The Sugar Quill
Author: Jen (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: What to Really Expect When You're a Wizard Expecting  Chapter: Part Two
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Part 2

"What are you looking at?" Ron asked menacingly as an older woman sitting adjacent to him on the bus gazed upon him with interest. The woman looked away, but Ron caught her sneaking glances while his head was turned in the opposite direction.

"If I didn't know any better I'd say he was pregnant!" Ron heard her exclaim to her companion.

"You're right, Fanny! My, what a gut!"

"I think it even beats Edmund's!"

Ron recited the sentence that Hermione had told him to recite whenever he was angry ("I am perfectly calm, and will remain so until I can be in a private place") and did not look in the old woman's direction. It had definitely not been a good end-of-the-day.

***

"Ready for the game?" Ron asked as he grabbed his brilliant orange cloak and checked to make sure that the tickets were in order one more time.

Hermione rolled over in bed so that she was facing the dark wall and not the bright hallway light. "Ron, we're not leaving yet. The gates to the stadium don't open until 10:00."

"But it's general admission!" We have to be near the front of the line so we get good seats!"

"I highly doubt there will be a large crowd when we get there…"

"Which is exactly why I want to leave now!"

"No matter what time we leave, considering the team," she muttered into the pillow.

"What was that?" Ron asked suspiciously.

"Nothing…Do you know what time it is?" Hermione asked groggily, opening her eyes and lifting her head.

"Yes, it's 6:00am. Why?"

Hermione groaned and pulled the covers over her head.

"Oh no you don't! You promised me a Quidditch game whenever the Cannons play, and you are going to keep that promise!"

"Fine. Go. I want to sleep."

Ron looked hurt. "But I want you to go…"

"Why?"

Ron thought quickly. "Because it's cold in the stands, and without you there's no one to keep warm with."

Hermione smiled under the blankets in spite of herself.

"Your orange cloak doesn't keep you warm enough?"

Ron tickled her through the blankets; she shrieked.

"I'm up! I'm up!"

"Alright then!" Ron grinned, flinging the blankets off of her and moving toward the kitchen.

Hermione watched Ron through the doorway as he sang a popular song ("Your Love is Like the Cruciatus Curse") and poured liberal amounts of cinnamon and sugar onto buttered bread. Amazing how yesterday he mentioned that 6:00am is a time when only crazy people are awake, let alone active… she felt herself drifting off again when she heard the kettle begin to whistle from the other room.

"Hot cocoa's ready, love," he called pleasantly as he bustled around the kitchen (in a manner, similar to that of Mrs. Weasley, Hermione noticed) cleaning up and doing other odds and ends. At the promise of cinnamon toast and hot chocolate, she finally managed to pull herself out of bed. With the Quidditch match and what was to follow, she was sure it would be a long day.

***

Ron jumped up from his seat.

"MARLEY'S GOING FOR IT!" he hollered; Hermione preferred to remain silent and seated, thank you very much.

"YES!!!!" Ron yelled, pulling Hermione up out of her seat for a kiss. "WE WON! WE ACTUALLY WON!" Ron began to do a peculiar sort of victory dance while Hermione watched and tried not to laugh; Ron noticed, but didn't seem to care very much. "Voluntary public humiliation in the name of Quidditch! I love it!" he cried gleefully, hugging Hermione with a passion he only reserved for the aftermath of life threatening situations and winning Quidditch matches.

"Let's go to lunch," Hermione sighed, laughing a little and wondering if he would mind if she pretended she didn't know him. Ron relived the final play several times after they had Apparated behind the Leaky Cauldron and ordered lunch.

"…And did you see the way she kind of flipped over on her broomstick, with no hands? Then how she regained control and didn't fall off of her broom, and took that amazing victory lap? And how she got really, really close to where we were sitting?

"Yes, Ron."

"I don't care what people say; the Cannons are in for a good season this year! We've already won a match!"

"Uh huh."

