The Sugar Quill
Author: Jen (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: What to Really Expect When You're a Wizard Expecting  Chapter: Part One
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

In this story, Ron and Hermione are both 20 and have been married for a few months.  Ron is a pediatrician (because I want him to be one) and Hermione works for the Ministry; specifically, for the Experimental Charms department.  I think that's all the info you need to understand what's going on…

Also, lots of thanks to Zsenya for beta reading!


Part 1

Ron didn't like riding on the bus.  He was a wizard, and he should be able to just Apparate like normal people, he had said; however, Hermione had proceeded to point out that they were living in a Muggle area, and therefore would travel the Muggle way so that the neighbors would not get suspicious.  At the time, he had grudgingly agreed and taken the bus, but now he had put it all behind him and was ready to give Hermione a firm kick in the rear, wife or not.  Admittedly, he would not be able to do much damage in his current condition—that, too, was her fault—but he was sure that it would make him feel much better than he was feeling at the moment. 

            It had all started eight months ago, when he had arrived home from work to find Hermione sitting nervously on the couch, apparently waiting for him to walk through the door.  An odd conversation had taken place; she had asked how he felt about children, and he, being thick, as usual, had replied with something a little insensitive in a very joking manner.  She had stood up in horror and started to scold him; he replied with amazement, still wondering what was wrong, and a very heated argument had ensued.  You idiot, he thought to himself, even then as he recalled the fight on the bus.  It was obvious to him now what had been going on that day…

***

            "Hermione, I was only kidding!" Ron reassured in vain, attempting to move toward her.  "I want kids someday!  Really!  I just don't want you waddling around right now like a poor, misplaced duck, puking at every odd smell and pulling me away to Lamaze classes—"

            "THAT'S IT!" Hermione yelled, face burning red, pulling out her wand.  "I am giving you five seconds to take back what you just said!"

"No, sorry, I'm not taking it back, because I mean it!"

"You're choice!  ADDO GRAVIDITAS!"

            Ron suddenly was suddenly jolted back and felt a hot, pinching pain in his lower abdomen; when he looked down, he saw that it was glowing red.  He was tingling all over; when he went to touch his stomach the light subsided, but the twinge of pain stayed where it was.  Looking up with a questioning look on his face, his eyes met with those of the extraordinarily vengeful Hermione, who was breathing heavily and holding her wand with fury.

            "Hermione," he asked, delicately but firmly and a little apprehensively, "what was the spell that you just cast?"

            She remained silent, her glare losing some of its potency and becoming more of a firm stare.

            "Hermione," he inquired again, waiting to go on in order to give her a chance to speak.  She did not seize the opportunity, so he continued.  "What was that row all about?"

            Again, she just stared hardly at him, a softer look creeping over her features.

            "Why were you so upset when I was just joking about not wanting to have…kids…."  Ron trailed off and his face suddenly grew soft.  "Are…are you…pregnant?" he asked, stunned at the possibility. 

            Her eyes shifted to the side.

            "Are you?!" Ron questioned loudly, throwing his arms into the air.

            "Well," she began, moving her gaze to the ceiling, "how shall I put this?"

            "WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST TELL ME THAT YOU WERE PREGNANT IN THE FIRST PLACE!  I CAN'T READ YOUR BLOODY MIND, YOU KNOW!" Ron hollered.  Hermione ignored him.

            "I'm not pregnant now."  Her voice made Ron cease his yelling. 

            "Then what—"

            "That's not to say that I wasn't pregnant a minute ago…"

            Ron began to feel slightly sick…he again put his hands on his stomach; the pain had gone, but he wasn't entirely sure what it had meant.  It wasn't…it couldn't be…

            "What did that spell do?" Ron asked firmly, beginning to get angry again.

            "Well, it's a very old spell, and…oh Ron, please, I wasn't myself, you know how it gets when—"

            "What did that spell do, Hermione?" Ron repeated.

            "Look, everything will be alright, I promise, no one will be hurt, and you'll come out of it all the better—"

            "WHAT DID THAT SPELL DO?!" Ron finally yelled.

            "Shh, the neighbors will hear you—"

            "I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE BLOODY NEIGHBORS, WHAT THE HELL DID THAT SPELL DO?"

            Hermione began to look sheepish for the first time that argument/evening.  "Ron," she started, staring straight at him, "You're pregnant."

