’s impossible! We’ve destroyed all the Horcruxes and he’s…dead, isn’t he?”

    “You’re not naïve, Hermione. There’s loads of dark magic out there that would allow Lucius to bring back…him… Or at least the part of him that will terrify the world.” Ron’s blue eyes glazed over momentarily as he thought of what having the Dark Wizard back would mean. Especially for his Muggle-born wife. “Things will be okay, so long as Harry, Malfoy and I can find Lucius,” Ron promised. “You have to let me do this.”

    “What if something happens to you? What am I, no, what are we,” Hermione’s hand wrapped protectively around her stomach, “going to do? I can’t raise the baby alone.”

    “Nothing is going to happen.” Ron pulled Hermione into a tight embrace. His hands traveled up and down her arms, causing goose bumps to rise. His lips found her ear as he whispered sweetly, “I love you…” He trailed kissed down her jaw line, to her neck and her chest.

    Hermione responded promptly, running her hands up Ron’s back and into his ginger hair. Every touch sparked a new sensation in her; it was almost as if they had never had contact before now. As Ron’s hands began tracing her outline and pushing her backward into the sofa, Hermione’s mind worked over her senses. She sat up quickly almost knocking her head into Ron’s.

    “I don’t think…” she said in a rushed pant. “This isn’t, well, I don’t know if it…the baby?”

    Ron sighed and ran his hand through this untidy tresses. “Right. I guess we’ll have to…wait.” The annoyance in his voice was at a minimum, but Hermione knew that he missed being with her.


    “I’m here to see Healer Pye, please,” Hermione announced to the witch at the front desk, who had a quill behind her ear and a full piece of parchment in front of her.

    “I don’t have you on the list.” The woman’s voice made Hermione shutter; the nasal sound mixed with the stuck-up prissy tone was too much. “You’ll have to reschedule.”

    “I made my appointment a week ago!” Hermione protested. “Weasley, Hermione. Check your records.” Ron put an arm around Hermione’s waist in an effort to calm the impending storm that was raging in her mind.

    “Excuse me, Mrs. Weasley, but I’ll have to ask you to reschedule. Healer Pye is-”

    “There is no one else here!” Hermione stomped her foot on the ground, dangerously close to Ron’s, and threw caution to the wind. “I will not just turn around and leave. My appointment was for three o’clock on Monday. I’m here. The healer will see me!”

    “Hermione,” Ron whispered anxiously in her ear. “We can just come back.”

    “Oh, is there a fresh batch of hormones in the office today?” A tall, gangly man came out from behind a wooden door, his square glasses on the bridge of his nose and a wide smile presenting itself. “Mrs. Granger, I will be happy to see you today. If you could just take a seat.” He gestured to the chairs in the office lined against the porcelain white wall. “Verna, dear, you must not do this to every patient that walks in the door,” he muttered quietly to his secretary before heading back through the oak door.

    Verna peered at Hermione and offered her a sarcastic smile. Obviously someone was in a foul mood and taking it out on those she could influence. “The Healer will see you now,” Vera drawled in a bored tone before ‘Alohomora’-ing the door.

    Hermione smirked as she and Ron walked through the door. “Thank you so much.”

    As they entered the Healer’s room, Hermione sat upon the cot and Ron took a stroll around the room. “You could have been nicer to her, you know?” He stuck his hand in a jar filled with cotton puffs, pulled them out and smelled them, only to shove them back in the jar when he realized there was no smell.

    “She was a wench! You heard Pye: He could see me today. She was just being nasty. And,” Hermione stood from her seat and grabbed a thin wooden stick from Ron’s hands, “stop touching stuff. It’s supposed to be sterile!”

    The door clicked open and in walked Augustus Pye. His narrow shoulders caused his white coat to look too large for his small frame, and it hung short from his waist due to his length. “Hermione,” he started happily, “I gather from your paperwork that you’re Muggle-born, yes?”

    Hermione nodded. “Will you be able to help me?” There was a tiny amount of concern in her voice. “With anything…muggle…that could happen, I mean.”

    Ron stood behind Hermione and put his hands on her shoulders; he knew how much it was bothering her that they were carrying a half-blood baby. The things that could go wrong were overweighing the things that could go perfectly.

    “I’ve dabbled in Muggle medicine,” Pye spoke confidently. “I don’t see any reason why you can’t have a healthy, natural pregnancy, my dear.”

    Hermione sighed relief. Ron, on the other hand, had a few questions for the man he had long thought strange. “Why would she need to be sewn up?” Hermione glanced up at him and sent him an irritated glare to which he returned a small smile.

    “Arthur Weasley’s son, no doubt,” Augustus smiled. He stuck out his skinny hand and wrung Ron’s hand eagerly. “I’m guessing you take after your mother, though? She wasn’t happy about the stitches either, I’m afraid.”

    “You fixed him with thread.” Ron grimaced. “And a needle!”

    “It was worth the try to save his life. Surely you understand?” He surveyed Ron over his spectacles and chuckled. “I suppose it’s difficult for a person raised completely around magic. Will you be alright with my methods of tracking your wife’s pregnancy?”

    Before Ron could answer honestly, Hermione elbowed him in the ribs. “Uh…Yeah, I’ll be fine…”

    “Now, dear, you’ll have to answer a few questions for me, okay?” Augustus turned back to her with a wide smile playing on his lips. When Hermione nodded, he continued. “Date of last menstruation?”

    “October the second,” she answered with confidence.

    “Swelling, nausea, vomiting?”

    “No to swelling, but I have been sick,” Hermione said worriedly.