"Who cares if it's the first match we've won in 25 years? It's still a win!"

"I know."

"And that Marley is amazing! She's the best Seeker I've ever seen with the team!"

"You fancy her, eh?" Hermione teased, pushing her food around with her fork.

"No," Ron answered immediately, reddening a little, and taking a gulp of pumpkin juice.

"I see how it is," Hermione replied, nodding knowingly. "It's the hair, isn't it?" She took flitted some of her hair out from behind her ear and grinned. "You can never be fully satisfied by being with a woman with this kind of hair; you like it straight and blonde, is that it?"

Ron shook his head vigorously. "I like your hair," he insisted, leaning over to run his hand through the bit of hair she had brought to the forefront and push it back behind her ear.

"You're just saying that to cover up your affection for this Quidditch woman."

"No," he said earnestly. "Every, er, fiber in my body is in love with you!"

"Stop lying to me!" Hermione laughed, turning away in mock pain.

"Stop toying with me then!" Ron laughed back, tugging on her hand.

"Ah, so you admit that you were lying?" she teased.

"I don't lie to you," he answered, a little too earnestly.

"Mmm hmm. And to think I could have found a nice, smart boy who actually respected a woman's feelings…"

"You are horrible, do you know that?"

Hermione laughed, and Ron suddenly began to sing (very off key); "You torture many/but you torture me the worst/your love is like/the Cruciatus Curse…"

"Oh shut up," Hermione replied, laughing even harder as Ron began to dance in his chair. "Stop!" she cried, unable to hold anything back anymore and literally doubling over.

When Ron looked up, he noticed that several customers were looking at the couple curiously, as they had been making an awful amount of noise.

"Posessed," Ron said grimly to the onlookers, motioning toward Hermione. "Very sad, really…"

"Shut up, you git!" Hermione managed to choke out through her laughter.

"See? Possessed—"

Hermione collected herself enough to grab Ron's vibrant orange cloak and toss it over his head. "For the last time, shut up," she said, trying desperately to contain herself.

"Gah, she’s getting violent!" Ron called in a muffled voice, causing Hermione to smack him upside the head; she proceeded to drag him to the front of the pub.

"How much was it?" she asked, breathless from laughter.

Tom answered her with a lopsided smile. Hermione paid, and dragged Ron into the alley behind The Leaky Cauldron.

"Good show," Ron commented, pulling his head and arms through the cloak so that it was properly on.

"Do you ever stop being an idiot?" Hermione grinned, counting the appropriate number of bricks and tapping the correct one with her wand.

"You’ve known me for about nine years now; don’t you know yet?"

"Yes. The answer is no."

"Well, stop bugging me about it then," he finished, pulling her into his arms as they walked. Suddenly, his manner changed to one that was semi-anxious. "Do we have to do this?"

"Ron, it’s not going to just go away. Soon, you’ll be very glad we got it over with now."

Ron, nervously surveying the myriad of witches and wizards crowding Diagon Alley, replied, "I highly doubt it."

"Oh don’t be such a baby about it, it’s not like it’s going to hurt. We’re not going to the doctor’s again, you know."

"Speak for yourse—" Ron suddenly cut himself off, grabbed an unsuspecting Hermione, and pulled her into the closest shop.

"What is wrong with you?" Hermione hissed after he let go of her. "Why are we in here?"

"Seamus Finnigan’s out there!"

"So?"

"So I don’t want to tell him why we’re here!"

"Ron, we don’t have to tell him anything; he'll never know."

"That's what you said about Fred and George!"

"Be reasonable about this—"

"Phew, I think we’ve lost him." Ron was ignoring her and looking out the window. "Come on, let’s—"

Ron was cut off as the door opened, and their favorite sandy-haired Irishman entered the shop in which they were seeking refuge.

"Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger?" Seamus asked, grinning and extending his hand. Ron cursed under his breath; his clever plan had failed.

"Seamus Finnigan! It’s been awhile…how did you ever see us in this huge crowd?"