            "What."  It was more of a statement than a question.

            "You're pregnant."

            "No I'm not."

            "Yes you are."

            "No, I'm not!"

            "Yes, you are."

            "I am NOT pregnant!"

            "I hate to have to be the one to tell you this, but you are."

            "I CAN'T BE PREGNANT!"

            "Shh, you'll upset the zygote," Hermione scolded, placing a hand on Ron's tummy.  Ron backed away.

            "I can't be pregnant," he repeated, shaking his head and backing toward the wall as Hermione edged toward him.

            "Yes, you can be, and you are," she said, gently but firmly.

            "No, I can't!"

            "Why not, then?" she asked, giving in just to see what he would come up with.

            "Because…because…because it's biologically impossible!" He stated triumphantly.  "How would I have it?  Through my arse?  I think not!  I'm a doctor and I happen to know that those two systems are just not connected!"  Ron did not look nearly as sure of himself as he sounded.

            "Oh, well, the spell accounts for that, Ron…" Hermione lightly consoled, eyebrows furrowed to match the nervous smile plastered across her face.

            Ron paled and looked down.  "You mean you just took away my—"

            "No, I didn't," Hermione snapped, all pity and remorse suddenly drained from her voice.  "If the spell had taken that away you would have at least gained the ounce of sense required to realize if it's there or not!"

            Ashen faced, Ron rushed off to the bathroom.  Hermione collapsed on a chair and waited.

            "EEEEEEEEEEAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

            Obviously, she wouldn't have to wait for very long.

            Ron ran back out into the front room, zipping up his pants.

            "I'M A—A—YOU'VE TURNED ME INTO A TRANSVESTITE!" Ron yelled, pointing a finger at her.

            "No, Ron, a transvestite is someone who simply dresses like the opposite sex.  I believe the word you're searching for is 'hermaphrodite,' meaning one who—"

            "I DON'T CARE WHAT IT MEANS, ALL I KNOW IS THAT I'VE GOT A—"

            "SHH!" Hermione hissed, apparently not feeling any sympathy for Ron's rage over his newly acquired genitalia. 

            "How the hell am I supposed to piss?  Through both at once?  Make even more of an arse of myself than I will through being a grown man walking around PREGNANT?  Oh my…I'm pregnant…I'm having a bloody baby…"

            "It's not a bloody baby; it's your bloody baby!" Hermione shot, standing with noticeable anger.  "And just be thankful that you're not going to grow breasts!"

            "I can't believe you did this!"

            "Me either," Hermione grimaced.  "I gave you my pregnancy…"

            "You're treating this like a joke!" he yelled.

            "No I'm not!  Do I look like I'm treating it like a joke?" 

"Then why did you do this?  Couldn't you do something more logical, like make me sleep on the couch for a month?"

            "I was very sensitive to things you said at the time; hormones, you know…and now you are as well—"

            "Sensitive isn't the word I'd use to describe it."

            "Ron, be reasonable—"

            "I’M PREGNANT, NOT REASONABLE!  NOW HOW DO YOU REVERSE IT?"

            "You don't.  If the baby is moved one more time, then it will die."

            Ron stood still, fuming, unable to fully perceive what was taking place and staring at Hermione like she was someone he had never truly seen before.

            "That's it!  I'm leaving!"

            "Ron—"

            "NO!" he yelled, shaking her off and stomping out the door.  Hermione sank into the couch as she watched after him, regret beginning to creep into her.  However, if she knew one person inside and out, it was Ron, and she knew that he would be back eventually.  She would make it up to him when he returned, perhaps promise to go with him to a Quidditch game every weekend.  That would work.

***

            As soon as Ron had stepped into the hall, he Apparated in search of the only person he knew of that could possibly console him at this difficult time: Harry.  He was home for the week.  Usually he was off traveling as Seeker for the Montrose Magpies; however, the team did not have a game that particular week, so he had come home.  He promptly appeared outside of Harry's house and knocked furiously, his face still red from the argument with Hermione.

            Soon, he heard footsteps approaching the door and the sound of a chain lock being unhooked, and a surprised and pleased Harry opened the door.

            "Ron!  How are you?" he asked with a grin.  "Didn't expect to see you until tomorrow; come on in."

