There they stood, staring at the vast expanse of space. So empty, so desolate, so... bland. Hermione pursed her lips as she concentrated, looking from the space, to her husband. Ron read the look in her eyes: it was her "thinking" look, the look the got when ideas were rushing through her head at top speed, and she was trying to find one that would work. Her mouth would part, as if she'd finally gotten an idea, then shut quickly, and those lips would purse again. After five minutes of intense staring, Hermione spoke.
"There." She muttered, wandering over to the corner, pointing. "Right here." Ron nodded slowly.
"Are you sure?" He asked, taking a step towards her. She nodded. "I mean, for sure? You've changed your mind almost twenty times." Hermione turned and glared at him.
"The reason for my doing so is because the other spots weren't perfect." She spouted, crossing her arms. "And yes, Ron, I'm for sure. This spot is perfect." She stared at the spot on the floor a little bit longer, then looked back up at Ron. "I'm sorry." She muttered.
"It's okay, love." Ron smiled, accepting her into his arms. All this over where to put the crib. Wow. "I understand." He heard a sob, and pulled back, looking down at her. "Are you crying?" She shook her head, wiping a few tears away. "You're crying. Why?" She looked up at him and shrugged before pressing her face into his chest again. That's one thing about pregnancy that I don't like, Ron thought to himself. Mood swings. He looked down at his wife and smiled. They're cute, though. Very cute. Random, but adorable.
"I'm sorry." Hermione pulled away, wiping her eyes. "I don't even know why I'm crying!" She smiled and placed her head back on his chest. "One minute, I'm happy, and the next, I'm bawling. Sometimes I hate being pregnant!" He held her closer - as close as he could without her belly getting in the way - and ran a hand through her hair. They stood there in silence, one of the first they'd had for a while.
"Only one more month. Then we'll have a baby." He smiled at that sentance, and although he couldn't see it, she did too. "Then you'll probably wish you were pregnant instead." He added. and she pulled back, smirking. She shook her head but said nothing, turning and walking out of the room. "What?" Ron turned to follow her. She laughed to herself, and glanced back at him.
"You're lucky." She said, making her way to the nearby couch. She sat down and her sore legs thanked her. She lay her head back and shut her eyes.
"For what?" Ron asked, walking behind the couch and looking down at her. She opened her eyes and smiled at him.
"That you're so cute." She shut her eyes again and sank into the cushion, relaxing. Ron placed his hands on her shoulders and started massaging them, and she sighed happily. "And... such a good masseuse..." She added, sinking even lower into the cushion. He continued his massage for a few minutes, until she began mumbling something about quidditch and chicken - which was what they'd had for supper last week - and suddenly stopped. Ron could feel her steady breathing on his face. He smiled. His mission had been accomplished; she was asleep! After nearly a week of sitting up with her because she couldn't fall asleep... "Ron?" He sighed. So, so, so close!
"Yeah?" He asked, stroking her cheek while looking down at her. She opened her eyes and waited a moment before saying,
"I'm hungry." He rolled his eyes, laughing. She sat up and turned around, watching him laugh. "What?! I am!" She pouted jokingly. "I just... I really want some spaghetti."
"Spaghetti?" Ron asked, puzzled. "But you said you hated the smell of the sauce. You said it made you sick." It was true. In her second month, they'd went to an Italian place for a nice dinner. Upon arriving, Hermione had promptly ran to the ladies room and stayed there for nearly thirty minutes. She'd said that the smell of the pasta sauce made her absolutely nauseous. Two months later, they'd went out to a pizza place with Ginny and Harry, and the same thing happened. From then on, Ron and Hermione had stayed away from anything with pasta sauce in it.
"I know, I know... but I just reaaaaallly want some." She grinned up at him. "Please?" He rolled his eyes, smiling back.
"We'll see." He said, knowing that he'd end up making spaghetti before the night was over. "Now go get dressed, love."
"Why?" She asked, confused. "I haven't got any appointments, and Harry and Ginny won't be here until about 7:00. And I haven't made any plans..."
"Well, I did. Come on." He helped her up and escorted her to their bedroom. She regained her balance and looked at him, raising a brow. "What?"
"Where're we going?" She asked. He shook his head. She glared at him, but his face didn't change from his silly grin. "Come on, Ron!" He shook his head. She sighed, frustrated, and gave in. "This better be good." She said, pulling off her shirt and replacing it with one of his t-shirts. She found her favorite pair of sneakers and slipped into them, turning to look at him. "I'm dressed. Happy?" He nodded, taking her hand and leading her back out.
"We're going to walk, if that's alright with you?" At this point she was smirking, trying not to laugh. True, she had no clue whatsoever where they were going. But the way he'd been acting the past few weeks... it was the sweetest he'd ever been to her. How could she get frustrated with that? She nodded. He laced her hand in his and led her out the door, grabbing a coat from the rack by the door just in case. They stepped outside into the crisp September air. The leaves on the ground crunched beneath their feet as they walked down the street, and it made Hermione smile. "Got a clue, yet?" Ron asked, pulling her closer. She shrugged.