"The hair, mate, it’s the hair," he replied. "Can’t miss that hair anywhere. Lucky you have it, eh?"

"Yeah, lucky," Ron muttered as Seamus began asking Hermione how she was.

"We’re good, both of our jobs are going well, and we just moved to London after the wedding; it’s great."

"Good to hear it," Seamus smiled.

"How about you? How’s the writing coming?"

"Couldn’t be better! I just got promoted at the Prophet, and I get a byline and everything starting next week. I get to cover the next Quidditch World Cup! For now, though, I get lots of the British League games, which is enough, of course."

Seamus moved out of the doorway to let other customers in past him, and absently picked up something from a table nearby. Ron felt a dramatic sinking feeling in his stomach as he realized what it was, and what store he had pulled Hermione into.

"So, who’re the lucky parents?" Seamus asked, looking over the miniature set of robes he had in his hands. Ron had led the three of them into "Toy Brooms, etc.," the premier specialty baby and toddler store on Diagon Alley, and the second-to-last store he wanted Seamus to spot him in. Ron blushed a violent scarlet, and even Hermione’s cheeks ran a little pink.

"Wait, you’re kidding, it’s you? Congratulations!" Seamus exclaimed, slapping Ron on the back and hugging Hermione. "When’s the kid coming?"

"In a little over 5 months," Ron interjected before he could stop himself.

"Great, I’ll have to come and visit after you have the baby," he answered, grinning even more. Ron just wanted him to go away; he knew if he didn’t, he would start interrogating Hermione, and looking for the nonexistent bulge on her stomach, and then certain questions would arise that Ron would not want her to answer…he still had nightmares about what had happened with Fred and George.

"Well, I would love to stay and chat, but I have to go and buy something for my nephew at Gambol & Japes…I’m thinking Filibuster Fireworks; after all he does start Hogwarts next year. Can’t be too prepared, eh?" he said, nudging Ron; Ron smiled and nervously agreed. "What are you two up to, besides the obvious?" he motioned around the shop.

"Oh, we’re going to get some pregnancy robes…won’t be long before it starts to show," Hermione answered.

Ron controlled his cringing for the sake of his concealment

"Well, maybe later we could go get dinner together, on me, as a late congratulations…Lavender could come too, she was just mentioning that she hadn’t seen you in awhile."

"That would be lovely," Hermione replied, ignoring Ron’s look of fear, and smiled happily. "Where can we go?"

"How about Nuit Enchante? It’s a block from my house. You could floo over, and then we could walk down. I promise to clean the fireplace."

"Are you sure? We wouldn’t want to be putting you out…"

"Not at all! It’s my pleasure."

"Alright then, how does 8:00 sound?"

"Great!" Seamus looked at his watch, and a look of pained remembrance crossed his face. "I better be going, I told Lav I’d meet her at 3:00, and it's 3:02. I’ll see you tonight!" Seamus nodded at Hermione and slapped Ron on the back again, and walked off. Ron let out a big sigh of relief.

"Oh stop it," Hermione muttered, and took Ron outside and back into the street, where they were headed for the store that Ron really did not want to enter. "It’s nothing to be embarrassed about; pregnancy is a very natural thing."

"For a woman."

"What do you plan on doing when you start to show?"

"Staying inside."

Hermione sighed. "We’re here. I don’t want any complaining, now let’s go."

Literally wincing, Ron walked into Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions and followed Hermione to the counter. A few seconds later, Madam Malkin herself emerged from behind a curtain, and Ron thanked the heavens that there was no one in the shop but themselves.

"Hello dears, what can I do for you?" she asked airily, surveying the couple in front of her. "Something formal, perhaps?"

"No, thank you, we’re here to purchase some pregnancy robes," Hermione answered cheerfully.

"Congratulations, darling!" Madam Malkin patted Hermione on the shoulder. "Just step up here and I’ll be right back with my—"

"Oh, no, it’s not me…it’s my husband."