            Glaring, Ron obeyed and followed Harry to his small living room, where Ron sat down and brooded while Harry poured some tea.  When Harry finally entered the room, he had a shocked and sorrowful look on his face.  Ron immediately became worried.

            "Harry, what's wrong?"

            "I was just consulting the tea leaves," he replied, "and they told me that something was grievously wrong in the life of a good friend—perhaps, it will result in death?"

            Ron laughed.  "Oh geez – Trelawney - don't remind me of her.  Not now."

            "Well, what's wrong then?"

            "Nothing that will result in death, unless it's Hermione's."

            "What's wrong with Hermione?" Harry asked.

            "I'm going to kill her."

            "That's not good."

            "She deserves it!" Ron spat, spilling some tea in his outburst.

            "What did she do?  She didn't cheat on you, did she?"

            "No!" Ron snarled, nursing his burned hand.

            "Then what?"

            Though Ron was ready to curse Hermione straight to her grave, he suddenly discovered that he was not ready to admit to his best friend that he was pregnant.  He blushed a violent scarlet and glared at his teacup.

            "What, Ron?" Harry asked again.

            "Hermione and I had a fight."

            "About what?"

            "She asked me what I thought about kids…I said that I had grown up with enough of them and that I worked with too many, and that I never wanted to look at one ever again."

            Harry raised an eyebrow.

            "I was kidding!"

            "Go on."

            "Anyway, then she got mad, and she yelled, and I yelled back, and she yelled again, and we were yelling for quite a bit of time, and I had no idea what was going on…"

            Harry didn't want to say anything, but he thought his friend very thick at the moment.

            "… like a poor misplaced duck, going to Lamaze classes and puking every second, and then she got even madder and, er…" Ron trailed off.  Harry noticed that he was gripping his cup harder than necessary.

            "Then?"

            "Then she got out her wand."

            "What did she do with her wand?"

            "Cast a spell."

            "What did that spell do?"

            Ron didn't answer directly, and Harry stared at him, pondering the possibilities.  He felt sorry for him.  Hermione must have done something like force him to sleep on the couch for a month; he, too, had been a victim of the Dormio Lectulus spell, and though his girlfriend had eventually reversed the spell out of pity, he had felt the effects for a week. 

            "Something very bad."

            "Dormio Lectulus?"

            "I wish."

            "What, then?"

            "…"

            "Out with it; it can't be that bad."

            "It is."  Ron was now making himself very small, wishing that he hadn't gone to seek consolation after all. 

            "I won't laugh, I promise."

            Ron sighed.  He would have to tell him sometime.  "Promise?"

            "Yes."

            Taking a deep breath and closing his eyes, he said, "She made me pregnant."

            Harry was silent.  When Ron dared to crack open his eyes, he saw Harry sitting in front of him with a very tightly closed mouth and watery eyes.

            "I'm going to get some more tea," he squeezed out and walked quickly to the kitchen.  Ron glared as he saw his shoulders shaking through the open door.   When Harry came back (without tea, incidentally) he was calmer, and asked,

            "So, how exactly are you pregnant?"

            "It turned out that she was pregnant when she was asking me about having kids.  That's why she brought it up."

            Harry knew better than to say something along the lines of "Congratulations, you're an idiot." 

            "And she transferred the pregnancy to me."

            "How exactly are you going to have this baby?"

            Ron turned even redder.  "Let's just say that I now have all the necessary equipment."

            "Oops, look, last time I went into the kitchen I forgot my tea…I'll be right back," Harry said, walking back into the kitchen. 

            Ron was not happy as he saw Harry's shoulders shaking again and witnessed him pounding the kitchen counter.  He didn't think it was very funny; he'd come to him to be comforted and all he received was laughter. 

            Harry walked back into the room, still without tea.  "So you're really pregnant then?"

            "Yes," Ron growled, putting his tea on the coffee table and slumping backwards on the couch.

            Harry stared at his friend with a smile on his face.  "Did you walk out on her?"

            "Sort of."

            "You are planning on going back, right?"

            "What the hell else am I going to do?"

            "Admit it, Ron, you were kind of thick back there…"

            "She didn't have to make me pregnant."

            "Pregnant women are very emotional, especially since you two hadn't planned the pregnancy.  She was probably very nervous, and then you came in and said that you never wanted children or a wife waddling around like a duck."