"No idea." She replied, swinging their hands. "How long until we get there?" He laughed.
"Just a minute. Be patient, love." He led her past a playground, with young kids laughing and screaming with glee. Hermione paused to look, gazing intently at the children that weren't her own. Ron smiled, watching his wife.
"Look, Ron." She said in a whisper, smiling softly. "Isn't it.... amazing?" Ron nodded, kissing her cheek.
"And pretty soon, we'll have one of our own." He then pulled at her hand gently. "We best keep going. We have to be back before Gin and Harry get there." She nodded, and turned to follow him. They walked a few more minutes before Ron turned and led her under a gazebo into an abandoned little park. They were there. "Do you know where we are now?" He gave her hand a gentle squeeze and she felt a chill run through her body. She looked around. The trees were just like they had been - orange and yellow, with the majority of their leaves on the ground, nearly covering the pathways. The rippling of the pond, along with their breathing and the rustling of the leaves in the wind, was the only sound she could hear. In her mind, she rushed back to...
"The night you asked me to marry you." She responded in a whisper, looking over at him. He was glowing almost, smiling ear to ear, and it made her heart skip even though they'd been together forever. He nodded, leading her onward. She lay her head on his shoulder as they walked, closing her eyes and breathing him in. "Why'd you bring us here?"
"Just thought it'd be nice. Get you out of the house for some fresh air... and to be alone with you." He stopped and turned to face her, his free hand softly caressing her cheek. "Now where are we?" She looked up and saw that they were under a tree. Not just any tree, a gigantic elm tree with yellow, green, red, orange, and brown leaves. The largest tree in the park, possibly in the city.
"Our tree." She smiled and kissed him gently. "It's our tree." Ron's hand traced it's way down the side of her face to her stomach, resting it on her pregnant belly. He nodded, releasing her hand and wrapping his hand around her waist, their foreheads touched.
"I love you." He whispered, holding her close. Hermione's heart started beating quicker at his words. Here they were, married for nearly two years, and being this intimate and close with him still gave her butterflies. All this time, and hearing him tell her he loved her made her feel like a little girl again. "And I can't wait to have this baby with you."
"Me too." She answered. She then realized how un-romantic her response was compare to what he had said, and she kissed him softly. "I'm so lucky to have you." She whispered into his lips, meaning the words with all of her heart. "So, so lucky."
"On the contrary." Ron smiled. "I'm lucky to have you, Mione." They stood there in an embrace in the still of the late afternoon, like a moment frozen in time. Any words spoken wouldn't have mattered, would've had no meaning to them at that point. They both knew, they both understood, and there was no need for words. Seconds that felt like hours and minutes that felt like days and moments that felt like heaven passed.
"We should get back." Hermione broke the silence - unwillingly - and pulled back slightly. Ron smiled lightly.
"And what if I don't want to?" He hugged her tighter, at least as tight as he could without her belly getting in the way. She laughed.
"Ginny and Harry are expecting us, love, we don't want to be away when they show up. They - and by 'they' I mean Ginny - would be very upset." She pulled back a little more, taking his hand and swinging it lightly. He laughed.
"Yeah, Gin would get rather angry if her babysitters weren't there." He started walking and was met with resistance. He turned to see her standing still, watching him with dancing eyes. She smiled lightly, and tugged him back to her, kissing him soundly. They remained there another glorious moment before Hermione began walking.
"Come on now!" She grinned and broke from his hand, running as fast as her swollen ankles would carry her. She turned and laughed as she ran, as if teasing him and challenging him to catch her. Ron went along behind her, grabbing her wrist.
"Not so fast." Their hands locked again and they continued their race down the street, playfully pushing each other and attempting to win the race. It was declared a tie by Hermione when they arrived back at the flat, and Ron said it was only a tie because she didn't want to admit she lost. She pouted and said it wasn't her fault she couldn't run fast while pregnant. They laughed together, and it wasn't soon after that that Harry and Ginny arrived. Hermione suddenly felt very sleepy, and sat back on the couch. She closed her eyes for just a second, only a second...
Meanwhile, Ron kept trying to take baby Oliver out of his sister's protective arms. She was very apprehensive about leaving him for the first time, and it was showing. Harry found this to be very adorable. Ron found it t be very annoying.
"Are you sure?" Ginny furrowed her brow, holding her baby close. Harry laughed, taking Oliver from his wife's arms and handing him to Ron, who sighed and laughed.
"They'll be fine, Ginny, love. Let's go, or we'll miss our reservation." Harry took Ginny's hand. "Goodbye Ron, Hermione. Best of luck." Ron nodded.
"Have fun!" He called out behind them, shutting the door. He turned and adjusted baby Oliver in his arms and walked into the living area. Hermione was on their couch, her eyes shut. She had been trying to stay awake, he could see. But it was hard. This was almost her eighth month, after all, worst time for sleeping. And if they were going to have a baby in a month, then she needed as much sleep as possible. And besides, she looked so cute like that. So if she was sleeping, then he was going to let her-
"Ron?" Hermione's eyes fluttered open, and she smiled softly. "They left? They were just here, and I sat down and I shut my eyes and.." She blinked a few times, rubbing her eyes.
