The Sugar Quill
Author: greeneyeobsession  Story: Just My Imagination  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: I do not own Ron, Hermione, Harry, Ginny, or any other Harry Potter characters

Disclaimer: I do not own Ron, Hermione, Harry, Ginny, or any other Harry Potter characters. I only own characters you do not recognize from the books.




A/N:  I want to give credit to the Cranberries, who wrote and performed “Just My Imagination”, my sole inspiration for this piece.  (Well, that and the Harry Potter books, of course.)







“Ron.  Ron, wake up.  Paige is crying.”



With a roll and a grunt, Ron slid out of bed and crossed the room to the door.  The hall echoed with screams and wails, and as he entered the moonlit bedroom he was forced to cover his ears.



Ron leaned over the crib and lifted the unhappy girl.  Not completely awake, he stumbled across the room to the rocking chair.  There, he sat down and brought the screaming child’s head to his shoulder, and began to slowly rock in the chair.  Ron’s whispers were desperate.  “It’s alright, Paige, it’s all right.  Daddy’s here.”



The humming vibration of his chest caused the baby’s screams to diminish. “There, there, let Mummy sleep.”  The child slowed to a heavy breathing, with an occasional hiccup.  Ron soothed her by rubbing her back with his big hands.



When the little head lolled gently against his, he stood up slowly.  He set her down softly onto the little crib mattress.  She stirred slightly when he turned her onto her stomach, but released not a sound.  Ron let out a small sigh of relief and tiptoed back to his own bedroom.



Sliding back into bed next to his sleeping wife, he snuggled up against her and kissed her on the cheek, closing his eyes.



Hermione smiled.






The taste of baby food lingered in her mouth.  She sipped her coffee, and tried again.  “Please, sweetheart, you need to eat your breakfast.  Mummy likes it!”  The girl in the highchair only responded to the desperate coaxing by making a general point at the coffee mug.  Hermione sighed and drained the cup, then tilted it so the child could see inside it.  “Oops!  All gone!”  Not satisfied, Paige babbled and pointed at the mug again.  Hermione looked at it and realized why the girl wanted the cup; on the outside was a waving picture of Ron, making silly faces and hand gestures.  Hermione laughed.  “Oh, Paige, Daddy’s at work!”  Ignoring her mother, Paige flexed her outstretched fingers at the mug and babbled again.  Without any other solution coming to mind, Hermione reluctantly placed the ceramic mug onto the surface of the highchair.  The smiling girl grabbed the mug at once and tried to pull it close to her nose.  “Dah-dee!  Dah-dee!”



Hermione gasped.



“Paige!  Paige, did you just say ‘Daddy’?”  The girl continued to shout her newfound word.  “Dah-dee, Dah-dee, Dah-ah-ah-dee!”  When her request for his presence was not met, she pushed the cup away, and looked at her mother sadly.  When all her mother could do was look at her as though to say, “Sorry,” her face turned red, contorted into a grimace, and she began to scream.  Tears streamed down her cheeks and she cried louder and louder.  “Dah-deeee!!”



Hermione jumped up and lifted her out of the highchair.  “Oh Paige, it’s all right!  We can go see Daddy!”  Paige leaned her head on her mother’s shoulder, muffling the screams. Hermione walked hurriedly into the den and sat down at the desk, all the while soothing her daughter.  She frantically searched for something, tearing out papers and envelopes, among other things.  When the desk was officially messier than it had begun, Hermione sighed with relief.



“Paige, look!  There’s Daddy!”  Paige, reluctant to stop crying, looked at the picture in Hermione’s hand when she was turned around.  Smiling back at her were both of her parents, silently cooing and waving at her.  Paige started hiccupping, and reached her hands out.  Hermione let her have the picture, and sat Paige on her knee.  With both hands free, she tried to clear the desk as much as she could, but kept out a spare piece of parchment.  She wrote:





Paige just said her first word!  I can’t believe you missed it.  You won’t guess what she said: Daddy!  Oh but then she got upset that you weren’t here, and she was crying so hard, so I’ve just given her a picture of us.  She’s sucking on your head a bit – I can tell she really wants you home.  If you’re not too busy at work, maybe you could pop into the fire sometime around lunch?