    “Not to be concerned, it’s normal. Now, have you had major mood swings lately?”

    Hermione shook her head, “Not-”

    “Yes, she has,” Ron butted in. “Can you fix it?” Hermione scowled at him. “Err, I mean, will it…continue long?”

    “Not so long, no. She’ll be fine in a few months. It has to do with her estrogen levels and the new hormones that the baby is producing.” Augustus winked at Ron, knowing his difficult position.

    “Cheers,” Ron said almost inaudibly.

    “Swell!” The Healer placed his chart on the counter and began evaluating the patient in front of him. “Okay, Hermione, I’ll need to you lye back with your feet,” he reached for something underneath the chair’s bottom, “in these.”

    Ron stuttered, “W-what?” He looked nervously to Hermione and then to the metal feet holders in front of her. “I mean…W-what?”

    “Oh, right! I’m sorry,” Augustus shook his head, “Mr. Weasley, please exit the room with me while Mrs. Weasley changes into this.” He was holding up a blue gown with only strings to tie. “Those tie in the back, Hermione.”

    Augustus grabbed Ron gently by the elbow and led him from the room. The last thing Hermione saw from Ron was a horrified expression and his face turning beet red. She quickly removed her bottoms and sat upon the table, waiting for the Healer and her husband to come back.

    After several minutes, a knock on the door signaled their entrance. “Are we all set, my dear?” Augustus asked her sweetly. “I know this can be nerve-wracking, but you’re in good hands…healing hands.” He winked and chuckled.

    Hermione fidgeted with the fabric of her blue gown. She had been given female tests before, but she was unsure as to what was going to happen this time around. “What should I expect?” Her worry was not hidden.

    “This gel,” the man held up a small bottle of blue liquid, “helps for ultrasonic waves from this,” he held up a small instrument shaped like a paddle, “to give me a picture of the baby.”

    “You’re mad,” Ron blurted out. “The baby isn’t even big enough to see. No, Hermione come on, we’re leaving.”

    “Ronald!” Hermione looked to him furiously. “This is how it works in the Muggle world, be happy that Healer Pye is doing this!”

    Augustus put down the things in his hands and walked over to Ron. “I know this isn’t easy, but keep in mind it is in the best interest of your wife and child.”

    Ron gave up, hanging his head and refusing to meet either of their eyes or expressions. Hermione, who had jumped up at Ron’s wish to leave, was settling back into her seat. When Augustus put the liquid on her stomach, Hermione twitched and sucked in a deep breath. Ron was next to her in a heartbeat.

    “Is everything okay?” He stroked her hair. “Does that…goop…hurt?”

    “It’s cold,” Hermione assured him. “And sticky… Eww, I think I might throw up.” Her hand covered her mouth expectantly, but she was quickly soothed when there were squiggly black lines appearing on a miniature TV. “Is that…”

    Augustus smiled, “That’s your baby, dear.” He moved the paddle around Hermione’s stomach, catching little blips and recording them on a piece of parchment. “Congratulations.”

    Ron stared at the miniature TV in awe. “What is this and where is it?”

    “This is a sonogram,” Pye answered with a grin. “And your baby is right here.” He pointed to a small, peanut-shaped wavy line.

    “It’s so tiny,” Hermione whispered through her hand.

    “This is creepy. So, you’re showing me Hermione’s insides right now?” Ron was in shock with the Muggle machine. “I mean…we can see the baby any time?”

    “No, son, I’m sorry,” Pye warned, “you will only receive a few ultra-sounds. If it’s used too much, there could be problems.”

    “But we’ll get to see it again?” Ron asked hopefully, not understanding a word the Healer had just said.

    Augustus shook his head. “Now, one more thing before you go.” He wiped off Hermione’s belly and did a small test that neither Ron or Hermione paid much attention to; especially concerning that area. Both were scared about the questions they wanted to ask.

    After his gloves were disposed, Augustus picked up his chart, took a few notes and motioned to Hermione that she could remove her feet from the stirrups. “If you have any questions…”

    Hermione’s face burned scarlet. “We have one about…well, you see, we don’t know if…Will it hurt the baby if we’re intimate?”

    The Healer chortled, but tried to hide it under a cough. “Absolutely nothing to worry about, you two. The only time you cannot have intercourse is when your water breaks or you start having contractions.”

    “What?” Ron’s discomfort was starting to grow. These were a lot of new steps for him to take, but water breaking and contractions did not sound like they were fun. “What’s that now?”

    Hermione laughed and grabbed Ron’s hand. “I’ll explain it all later, love. Thank you, doctor, for your helpfulness.”

    “Not at all,” Pye said genuinely. “I’d like to see you once a month for routine exams. Other than that, if you have any problems, feel free to floo my office. Please, no apparation.”

    Hermione squeezed Ron’s hand tightly. “Err.. Right. Thank you, Augustus. We appreciate you helping.” The last word was spoken as a questionable guess.

    “My pleasure.” Augustus walked from the room, leaving the young couple behind.

    Hermione stood from the table and grabbed her knickers and jeans from the bedside. “What a relief!”

    Ron’s arms snaked around Hermione’s waist before she got her bottoms on. “So that means we’re okay to…”

    Hermione giggled and rolled her eyes. “Not here!”

    Author’s Note - This chapter is dedicated to SAYS, but even more, it is dedicated to three very special people - Elf_Ears13, Infairi and Dobby101. Without you girls, I’d be boring; you keep things fun and efficient. I can’t thank you enough for your dedication to SAYS and I love you all very much! *huggles* ~Jessi

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