"You just missed them." He laughed. "Go on back to sleep, love. I've got the baby." She stared back at him, standing up and yawning.
"I couldn't sleep." She said, her hands massaging the small of her back. "I was almost there and then I got this contraction and I have to use the loo-"
"Wait, you had a contraction? Doesn't that mean-" Ron made a motion to grab her emergency bag.
"No, no. Braxton Hicks, practice contractions. Nothing at all to worry about." She rolled her eyes playfully and started for the bathroom. "Thought you would have read about those." Ron shook his head and looked down at the baby in his arms. The baby looked back at him, a little grin on his face that reminded Ron very much of Harry.
"What are you looking at me like that for?" He asked, stroking Oliver's face with his finger. His skin was soft and smooth, reminding him of Hermione. And he was so small. At five months old, he seemed like a mere week old. Ron was entranced by the bundle in his arms, and couldn't stop thinking about his own baby. Oliver's green eyes were just like his fathers. His tuft of dark red hair and freckles, his mothers. What would Hermione's baby look like? Sure, the ultrasound they saw two weeks ago gave then an idea of what the baby looked like, but he wanted to see the real thing. Would it have red hair? Blue eyes? Brown eyes?
"Back!" His wife entered the room again, looking quite relieved and awake once more; no circles under her clear brown eyes that indicated she'd only slept about seven hours in the past two days. I guess those late-night sessions at Hogwarts made her immune to being sleepy. "So, how long did Harry say they'd be gone?" And when she finally does fall asleep, she's out for good.
"Depended on how Ginny felt." Ron shrugged. Harry and Ginny were going out to dinner. They hadn't gone out since the baby was born, mainly because Ginny never wanted to leave the baby. But Ginny had finally given into Harry and decided to ask Ron and Hermione to baby-sit. It'd taken some - a lot, really - of prodding on Harry's part, but she finally gave in. Secretly, she was glad to have a night out with Harry. But she wasn't going to say anything. "He said that she's been really tired too, with the new baby and all." Hermione's arms opened and Ron have her their godchild. "Ollie may be spending the night with us."
"Sounds fun." Hermione smiled down at the baby. "Don't you think, Oliver?" The baby made a gurgling noise, which Hermione took as a gurgle of happiness. "That's what I thought." She grinned, bouncing the baby in her arms. Ron rolled his eyes and snorted, turning and walking into the kitchen. "What?" Hermione shifted Oliver in her arms and followed him. "Are you laughing at me?"
"Surprised at how enthusiastic you are about having a crying baby around just a month before you have one of your own." Ron replied, shrugging. "But, yes, I am laughing at you, love." Hermione scowled at him, holding the baby close to her. "At how hopelessly cute you and that baby are." He added, redeeming himself. She sighed.
"If anyone's hopeless..." She began, looking at him as she crossed the room. She sat down in the chair that was opposite his direction and adjusted the infant in her arms, watching him finish cooking. She inhaled deeply and detected the faint scent of... spaghetti? "I love you."
"You only love me for my cooking skills, darling." Ron said with a smile, mixing together spices in the marinara sauce.
"Absolutely." She replied, laying her head back against the chair and shutting her eyes. "Every woman's dream is to have a man that can cook. That's the reason I married you, after all. Not because of I loved you, but because you could cook."
"Really now? I think I'm going to go have a nice sob in the corner." He responded, chuckling as he poured the noodles onto two plates for the both of them.
"You do that. And I think I'll have a nice laugh." She managed with a yawn, shifting Oliver in her arms. He made a soft noise, but didn't move. He was alseep. And suddenly she was hit with a wave of exhaustion, one she hadn't felt in a long time. Suddenly she didn't feel like doing anything else but laying here... she felt as if once her eyelids shut, she'd fall asleep...
"I think I will." He answered as he sat the plates down on the dining room table and grabbed two glasses from the sink. "What do you want to drink, love?" There was nothing. Maybe she hadn't heard him. "Hermione, what do you want to drink?" Again he was met with silence. "Hermione?" Nothing. He stuck his head into the living quarters, and had to hold back his laughter.
Hermione was, once again, fast asleep. There was even a soft snoring noise coming from her mouth. The baby in her arms was sleeping too, nestled against his aunt.
"Only you." He said in a low voice, shaking his head with a grin. He sat down on the couch beside her and watched her sleep, watched the steady rising and falling of her chest, listened to her breathing. The sound of her breathing, along with the steady ticking of the second hand on the clock, caused his eyelids to droop. And it wasn't too long before he himself was asleep as well.
Authors Note: That was my milestone chapter. It took me a while to write, obviously. Part of this time, two months of it, I've been out of reach of a computer at camp/college, so I couldn't update at all! A thousand apologies wouldn't be enough for making you wait this long! So sorry! The next chapter is flowing in my mind, it shouldn't take long, the wait won't be as long at ALL. Well, I hope you liked this chapte, please leave me reviews telling me what you thought! New chapter up soon, promise! Also, a shout-out to the wonderful Loonie_Julie, who made my absolutely gorgeous banner! I love it, don't you?
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