Love, Hermione




She sealed it and sent Pig on his way to the Ministry.  Paige still had the picture in her mouth, and when Hermione took it away to resume breakfast, the girl’s lips pouted and trembled.  Eager not to have a repeat episode of ten minutes ago, Hermione gave it back.  So much for breakfast, she thought.



Paige mumbled and said, “Dah-dee!”



It was going to be a long day.






It was late in the evening when Ron got home.  He quickly ate some of the lukewarm pasta on the stove, too tired to heat it up, and trudged up the stairs to a warm bed.



He opened the door only a little to make sure he didn’t wake her, but found that Hermione had her nose, like always, buried in a book that looked suspiciously like Hogwarts, A History.






Without looking up, Hermione marked her page with her bookmark and replied, “Hello.”  She gave Ron a quick kiss, and then he walked back around the bed and into the bathroom, leaving the door open halfway.  “When did you get Paige to sleep?” His shirt muffled his voice as he pulled it over his head.



“Just about thirty minutes ago.”  After a few moments Ron returned, shirtless with a pair of gray sweatpants.  He lifted the ivory duvet and lay down between the sheets, and yawned.









“We don’t do anything.”



“Being a bit blunt, aren’t you?”



“What I mean is… we always used to do things.”



“What d’you mean?” Ron asked, closing his eyes and folding his arms beneath his head.



“We don’t go out for dinner, we don’t take walks, and we don’t have people over… we never get to spend time with each other.”



“Well, we’re here together right now, aren’t we?”



She muttered something that sounded suspiciously like ‘tactless’, and she turned out the light and rolled over.



“Hey, what did I say?”  He turned his light on.  “You have to talk to me if you’re angry.”



At that Hermione aggressively threw off the covers, sat up and on her feet and looked seriously into his wondering blue eyes.  “Ron, I am trying to tell you.  We don’t – do – anything – anymore!  You’re always working, and I’m here with the daughter you don’t spend time with –“



“You’ve said it, Hermione.  We can’t go partying every weekend anymore.  We have a child now.”



“We can get a ‘sitter.”



“A ‘sitter’?”



“A babysitter.  To watch Paige while we go out and have a night to ourselves.”



“Leave… leave her with someone else?  Hermione, do you think that – wise?  She’s, she’s just so small –“



“Oh be serious, Ron.  She would be in safe hands!  It’s not like I would leave her with a Death Eater!  We could just ask Remus, he loves children, or Harry and Ginny, or –“



“Alright, alright, I see your point.  I’ll think about all of this.  But I think for now,” he turned out the light, “we need to get some sleep.”  He curled up under the covers.  With a sigh Hermione followed suit.  Ron wrapped her in his arms, and she gave in and snuggled up against his chest.  The peaceful silence between the two lasted for several minutes until a cry from down the hall disrupted their sleep.  Ron sat up. “I’ll go.”






Such strong relief was a sleeping child.  Ginny sat down on the couch and closed her eyes.  “That girl is her father’s daughter,” she said aloud to herself, and she chuckled at her husband’s own stubbornness.  And then came an unexpected crack.



Hermione sat up quickly to see who would possibly be arriving at her home this early in the evening.  “Ron!  What are you doing home so early?  Is everything alright?”



“Everything’s fine.  Honestly, your first reaction is something terrible’s happened.  Anyway,” he said smiling, proud of himself perhaps, “I’ve made reservations for dinner in London.  There’s a new restaurant at Diagon Alley, so if you go and change into something nice, we can be on our way.”



Hermione was almost speechless.  “Ou – out?  But – but what about Paige?”



“I’ve contacted Charlie; he and Tonks are in London this week.  He said they would be happy to help out and watch our ‘darling girl’.  They’ll come by ‘round five.  That gives us about…” he looked around at the clock, “thirty minutes.  Now go up and get changed!”



“Right. Change,” Hermione said, and she practically flew up the stairs.



She returned a little disheveled, smoothing her blue robes, and her hair in a simple knot.



“Beautiful,” Ron said grinning, though his ears turned their usual red.  Together they walked to the foyer to wait for Charlie and Tonks’ arrival.  Sure enough, in a matter of minutes, there came two loud cracks.  ‘Hello’s and hugs were exchanged, and Tonks tripped on a baby toy.  (“It was in the middle of the floor!”)  Hermione made sure all vital information was passed on, and she and Ron Apparated to Diagon Alley.