Madam Malkin looked at Ron suspiciously. "What?"

"Well…" Hermione’s eyebrows furrowed and she looked as if she were trying very hard to properly place her words. Ron was glad that she always seemed so uncomfortable when explaining "things;" he felt that she deserved at least some of the discomfort that came with the pregnancy, considering that it was supposed to be hers to begin with. She wasn’t the one with the expanding waistline, not to mention the fact that for some reason his shoes didn’t seem to fit correctly anymore. He had been getting blisters for that entire week, and it had not been pleasant. Hermione had given him the "it’s natural" speech that he had come to dread, and then taken him to buy new shoes; however, Ron had had fairly large feet to begin with, and the store had to put shoes on special order for him. The only pair of shoes his size that they had in stock were a pair of heinous mauve Velcro sneakers, which he adamantly refused to wear in both public and private. Needless to say, he had spent the previous week sitting by the phone, waiting for the shoe store to call (they had finally called, to his relief, called the day before).

"We used Addo Graviditas," Hermione attempted to explain, "the spell that transfers a pregnancy from one person to another, regardless of gender?"

Madam Malkin looked like she was trying to recall the spell; her eyes soon lit up and Ron decided that she had apparently succeeded.

"Ah yes…Addo Graviditas." She smiled knowingly. "Well young man, stand up over there and I will be out in a minute with my things."

Ron obliged, ignoring that she had addressed him as "young man" because he was praying that no one would walk in.

"Oh, wipe that ridiculous look off of your face," Hermione commented, sitting in a chair and crossing her arms. "It wasn’t that bad. She didn’t even quiz me on why we used the spell."

"Why are you the one who keeps saying," Ron put on a falsetto voice, "‘Calm down, Ron, it’s not that bad. It’s not that embarrassing. It’s not like it’s going to hurt.’"

"Because it’s true, and you don’t have the sense to see that."

"Hermione, tell me something," Ron asked.

"Yes?"

"Promise me you’ll answer correctly?"

"Promise."

"Alright. Are you me right now?"

"Well—"

"Then you have no idea what ‘embarrassing’ is, so stop lecturing me!"

Madam Malkin chose that moment to emerge with measuring tape, pins, and a generic pair of oversized robes, cutting off Hermione’s chance to retaliate.

"Now, let’s see what you’ve got here…" she muttered as she put the robes on Ron and began to measure and pin. She called to Hermione, "How many robes will we be needing?"

Ron was vaguely annoyed at the fact that his only part in this whole affair seemed to be playing the part of dress up doll.

"Four; two for everyday, one dark blue and one black, and two doctor’s robes."

"There’s a special in pregnancy robes; buy four and get a fifth pair free. Shall I throw in a pair of dress robes?"

"Why yes, thank you."

She finished measuring Ron, and Madam Malkin began to move toward the curtains again.

"I’ll start making the robes, and I’ll bring out a catalog so that you can pick what you would like for dress robes."

After she made her exit to the back rooms once again, Ron heard the tinkle of bells ringing and, for the second time that day, felt a sinking feeling in his stomach; someone had entered the shop.

"Mummy, do I have to get new robes?"

"Yes Charles, your old ones are all getting ripped."

"But I want ice cream!"

"After this, I’ll think about it."

"But mummy—"

"Oh look! It’s Dr. Ron!"

Ron cringed; it was the Bingleys; the son was one of his patients.

"Dr. Ron!" Charles called excitedly, momentarily forgetting his yearning for ice cream. Ron waved with a forced smile on his face.

"Hello," Mrs. Bingley, the 40-year-old mother, said happily. "What brings you to this part of the neighborhood?"