            "Well I had no idea what she was talking about…and besides, I was only joking!   How was I supposed to know that she meant what she meant?  It's not like she came right out and said, 'Ron, I'm pregnant,' and then I said what I said."

            Harry decided not to push the issue; Ron was argumentative enough without the aid of excessive hormones.  "Well, do you want to stay here for the night?  Janie's off visiting her parents in Edinburgh, so there's no objections here."

            "That will be good, thanks…I don't want to see her."

            "Yes, you do.  You can't stand it when you're mad at her for more than twenty minutes; you get all antsy and irritable and the like."

            "I'm not 17 anymore, and I'm beyond the infatuation stage, thank you very much."

            "Some things never change, Ron."

            "Shut up.  This is a bit more serious than her insulting my intelligence."

            "Anyway, you can have the guest room.  Just clean it up, or Janie gets mad."

            "*cough* Under-her-thumb *cough*"

            "What was that?"

            "Nothing."

            Pouting, Ron began to tear apart his napkin and arrange the shreds into little piles on the coffee table.  Harry observed this, and decided that maybe he should really put some effort into consoling him.

            "Er….Hey, Ron, being pregnant…uh…won't be so bad…"

            "Yes it will!"

            Harry didn't have anything to say at this, and started to fidget with his hands.  "So, do you want to go get a drink?"

            "Well, I would, but I'm pregnant!  Alcohol causes birth defects!"  Ron was beginning to look a little angry, and Harry decided that he should probably put an end to the evening before it got any worse (and then telephone Hermione (the fireplace was in the guest room) as soon as Ron was asleep to get the other side of the situation).

            "You know what?  You're tired, and you've had a long day…I think you should go to sleep," said Harry seriously.

            Ron opened his mouth, seemingly to oblige, but then something seemed to click in his head and he looked at Harry suspiciously.  "Wait a minute, I know what you're playing at," he began.  "You're trying to get rid of me so you can call Hermione and laugh about me behind my back!  Some friend you are!"

            "No, that's not it…" Harry tried to interject, but he had failed at his cause; Ron was awake until 4:37 that morning, when he fell asleep sitting in a chair.

            When this happened, Harry tip toed out of the room and shut the door as quietly as he could, praying that Ron was indeed down for the count, and dialed the Weasleys' number.  He heard it ring six times, and he sighed, thinking that Hermione must not have gotten up to answer the phone.  The answering machine picked up, and Ron’s voice came through the phone.

            "Hi, you've reached Ron and Hermione, and we're not here, so leave a message after the beep, and if we like you, we might actually return your call." 

            "Hi, Hermione, it's Harry…just so you know, Ron's here, and—"

            There was a click.  "Hello?  Harry?"

            "Yeah, it's me," Harry whispered.

            "Hi, how is Ron?"

            "Pissed off.  Why did you have to go and do that?"

            "He was being an idiot."

            "That was pretty harsh for just being an idiot."

            "Someone needed to teach him a lesson…"

            "That was a mean lesson."

            "Still!"

            "Still nothing, how would you like it if someone made you…oh, I don't know…"

            "Harry, I'm a girl.  Anything physically embarrassing and uncomfortable that can possibly happen to me already happens to me."

            "Why didn't you just make him sleep on the couch for a month?"

            "I have needs, too."

            "Oh geez.  I never thought I'd hear you, of all people, say that."

            Hermione's voice became noticeably sharper.  "Look, I just wasn't thinking very clearly at the time.  I see now that it was a very stupid idea, and I was wrong, and I'm sorry."

            "Little late for that, eh?"

            "Harry."

            "I'm only teasing you, Hermione.  I'm sorry.  Oh, and congratulations on the baby."

            "You better be.  And thank you."  She paused.  "Ron isn't too upset, is he?"

            "He's calming down, and he plans on being back tomorrow sometime."

            "Good, I was almost getting worried."

            "Glad to hear it."  Suddenly, without warning, the door to Harry's room burst open and Ron began to yell.

            "YOU'RE TALKING TO HER, AREN'T YOU?"

            "Not anymore," Harry replied, thinking quickly and tossing Ron the phone. "Here!"  He ran out of the room.

            "Hello?" called a distant voice from the phone being clutched in Ron's angry fist.  "Harry?  Anyone there?"

            "I'm here," Ron said into the receiver, deciding to get the inevitable conversation over with.

            "Ron?"

            "What?"

