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    Author's Note - This chapter is dedicated to all the women out there that have been or are pregnant. You know how this goes, I'm sure... =) And, much thanks to PrincessPotter for the prettyful new banner! *fangirl*






    Hermione fidgeted restlessly in her bed. She had grown quite uncomfortable lying on her stomach and even worse when she would try to lie on her back. Ron wasn't helping matters at all. He refused to budge when Hermione would shove him away, and barely made a movement when she kicked him in the shin. With an agitated sigh, she got up from the bed and walked in to the loo, slamming the door behind her to drown out Ron's grizzly snores.

    Trying her best to relax, Hermione turned the hot water knob in the shower as far as it could go. She dropped her clothes quickly and stepped into the steam, instantly slumping from the caresses of the hot water on her aching skin. The dribbles of water began to turn tepid after a while and, as luck would have it, Hermione hadn't even started cleansing herself. With a heavy sigh, she turned off the water and stepped out onto the shaggy floormat that caught the drips of water from her hair and body.

    Her hands carefully stroked the fluffy towel around her body, drying off the cooled splashes and leaving her skin dry and supple. The fog in the bathroom began dissipating as Hermione walked up to the mirror to fix her hair up into a knot. She gasped and covered her mouth as her reflection shined back at her, more plump and swelled than the last time she had looked. Her hand immediately went down to the little bump forming on her abdomen and tears welled up in her eyes. The towel that she had discarded previously was now wrapped tightly around her body as she exited the loo and walked up to her comfortably sleeping husband.

    "Ronald Weasley!" She shrieked in his ear, causing him to jump up from his lethargic state and nearly knock heads with Hermione.

    "Whassgoinon?" He asked groggily. "What? Hermione, what?"

    Tears were in her eyes and her hand was clenching the beige towel even more firmly against her body as to not let any bit of skin show. She flung herself down on the bed, crashing down on Ron's tired legs. He flinched and immediately pulled his legs from beneath her, which sparked an even bigger onset of tears from Hermione. Sighing and running a deft hand through his hair, Ron eyed his wife and warily scooted toward her. His arm went to circle her shoulders, but she pulled away.

    "Hermione, what's going on with you?" He casually glanced at the clock on their bedside table, which read three o'clock. "Why are you showering at three in the morning and why are you crying?"

    "I can't get comfortable," she muttered angrily. "You take up more than half of the damn bed." Her eyes shot dangerously at Ron, who recoiled for a split second.

    "Would you rather I sleep on the couch?" He huffed.

    Hermione rolled her eyes. "I'd still be able to hear your ungodly snoring." She stood from the bed and crossed the room to find a nightgown to wear to bed so that she could try to get comfortable.

    As she started dressing, she glanced back at Ron who was watching her in relief and curiosity. Her cheeks burned crimson and she took her nightie into the loo to put it on properly; without peeping eyes. Her cover slipped from her body and she tried unsuccessfully not to glance in the mirror. The little bump on her stomach was protruding enough for anyone to notice it and it made her feel as if she had gained three stones over night. Tears cascaded down her cheeks as she wrapped herself up in her nightgown. A small sob escaped her throat when she noticed the bump was noticable through the cream colored nightgown.

    Ron popped his head into the bathroom only to see Hermione leaning against the wall trying to adjust her already straight gown. His eyes went to where her hand was pulling the gown out from her stomach, as if she were trying to stretch it. When she let it go, it hung loosely over a small pouch. A tiny smile tugged his lips as he walked over to Hermione and cupped her cheeks in his hands.

    "She's growing," he whispered as one hand moved down to cover her abdomen. The other skillfully grazed her cheek and moved back into her hair as he pulled her lips onto his.

    Hermione shoved Ron away. "I'm getting fat!" She shouted, glaring at Ron. "My stomach is stretching, I won't be able to fit in my clothes. I'm going to have to wear moo-moos and I'll waddle and..." She looked down at the protrution and let a harsh groan escape her throat.

    Ron took Hermione's hands in his and placed them over her stomach. "You're not fat. You're pregnant," he tried to convince her. When she scoffed in response, he shook his head. "You didn't think you'd stay the same, did you?"

    Hermione removed one of her hands from Ron's hold and wiped the tears from her eyes. "I didn't think I'd gain any weight already. I mean, it's only been twelve weeks. Don't women normally gain weight later?" Hermione's jaw dropped and her eyes were wide and bloodshot. "What if I gain a hundred pounds? I mean, what if I'm defective or something?"