Ron was about to open his mouth to say "New dress robes" when Madam Malkin reappeared and said, "Here is the catalogue; I’ve starred the ones that I can modify into pregnancy robes. As you can infer, I don’t usually get many requests for male pregnancy robes, so there are no specific ones…"

Mrs. Bingley now had a very confused look on her face as she stared at the couple. Ron gave a wan smile, and, because of his embarrassment, didn’t hear either Madam Malkin finish explaining or Hermione telling her something before she disappeared into the back room yet again. He then turned his attention toward the catalogue.

"‘Ey," Ron protested as Hermione hid the magazine from his view and began to page through it. She shushed him, and, seeming to have found what she was looking for, placed it in front of him.

"I’m not entirely sure, but I think that this one will flatter you the most."

Perplexed, Ron took a closer look; she had moved to the "Golden Oldies" page, and directly in the center there was a model wearing some very ugly and very familiar maroon robes, complete with lace on the collar and cuffs. Ron looked up to see Hermione’s eyes sparkling a little at him.

"They’re perfect, I think we should get them," Ron said seriously.

"Really?"

"Really."

Ron and Hermione both started sniggering at the same time, ignoring the near constant staring from Mrs. Bingley.

Just then, Madam Malkin appeared again with a neat package. "Here they are. They should all stretch as your stomach grows, just pull on them a bit after you put them on and they’ll fit perfectly."

"Thank you," Hermione replied, grinning and handing the package to Ron.

"Hey, what about dress robes?" he asked as Hermione began digging around in her purse for money.

"Didn’t we decide on that lovely maroon number?"

"That’s not funny."

Hermione handed a handful of coins to Madam Malkin. "I picked them out for you; they’ll be a surprise. You can wear them tonight."

They began to walk out of the store.

"Bye Charles, Mrs. Bingley," Ron called, grinning and nodding at them.

"Goodbye," Mrs. Bingley waved, still looking slightly confused.

"By Dr. Ron! Someday I’m going to be pregnant just like you!" Charles called excitedly, jumping up and down. Mrs. Bingley grabbed the 3-year-old and started to lecture him on something that Ron could only begin to imagine the contents of.

"There, now that wasn’t so bad, was it?" Hermione asked once they were back in the street.

"I’ve been through worse."

"See?"

"Facing Voldemort’s the only thing that comes to mind right now, but who keeps track of little things like that?" Hermione sighed and continued to look ahead of her as they passed Florean Fortescue's. "Can I get ice cream?" he asked, turning toward her with an expectant look on his face.

"Ron, we’re meeting Seamus and Lavender for dinner in a few hours, you shouldn’t fill up—"

"Let me rephrase that," Ron interrupted. "I am pregnant, and I want ice cream."

Hermione sighed and, feeling very much like a mother already, followed her husband as he led the way to the ice cream counter.

"Hi, what can I get you?" the girl at the counter asked.

"A small heavenly hash please," Hermione said quickly. Ron, who was studying the list of flavors, put on the falsetto voice again and mocked,

"‘My name’s Hermione, I like to contradict myself—’"

"Shut up and order, Ron, you’re holding up the line."

"You may be smarter than me, and you may be more perceptive than me, but I know for a fact that there is no line."

"Well, at least you admit the obvious."

"Always," Ron answered, finally making his selection.

"Large pickle, please."

"Pickle?" the girl asked, handing Hermione her order.

"Yes," Ron said authoritatively.

Hermione gave him an odd look as the girl started scooping his ice cream.

"Craving," he replied nonchalantly, and dug into his pocket for some knuts.

"I'm surprised; usually, that flavor is only bought by pregnant women," the girl said to Ron as she handed him his cone.

"Well," he answered, giving her the money, "I just happen to be a pregnant woman."

The girl looked a bit frightened for a second and then laughed weakly.

"Have a good day," Ron said, saluting, and walking away toward the exit with Hermione close behind him. Once they were back on the street, Hermione turned to him and said,

"You’ve finally come to terms with it?"

Ron looked straight ahead and answered, "Yes, I’m pregnant and I’m not ashamed to admit it! I’m sick of you getting all the credit for something that I’m doing all the work for."