            "I'm really sorry.  I acted harshly and impulsively, and I know you won't ever forgive me for what I've done…" she went on in her apology, sugar coating it to great extents so that Ron would feel like an empowered and domineering male who was actually in control of a situation.  "…and I'm really, really, really sorry, and I—"

            "Hermione," he interrupted softly, "it's alright.  I mean, it's not alright, but I guess I can forgive you."

            "You can?"

            "'Till death do us part and all that rubbish…"

            Hermione didn't answer straight away.  Ron heard her breathing through the phone, and wished they were talking through the fireplace instead; it was creepy hearing her voice so distorted, and being able to hear her breathing and not see her face.

            "When are you coming home?" she asked when she finally spoke.

            "After work today."

            "Alright.  I love you, Ron."

            "I, er, love you too," Ron responded, finding difficulty with the words, as much as he wanted to/knew he should say them.  They hung up, and Ron ambled to the guestroom and collapsed on the bed, a feeling of dread for the future surrounding him every step of the way. 

***

            Three days later, Ron woke from his sleep with a horrible feeling in his stomach.  Panicking, he jumped from the bed and ran into the bathroom.  Hermione stirred at the sound of him retching into the toilet, and sat up as she heard the water running.  Soon, she watched as Ron staggered back into the room and collapsed onto the bed. 

            "Uuuugghhh…" he groaned, curling up into the fetal position.  Hermione looked at the clock (5:46), and mentally reviewed the fact that she didn't have to be awake until 7:00.  Ron moaned again, and she sighed, rolling over to address her husband.

            "Shh, it's okay," she mumbled as she began to massage his back.

            "I threw up," he mumbled back, noticeably relaxing at her touch.

            "I know," she replied.

            "Can I stay home from work today?"

            "No, you have to go in."

            "But I threw up…"

            "And, sorry, but you will throw up a lot from now on."

            "This isn't fair!" he whined.

            "No, it's not."  She could sense him opening his mouth to comment that it was all her fault.  "And thanks for not bringing up the fight again."

            He did not reply, and with relief she realized that her plan had worked.  Soon, he fell back asleep, and she got up with the rare goal of making an actual breakfast.

            An hour later, Ron woke to the smell of bacon, and without warning rushed to the toilet again.  As he was puking and trying not to sweat, tremble, and feel his burning throat, he wondered if maybe Hermione would allow him to stay home from work, after all...he had thrown up twice.

            Ron walked into the kitchen, still looking green, but to his surprise he found that Hermione wasn't there.

            "Hermione?" he called, wondering where she was.  She didn't answer, and to his dismay he did not feel like eating anything at all, let alone bacon.  "Figures, the one time she cooks breakfast is the day that I'm too sick to even think about eating it," he growled, glowering to himself as he poured a cup of tea.  As he was making his way back to the table, Hermione suddenly walked into the room.

            "Incidentally, I heard that," she began haughtily.

            "Where were you?" Ron asked suspiciously, ignoring her comment.

            "Looking up something at the library," she replied, walking quickly to the counter and spooning out some breakfast.

            "Why?" he asked, his suspicion growing.

            "To help you, if you must know.  I was looking up a cure for morning sickness."  She was eating very quickly.

            Ron suddenly brightened.  Maybe his suffering would be short-lived, after all!  "Did you find one?" he asked eagerly.

            "No." 

            Ron cursed under his breath and sat down at the table.  "Why not?"

            "Because there isn't one.  There's only one that reduces the feeling, which means you won't throw up as much."

            "Well?"

            "Well what?"

            "Did you make it for me?"

            She stared at him like she had never seen anything quite like him before.  "Do I look like I have the time to do that?  Here's the recipe; make it yourself.  I have to go to work.  Toodleloo," Hermione breathed as she threw a piece of parchment at him, walked over to the sink, dumped her plate in, kissed Ron goodbye, and walked out the door.  Ron sat, stunned, until the door closed.  Only then did he recover enough to call,

            "THAT'S A NICE WAY TO TREAT YOUR UNBORN CHILD, YOU EVIL—"

            Hermione apparently had not gone far, for the door opened, cutting him off, and she voiced her retort of, "Shove it, Ron." 

            Ron was livid as the door slammed closed behind her.  He would show her; he would make the potion and get to work on time.  Then she would see who the fittest of the spouses really was.  Yes indeed; she would see.