They arrived at “The Snitch”, a restaurant isolated from a lot of the shops.  The lights were fairly dim, and the whole place had a cozy feel to it.  Hermione looked around, and immediately spotted Harry and Ginny sitting at a table set for four.  “Harry!  Ginny!  Ron didn’t mention you were coming!”  They stood up and received literal breath-taking hugs from Hermione.  When she was finished, they all sat down.  Moments later, a waitress took their orders for drinks: Harry and Ron with firewhiskeys, Hermione with a red wine, and Ginny with strawberry syrup with soda and ice.  When she left Hermione decided to start a conversation.  “You know, Ginny, you could’ve ordered anything you wanted, this is a nice place.”  Harry and Ginny exchanged glances.  “Well,” Harry started, “we have some, er… news.”



“News?” Ron repeated, “What sort of news?”



“Well, erm… Ginny and I… we’re going to… have a baby.”



Ginny blushed.  “Yes, I’m about 2 ½ months.”



Ron’s jaw dropped, and Hermione gasped.  “Oh Ginny, that’s wonderful!  Ron, isn’t this wonderful?  Ron?”



Ron was still frozen with shock and amazement.  “My… own sister…”



Ginny rolled her eyes, sat up and reached across the table to smack her brother’s cheek, all in one fluid motion.  “As if you were the only one going to have kids.  Git…” She shook her head but started laughing, “Actually, I was probably as shocked as you were when I found out.  It wasn’t exactly… planned…” Ginny’s whole head looked like it was on fire.  Ron laughed uneasily, but held out a hand to his best friend nonetheless.



“Er, congratulations, mate,” he said as Harry shook the outstretched hand.



Harry nodded. “Thanks.”



The two excited couples discussed baby names and clothes and Quidditch and Hogwarts and many other things while they ate their meal.  Afterwards they went to Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, and then walked the streets while licking their ice creams.  When they finished, Harry and Ginny said goodbye and went home.  Deciding they too were exhausted from the evening’s happenings, Ron and Hermione Apparated home.



They arrived at a silent household, and upon reaching the living room they found Tonks asleep on the couch.  Then a voice came from behind them.



“She hasn’t been that worn out since she watched Bill’s girl, Eloise.  Lord, that girl’s got that hint of Veela and puts it to good use.”  He paused, and as Hermione opened her mouth to ask about her daughter, he said, “Paige was fine; Tonks just isn’t used to it.  She’s upstairs, sleeping like a dragon.”  Hermione looked horrified.  Charlie chuckled. “That’s a good thing, a sleeping dragon.  Meaning it’s not awake…?”  Hermione released the breath she’d been holding.  Charlie walked over to the couch and whispered, “Tonks, they’re back, we can go home.”  Tonks moaned, yawned, and stretched in one fluid motion.  She opened her eyes and smiled.  “Have a nice night?”



Hermione nodded.  “Yes, thank you.”  Tonks smiled wider.  “Good, good.”  She got up, and stumbled from standing up too fast.  Charlie held her around the shoulders.  “Watch it, there.  Ready?”  She nodded while yawning a second time.  Charlie grinned.  “Well, see you too later.”  They Disapparated together, with two cracks.



Ron and Hermione went up to their bedroom quietly.  They fell into bed and turned out the lights.  “’Night,” Ron whispered.  He looked her in the eyes.  They held a long gaze before Ron began to lean closer.  Hermione closed her eyes and felt intense heat.  She pulled open her eyes.  Ron had disappeared into thin air, leaving behind trails of smoke.




 Hermione woke up, sweating and gasping for air.




 She looked to her left.  The bed was still made.  Tears stung at the corners of her eyes.  Then a voice came from down the hall.



“Mummy!  Mummy!”



Hermione peeled the ivory duvet off of her wet body and walked swiftly to the bedroom from whence the voice had come.  “What is it, dear?” she asked as she sat down on the bed.  “Mummy, I had a bad dream.  It was very bad and it scared me!”



“Oh, it’s alright love, it’s alright,” said the mother, and she pulled her daughter into a comforting hug as tears rolled down both of their cheeks.  “Shush… you don’t want to wake your brother…  It’s alright, Paige…”



Hermione recalled the dream.  He had been so real; she had felt his presence.  But he was never coming back.



It was, after all, just her imagination.




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