Hermione suppressed a laugh. "Good to know, then."

Ron nodded, and they turned to walk back through the arch toward the alley behind The Leaky Cauldron.

"So, we're telling Seamus and Lavender the truth tonight?" They stepped back into the alley, and when they looked behind them the arch had disappeared.

"Nope."

Hermione sighed, and they walked back into the pub, waved to Tom, and exited into the Muggle world on the other side.

***

Ron looked in the mirror in an effort to do something with his hair, which did not seem to be cooperating with him at the moment. Hermione had not picked out the maroon robes as she had teased (Thank Goodness, Ron had thought as he opened the package); instead, she had picked out a pair of handsome, straight-necked gray robes, and they fit him perfectly (not to mention the fact that they minimized the small bulge that had formed on his middle and brought out his hair and eyes). "Yes, I look good," Ron said to himself, nodding to the music emanating from the radio as he tried to make his hair obey him.

"Oboediens," Hermione called from the doorway, pointing her wand at him. Ron looked in the mirror and saw that his hair was doing everything he was telling it to do.

"Thanks ‘Mione," he called, nodding at her reflection in the mirror.

"No problem. And yes, you’re right for once; you do look good…" She walked over to him and did his hair herself. "There," she said when she had finished, "now you look perfect."

"Haha," Ron grimaced, looking in the mirror to see that she had, in fact, fixed his hair properly.

"You know, you should give other people a turn to be right once in awhile…for instance, me. I have low self-esteem, you know."

"Poor thing. Now, get out of the bathroom so I can get ready." Hermione walked in and hung her dress robes on the top of the closet door.

"What’s wrong?" Ron asked, turning back toward the mirror to fix his hair just a bit more in order to spite her. "Not like there’s anything I haven’t seen before—"

"Oh, honestly," Hermione interrupted, pushing him out the door and slamming it in his face.

"Well, it’s true!" Ron called through the closed door, and shuffled over to the living room where he sat on the couch to wait for his wife to emerge.

He did not have to wait for very long; she emerged five minutes later, clad in tastefully scoop-necked, form-fitting deep red robes. The sides of her bushy hair were kept back with a jeweled clip, so that it wouldn't fall in her face.

"Wow," Ron commented, smiling. "You look great."

"Er, thank you," Hermione replied, blushing. Ron knew how uncomfortable she got each time he commented on her looks, but he always did it anyway (only because he meant it). "Let’s go. Do you have the Floo Powder?"

"Right here," Ron said, reaching into a pottery jar by the fireplace. He magically lit the fire, threw in a pinch of powder, walked into the flames, and shouted "Seamus Finnigan’s!" Soon, he was spinning off toward his destination.

He dropped in Seamus’s stone fireplace fairly gently and on his feet (years of practice had rendered him a Floo Powder expert), and noted with relief that all ashes had been swept away as promised.

"Hello?" he called into the room. "We’re here!" Hermione appeared a second later and voiced what Ron had silently contemplated before she had arrived.

"Lucky he swept the fireplace."

"Yeah," Ron answered as Seamus entered the living room clad in slate blue.

"Hi! You guys are right on time," he greeted, walking over and shaking Ron and Hermione’s hands in turn.

"Good to see you again, it’s been so long," Ron answered, beginning to relax a little. He wouldn’t find out about the pregnancy unless they told him, and Ron’s dignity would remain intact. Think positively, he thought, grinning as Hermione also made a crack about the great length of time between seeing him in the afternoon and the present.

"It’s true though, in a way," Seamus replied. "We didn’t really get a chance to catch up earlier."

"You’re right, it really has been awhile," said Hermione. "Where’s Lavender?"

"Remember when I said that you were right on time?"

"Oh," Hermione laughed, "how could I forget. ‘Lavender’ and ‘late’ are probably listed as synonyms in the dictionary by now…"

Just then, a door opened and a voice called, "I’m here, Seamus! Sorry I’m running a little late, but my cat—Hermione!" she exclaimed, running over to give her old roommate a hug. "You look great!"