            Unfortunately, that was not the day that this would happen.  He ended up being late for work, and he messed up the potion (he suspected he had let it stew for too short of a time), causing his hair to turn a nice and irreversible shade of purple. 

            Around 4:45 that afternoon, Ron opened the door to greet his last patient of the day.  "Hello, Ms. Lottie," he said, looking over her file and closing the door behind her.

            "You have purple hair," the snotty looking 11-year-old responded, giving him a disgusted look.

            Ron's eyes narrowed into a glare.  He'd gotten a lot of that over the course of the day.  "Yes, I do.  Dr. Ron had a little accident at home."

            "Really.  Did Dr. Ron accidentally fall into a tub of purple paint?"

            "Little fireplug there, aren't you," Ron said, laughing forcedly and "accidentally" whispering a freezing charm on the magical stethoscope before using it.  She started, and glared back at him. 

            "Can you please warm that up?  It's a little cold."

            "Fine, fine."  Ron was satisfied anyway; where would get by taking his frustrations out on a little girl?

            "My mummy says that you're incompetent, and that we're switching doctors after this visit."

            "I'm sorry to hear that," Ron grunted through gritted teeth as he looked down her throat.

            "Bleughbleughbleughbleughbleugh," she spat through the tongue-depressing spell.

            "What was that?" Ron asked as he released the spell and began to jot down some notes.

            "You look like you're going to vomit.  Are you going to vomit?"

            Ron greened at the very mention of the word "vomit."

            "Dr. Ron?  You're going to vomit, aren't you," Lottie continued, grinning now.

            Ron swallowed, and went on writing notes.

            "Well?  Where's the vomit?  I could swear you were going to—"

            Ron, unable to hold it in any longer, turned off to the side and puked into the garbage can.

            "EEEWWWW!  MUUUMMMM!" Lottie screamed as she hopped off the examination table and hightailed it toward the waiting room.  Ron, sweating, leaned back in his chair.  It had not been a good day.

***

            "Do we HAVE to do this?" Ron asked as he and Hermione ambled up the path to The Burrow.

            "Ron, she's your mum; of course we have to do this!"

            "So?  She doesn't have to know until it's over…"

            "It's her first grandchild.  She'll never forgive you—or me—if we don't let her fawn over the both of us while we're pregnant."

            "Since when did being pregnant become a job for two people?  I'm the one carrying Liam, and—"

            "Liam?!"

            "Yes, Liam."

            "Who, may I ask, is Liam?"

            "It's the baby's name.  It's derogatory for us to keep referring to Liam as 'the baby;' we'll hurt his feelings."

            "Number one, we are NOT naming the baby 'Liam,' and number two, it's going to be a girl, and we're naming her Aine."

            "What the hell is 'Aine?'  Just because you have a weird and unpronounceable name doesn't mean that Liam is going to have one too!  And the baby is going to be a boy!"

            "Fine.  If the baby's a boy, we're naming him Gregory."

            "Who says?"

            "I do."

            "Well you're wrong, and you're just trying to change the subject from my mum!"

            "No, I'm not, I just don't want my baby—"

            "Our baby."

            "—our baby walking around with a horrid name like Liam."

            "LIAM IS NOT A HORRIBLE NAME!  LIAM IS A GOOD NAME!  I LIKE LIAM!"

            "Anyway, your mum will understand."

            "What will she understand, that my wife practices every form of torture short of stringing me up and repeatedly performing the forbidden curses on me?"

            "Ron."

            "'Hi Mum, guess what?  We're having a baby!  Wait, there's more!  Your daughter-in-law decided that I was being a prat, so she transferred the pregnancy to me!  That's right, let the tears of joy well up in your eyes now; your son has become half-girl!'"

            "That's not what's going to happen.  Your mum will understand, and she'll be too happy about the grandchild idea to think of anything else.  She, er, probably won't even notice."

            "I think certain things just might catch her attention, Hermione."

            "Wait, you mean she's going to think it's odd?" Hermione deadpanned, glaring.  "Besides, this is nothing.  Wait until we explain this to my parents."

            After a few steps, Hermione noticed that Ron wasn't with her anymore.

            "Ron?"

            "I'm apparating home.  You explain, meet me back there."

            "No.  You're coming with me."

            "Uh uh."

            "Yes."

            "No."

            "Come on!"