    Ron tried to stifle a chuckle, but was unsuccessful. "You won't gain a hundred pounds, Hermione."

    "I won't, or you don't want me to?" Hermione eyed Ron suspiciously. "You won't love me if I get fat, will you? You'll leave me and..."

    He put a finger over her lips to stop the ranting. Drawing closer to her, he breathed in earnest. "Do you really think I'm that shallow, love? You could be heavier than a bloody hippogriff and I'd love you just like I love you now."

    "You think I'll be as big as a hippogriff!" Hermione's lip trembled. "That's not possible, is it?"

    Ron shook his head, his red hair landing messily in his eyes. "Not going to happen."

    Hermione made to interrupt, her mouth was starting to open and Ron could already hear the callous tone she was going use, but he cut her off quickly as he crashed his lips to hers. After he felt her relax, he pulled away and glided his fingers along her jawline.

    "And, even if it does, I'll still love you, maybe even more so," he chuckled. "You'd definitely be one of a kind." He put his hand to his chin and smirked. "Not even Eloise Midgeon..."

    Hermione punched Ron on the arm and grinned. "Finish that sentence and you're dead!"

    *


    Hermione stared at Ron as he guzzled down his extra strong coffee. Jealousy flooded her; her arms were crossed over her chest and her eyes were narrowed, daring him to speak one word to her. It wasn't fair that after the episode last night, being up until five in the morning, he could wake up instantly with the glorious jolts of caffeine, and her pregnant, tired self had to suffer the consequences of Ron's male hormones playing up.

    "Will you be late tonight?" She asked him with edge.

    Ron quirked an eyebrow. "Planning on having your boyfriend over?" His grin reached his eyes, but quickly fell when Hermione answered.

    "Oh yes," she sighed. "We just can't wait to have this flat all to ourselves. All the christening we can do in all the rooms." Hermione giggled and stood from the table, throwing Ron a cheeky grin.

    In seconds Ron had jumped after her and pushed her to the wall, his hands on either side of her head. "You're a naughty girl, you know that?"

    Hermione grinned. "I'm perfectly innocent." Her eyes were round as galleons as she batted her eyelashes at him. "Have a wonderful day, love."

    She pecked him on the cheek and ducked under his arms. Ron put his fist to the wall. Why does she do that? His sexual frustration was at an all time high ever since her hormones changed. She seemed more cheeky, something he missed after they had gotten married. If he was mental, he could almost say he wanted her pregnant all the time. Finally, he moved from the wall over to the floo and left for work with a cheesy smile planted on his face.

    Just after Ron left, Hermione made her way to the floo, hoping to catch Ginny at her flat. She dropped the powder and shouted very clearly for the Potter flat.

    "Hermione!" Ginny screeched. "How are you? What's wrong? What has my prat of a brother done now?" The scowl on her face caused Hermione to laugh once more.

    "No, nothing like that. I just..." Hermione closed her eyes and tried to put away her feelings of inadequecy over gaining weight. "I need to do some shopping and I'd rather not go alone."

    Ginny didn't answer, instead she apparated straight into Hermione's apartment with a determined face. "Well, are we going or what?"

    *


    Dinner was served just as Ron stepped from the floo. Hermione was bustling around the kitchen in her latest maternity outfit, humming an off-key tune. He sneaked up behind her and put his hands around her waist, resting his hands on her stomach. He kissed her on the cheek as she sank into him.

    "New outfit?" Ron spun her around and took a glance at her. The robes were plain black and tied around the back. "You look beautiful."

    "Ginny and I went shopping. My," she paused and breathed deep, "clothes were a bit tight."

    "And did Ginny choose your clothes?" He leaned closer in interest. He knew Hermione hated shopping and that she was most likely to buy a million books before she bought herself new robes. She nodded and he smiled. "What's for dinner?"

    "Pasta with Pesto. And I was thinking, maybe for dessert we could..." She trailed off as her hand travelled the length of Ron's chest. She glanced up at Ron, her eyes clouded over.

    Ron pulled Hermione close and kissed her passionately; her eyes fluttered shut and her breathing picked up. His taste was a craving on its own. She couldn't take herself away from him. Every time he moved away, she would follow him and engage him in another session.

    Ron moved and this time blocked himself from Hermione. "I've got somewhere I want to take you later," he ground out, with his hand to his forehead. "It's rather important."

    Hermione's fevered body was unaware of the anxiety Ron was emitting. "Alright, well, what is it for?"

    "It's a surprise of sorts," Ron answered hastily. "Let's eat?"