"So do you! It’s good to see you!" Hermione replied, complimenting Lavender’s purple robes.

"Seamus didn’t tell me you were going to come; I would have actually tried to be on time…and Ron!" She gave him a hug as well. "Wow! I haven’t seen you two since the wedding…which we all knew was coming anyway. It was obvious since fourth year." She smiled knowingly; Hermione shook her head and smiled as well.

"It gets better, Lav," Seamus said. "They’re pregnant."

"One of us is anyway," Ron muttered so that no one could hear him under Lavender’s congratulatory squeal.

"When’s the due date?"

"About five months from now," Hermione sheepishly replied.

"I’m so happy for you," lavender commented, giving Hermione another hug. "And you!" she continued, turning to Ron. "I never imagined you being a daddy."

"I’m just full of surprises," Ron answered, smiling as convincingly as he could.

"‘Ey," Seamus suddenly interrupted, "Reservations are at 8:30, so we’d better start out."

"Alright then," Ron answered, putting his cloak on, grateful that the pregnancy banter would be put on hold.

It was quite lovely outside; a light snow had begun to fall, and dainty flakes could be seen floating in the soft light of the street lamps as they passed. At the end of the road was Nuit Enchante, a beautiful old castle that had been turned into a restaurant. Light was emanating from windows of all floors, and Ron thought for a brief moment that it looked like a picture from a storybook.

"May I take your cloaks?" the witch at the door asked as she showed them into the foyer.

"Yes please," Ron answered, being a gentleman and helping Hermione out of hers before taking his own off. None of them talked for a moment; there was a dramatic change in atmosphere between the outside and inside, and they were yet completely comfortable.

"This way," said a waiter, leading them to a table on the second floor. Ron edged his way over to Seamus as they were walking.

"You sure dinner’s on you? I wouldn’t mind paying for me and Hermione."

"Very sure," Seamus grinned. "It’s part of my promotion at the Prophet; they said I’d get a free dinner for up to four people anywhere in the country."

"Wow," Ron replied, "Must be nice."

"It’s very nice, but don’t tell Lavender."

Ron smirked at this; by this time they had arrived at their table, and everyone began to sit down. The conversation started again, but it was centered around Lavender’s job as at a catering company instead of unborn children.

The waiter soon reappeared near their table. "May I start you off with something to drink?" he asked after waiting for a lull in conversation, so as not to interrupt.

Ron waited for Seamus and Lavender to order, then took his turn. "Pumpkin juice, please," he said politely. Hermione proceeded to order her favorite wine. When the waiter left and they looked back at their companions, they found that both Lavender and Seamus were giving them odd looks.

"What?" Ron asked, confused.

"Aren’t you pregnant?" Seamus asked. This made Ron’s ears flush with immediate embarrassment until he realized that Seamus was addressing Hermione. "You shouldn’t be drinking alcohol."

"Oh!" Hermione replied, realizing her error and thinking quickly. "Er, right…there’s a charm that…filters alcohol a different way, so, er, it’s safe for me to drink."

"Oh, alright," Seamus responded, apparently satisfied. "So, speaking of unborn children, do you know if it’s going to be a girl or a boy?"

"Boy," said Ron immediately, at the same time as Hermione said "Girl." A small and slightly tense silence followed.

"Well, we don’t know, as we’d rather be surprised; but, we each have our own preference," Hermione said, glaring slightly at Ron.

"Some of which are better than others," Ron answered, fiddling with his napkin.

"Hmm, maybe I won’t ask about names then," Lavender commented to Seamus.

"Yeah, that’s not a good idea," Hermione laughed. Ron coughed, but if one listened to the cough closely one could distinctly hear the word "Liam" being sounded out.

Much to Ron’s surprise, the evening progressed fairly smoothly from that point; after the initial conversation about little Liam, it gave way to talk of other things, and, of course, reminiscing.