            Before Ron knew it he was being dragged toward the doorway of his home.  Then the door was opened, and he was inside, and his mother was giving out hugs. 

            "I'm so glad to see you two!  What a nice surprise!" Mrs. Weasley cried as she released her son.  "Come in, come in; Arthur!  Put some tea on, Ron and Hermione are here!"

            "Ron and Hermione?" Mr. Weasley called, poking his head through the kitchen doorway.  He grinned.  "Ron!  Great to see you!  I'll have tea ready in a minute!"

            Ron was beginning to feel sick. 

            "Sit down, sit down," Mrs. Weasley said, shooing them toward chairs by the fire.  "How are the both of you?  How are your jobs?  How's the new flat?  I haven't seen you both since the wedding!  You think you could visit me, with you only living in London after all."

            "We're good, Mum, and we're sorry we haven't visited," Ron said, turning his traditional shade of crimson.  Being the mother of seven grown children, Mrs. Weasley was well acquainted with the attitudes people took on when they were trying to keep something from her, and she immediately became suspicious.

            "Something tells me you two didn't just stop by for a visit," she replied, smirking at Ron and Hermione in turn.

            "You're right, Mrs. Weasley—"

            "For goodness sakes, Hermione!" Mrs. Weasley all but yelled.  "At least call me Molly; you're not some stranger we dragged in from the street."

            "Sorry, Mrs…I mean, Molly," Hermione responded shyly.

            "That's better.  Now, out with it."

            Hermione gave Ron a pointed look and nudged him.  The look he gave in return had the potential to kill a more faint-hearted person than his wife, but Hermione returned it with one of equal value.  This went on for several seconds until Ron (for once) won, and Hermione turned back toward Mrs. Weasley with a smile.

            "We're pregnant."

            She had barely uttered the words when Mrs. Weasley squealed so loudly that Mr. Weasley rushed in from the kitchen.

            "What's going on?" he asked, surprised and confused.

            "ARTHUR, I'M GOING TO BE A GRANDMOTHER!"

            "What?" he questioned, receiving his wife into a hug with open arms and giving Ron and Hermione an intrigued look.  He soon put the pieces together, and happiness proceeded to flood his features.

            "You're having a baby?" he asked happily.  "Congratulations!"  He released his wife and they both moved toward Hermione.  A disgruntled Ron sat, on the other end of the couch, forgotten.

            "How far along are you, dear?" Mrs. Weasley asked, placing a hand on her shoulder.

            "Are you going to have it at a Muggle hospital?" Mr. Weasley questioned.  "How do they manage that, then?"

            "Arthur!" Mrs. Weasley scolded, effectively quieting her husband.  She then turned back toward Hermione.  "Well?"

            "Well…er…there's something else we have to tell you," she started sheepishly, looking at Ron, who had suddenly become very interested in the pattern of the couch fabric.            The elder Weasleys looked at her expectantly.  Hermione sighed; she decided she owed Ron this much, at least.  "How should I say this?" she asked, looking at the ceiling and sighing heavily.  She looked back at her in-laws.  "Are either of you familiar with the spell Addo Graviditas?"

            Molly and Arthur looked at one another, seeing if the other one had the slightest idea what she was getting at.  For a second, it looked like both of them were clueless, but just when Hermione was about to explain what it did, Mr. Weasley's eyes grew wide and his mouth fell open.  He looked from Ron to Hermione several times in succession, and started to shake.

            "What's wrong, Arthur?" Mrs. Weasley asked, surprised and appalled.

            He answered by going into a fit of explosive laughter.  Ron looked positively murderous.  When he finally calmed down, he turned to his son and said,

            "Ron, old boy, whatever you did…well, I'm sorry…" and that was all he could take before doubling over in laughter again.  He excused himself to the other room to finish making the tea, and began to laugh again.

            Mrs. Weasley looked positively perplexed.  "What on earth is your father going on about?" she asked her son.  Ron couldn't take it anymore and slumped down in his seat, wishing that he could make himself invisible.  "Hermione?"

            Hermione began to describe to Mrs. Weasley the history of the Addo Graviditas spell, and what exactly it was used for.  When she was finished with her explanation, Mrs. Weasley's mouth had gone very taught, and she was fighting back what looked like tears of laughter; however, she had more self control than her husband did, and managed to contain herself, for the most part.