    Confused, Hermione nodded and walked over to the pesto and filled her plate. She pecked around her plate, lost in thought over a surprise that Ron could be planning for her. All of the major things were out of the way; wedding, pregnancy. Maybe he had gotten a promotion! That would help when she had to take off of Hogwarts for maternity leave. When they were both done eating and filled to the brim with food, Hermione started to clear the table and clean the mess. Ron gently held her wrist and sent her to relax. He took care of the dishes and even used the dish washer the right way for the first time ever.

    "So, about that surprise," Hermione prompted as Ron entered the living room. "What is it?"

    Ron didn't answer, but his eyes lit up in a childish way. He waltzed to Hermione and grabbed her hand, taking care while yanking her from the couch and leading her outside.

    "Ron! Where are we going?" She asked as he led her down the street. "What..."

    "Will you just enjoy the stroll in the moonlight?" Ron heaved in irritation. "Let me surprise you, perhaps?"

    "It'd be nice to know..." Hermione stopped herself and followed her husband silently until they reached an almost abandoned park. "Why are we here?" She questioned curiously.

    "Accio, Clean Sweep." Ron flicked his wand and, after a few seconds a rushing sound filled the silent night air.

    "Ron?" Hermione was worried. His Clean Sweep wasn't going to do them any good. Hermione tugged on Ron's arm as the broom came to a halt in front of them. "We are not..." Her voice faltered as she felt Ron drag her forward toward the handle of the broom. "Ronald! I am not getting on that... thing!"

    "Please, let me take you somewhere. I'm safe. I've been flying for ages," he pleaded. "We can't apparate because of your condition. We can't floo there because it's not in the network."

    "I can't get on a broom, Ron!" Hermione shrieked and pulled her hand from his. "You can't expect a pregnant woman to get on one of those death traps!"

    Ron groaned. "Hermione, you'll be fine, really. I promise." He put his hand on his heart and pierced her eyes with his.

    "I'll weigh it down!" Hermione yelped. "It can't support two of us, much less a very pregnant woman!"

    Ron sighed. "You are not fat!"

    Hermione was affronted. Her hands went immediately to her hips and her already narrowed eyes shot daggers at Ron. "Did I say anything about being fat? So, that's how you feel? Because I'm pregnant, I'm fat?"

    "Did I say...I didn't...Merlin!" Ron cursed as he looked up at the sky. "Listen, Hermione. I don't think you're fat. I don't think you'll get fat. I think you're pregnant and beautiful. Just get on the damn broom."

    She sneered in return. "Oh, and now you're ordering me around? Let me tell you something, Ronald Billius Weasley." Hermione took strategically slow steps toward Ron, her finger outstretched and she jabbed him in the chest. "I am not some tart you can just give orders to. You think you can just take me away on a romantic flight and I'll be fine. No, first you call me fat and then you insist that I get on a thin piece of wood with twigs at the end. How does that spell safety to you?" Her chest was heaving and her temperature was raised so high that her cheeks were flaming red.

    "Fine!" Ron cracked. "I'll do it here." He planted himself on the ground and looked up at Hermione. "Please sit next to me."

    Hermione smirked internally at her victory and sat down a few feet away from Ron. Her temper was finally calming down when she noticed the difficulty Ron was having with getting his words out. "Ron?" She questioned quietly.

    "I've been given the assignment," he muttered almost inaudibly. "The Malfoy case."

    Hermione sat in stunned silence staring at Ron, who refused to meet her eyes. His hands fiddled with the grass, uprooting several blades and tossing them to the side. She tried to form words, but somehow they weren't leaving her mouth.

    "I'm to leave... soon," he finally continued. "And, as much as I don't want to, Hermione... I have to."

    "Where are you going?" She squeaked.

    Ron put his hand on hers and coerced her closer to him. When her head rested on his shoulder, he sighed as he felt the tears burning his eyelids. "I can't tell you. It could put you in danger."

    Hermione's lip quivered and her brow furrowed. "How long will you be gone?" Her hand went straight to the tiny lump that was her abdomen.

    "I won't come back until Lucius is caught. Otherwise I could put our family at risk," Ron replied bitterly.

    "And, when do you leave?"

    There was a pregnant pause before Ron answered. He held his breath and in one hesitant word, he answered her. "Tomorrow."






    Author's Note - I am SO sorry for the insane wait on this chapter. Lots of things are going on lately. I hope you enjoyed! More to come soon!! =) ~Jessi

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