"Do you remember that Potions class in 6th year when Hermione actually made a mistake, and her cauldron exploded, covering the entire dungeon - and, most importantly, Snape - with green goo?" Lavender asked gleefully. Her inquiry caused everyone to laugh at the memory, except for Hermione, who hid her face in her hands.

"Do you all have to remember the one time I didn’t brew a potion correctly?"

"Yes," Ron answered laughingly, cutting himself another piece of cake. "And I don’t see why you’re upset about it; wasn’t Snape about 700,000 times nicer to you after it happened?"

"Yes, probably because I suddenly became fallible," Hermione answered, smiling and putting a forkful of cake into her mouth.

"You will never know just how great it actually was, because you didn’t get the full effect of the looks on both Snape’s face and your face. I wish someone got a picture of it, I would have treasured it forever," Seamus teased.

"You and every other imbecile in that school," Hermione teased back. "Speaking of amusing things that happened in Potions, how about the time when you…"

Ron suddenly sat up straight, eyes wide; he did not hear the rest of what Hermione had to say. Suddenly, that was the least of his problems.

"Ron?" Lavender asked thoughtfully, observing her friend’s strange behavior.

"What?!" he asked, looking around. He looked down at his midsection; nothing happened. You were just imagining it; everything is perfectly normal, Ron thought, beginning to feel himself redden just the same. "Nothing, I’m fine, everything’s fine!"

Lavender, Seamus, and Hermione were now giving him odd looks. Ron thought quickly.

"Er, how are you?"

"Anyway," Hermione continued, giving him a confused look but turning her attentions back to her original conversation, "Then, you were…"

"Augh!" Ron yelped, leaping from his seat and clutching his stomach. Things were definitely not normal.

"What’s wrong?!" Hermione asked hurriedly, standing and putting her hand concernedly on Ron’s shoulder. "Are you alright?"

Ron stopped and looked around frantically; people from other tables were staring at him as well. Don’t draw attention to yourself, it was just a one time thing that you probably imagined. Now, sit down and listen to Hermione’s embarrassing Seamus story, he thought to himself.

"Yes!" he exclaimed and sat down. He felt himself turning very red, but he tried to ignore that as well. This is not happening; not now. It can’t happen now. This. Isn’t. Happening. Now. "So, Mione, you were saying…?"

"I was saying…are you sure you’re alright?"

Just then, he felt it again, and he knew that he was not, in fact, imagining things.

"Oh my God!" He was out of his seat again.

"For goodness sakes, Ron, What’s wrong?" Hermione asked, perplexed. Ron was now breathing quickly and clutching his stomach.

"It’s moving!"

"What?" asked Seamus, Lavender, and Hermione at the same time. Suddenly, Hermione was not so clueless anymore.

"Oh!" she shrieked, jumping out of her seat as well and putting her hand on Ron’s stomach. Ron guided her hand to the correct place, and for a moment it was as if nothing around him existed except for him, his wife, and this tiny little being that was kicking around inside him. He looked at Hermione with an elated and mystified look in his eyes, and she returned it with a brilliant smile.

Then, Seamus cleared his throat, shattering the fragile glass of Ron’s ideal world, and Ron began to realize that there were other people around him (and that the majority of these people were staring directly at him).

"Ron, what’s going on?" Lavender asked timidly.

Ron's ears went very pink, and he searched the far recesses of his mind for a suitable answer.

"Er, kidney stone?" he answered, turning even pinker as he realized that he had given a fairly stupid one.

Always the calm one, Hermione sighed and sat down.

"Do either of you know of the spell Addo Graviditas?" she asked, Ron noted happily, with a tinge of nervousness.

Both Lavender and Seamus shrugged simultaneously.

"You do it," Ron ordered Hermione, plopping down in his seat, grabbing the last slice of cake and leaving Hermione to the wolves. If he was going to be thoroughly embarrassed, he might as well stuff himself with chocolate during the process.

//
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