            "Well, Ronald, what on earth did you do this time?"

            Ron finally snapped for the fifth time that day (he had not been having the best of days/weeks), and leapt from the couch to his feet.  "I didn't do anything!  I'm married to a madwoman!  The girl is insane; can't you see that?  She did it for her own sick pleasure!"

            "Now now, that's very harsh.  Tell me what happened."

            "She expects me to magically know what's going on with her every single moment of her life!"  Ron had become very passionate, and was making several dramatic gestures with his hands.  "She asked me what I thought about kids; how was I supposed to know what she was getting at?"

            Mrs. Weasley stood up and tried to calm him down.  "It's alright, everything's going to be alright.  You need a cup of tea.  Arthur?  Where is that tea?" she yelled, breaking her air of calmness.  Ron didn't notice; he was too busy hyperventilating.  As she sat Ron back on the couch, she turned back toward Hermione.  "How long has it been?" she asked her.

            "Since I got pregnant or since Ron's been pregnant?"

            "Both."

            "For me, about a month.  For Ron, about a week."

            Mrs. Weasley raised her eyebrows.

            "He's had really bad morning sickness, and a lot of trouble getting used to the idea."

            "THE IDEA?" Ron yelled.  Hermione cringed; Ron had again leapt to his feet, and was ignoring Mrs. Weasley's efforts to soothe his temper.  "AND WHAT A FINE IDEA IT WAS, EH?"

            "Ron!" Mr. Weasley called, walking back in the room (complete with tea).  "Come on, we need to go for a walk and calm you down."  Not knowing what else to do, Ron obliged, and allowed himself to be drawn out the door and into the backyard.  As soon as the door shut behind them, he turned on his father.

            "Do you know what—"

            "Ron!  Stop!" Mr. Weasley snapped at his son.  Surprised, Ron obeyed. 

"Believe me, yes, I know what's happening.  I think it's time we had a little talk."

            "About what?" Ron grumbled in reply.

            "Women, and how to avoid arguments."

            "I know exactly how to avoid arguments!" Ron answered, turning toward his father and then uttering a word he had not been allowed to say in the house until he was 18, and would certainly never be allowed to say in front of his mother.  He proceeded to kick a garden gnome clear over the fence (the poor gnome never saw it coming).

            Mr. Weasley frowned.  "Not exactly.  You have a few fundamental things to learn."

            "Such as?"

            "Such as, when a woman asks you…certain questions, they're really trying to build up to a big announcement or the like.  It's best to either not give a straight answer or ask why the question is being asked."

            "How wise," Ron retorted, falsely starting at some more idle gnomes and causing them to scatter, squealing.

            "I'm serious.  For instance, if Hermione someday asks you, 'Ron, how do you like my mother,' what would you say?"

            "I'd say, 'I like her alright, but I wouldn’t want to live with her.'"

            "Precisely wrong."

            "Why is it wrong?  It's just honest."

            "Yes, but what if the question she were trying ask you was, 'My mother is ill and can't care for herself anymore, and can she live here for a little while before we find somewhere nearby where she can have full time care?'"

            "Oh."

            "See what I mean?"

            "So, a question like, 'How do you feel about children?' should have an answer of, 'Why do you ask?'"

            "Good, you're getting the hang of it."  The elder Weasley patted his son on the back as they continued their turn around the garden. 

            "Anything else?" Ron asked.

            "If you want to avoid lots of household fights and nights on the couch, 'yes' is the operative word.  They have more stamina than we do, and can easily wear us down."

            "But what if I'm right and she's wrong?"

            Mr. Weasley looked at his son.  So young, so innocent, he thought, and then he turned his gaze on the house, which they were fast approaching.  "Well, suit yourself," he said.  "I hope that you've learned something."

            "Yes, I have, but I'm still pregnant, dad."

            Unfortunately, his father had nothing to say for that, and they went back into the house with Ron still fit to kill.  Mrs. Weasley and Hermione were in the middle of having what seemed to be a lovely conversation over their tea.

            "Oh, Aine, what a lovely name!  It's so old and quaint sounding.  And Gregory for a boy is the perfect choice."

            Ron glared at Hermione.  Hermione gave him a coy smile.  Mr. Weasley resignedly sat in a chair as he watched the younger married couple; his son would be leading a long, hard life.  At least it would be amusing to watch

//
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