Hermione Granger sat up in the large queen sized bed with her back resting against the headboard and the comforter pooled around her waist to hide the nine month pregnant swell of her stomach. Her long wavy hair was tied back into a bun with little wisps that fell down and framed her face. She wore a simple, striped pajama top buttoned up that was two sizes too large for her petite figure.
Her gaze darted from the book she was reading to the clock that hung on the wall then finally to the fireplace in the master bedroom. The large wooden hands of the clock that had the name, Ron, written in gold lingered between traveling and home.
"Where are you?" she whispered, frowning, as she placed her book down atop her stomach and glanced at the fireplace once again while fiddling with the gold wedding band around her finger. Her eyes shone with content as a green fire suddenly sprung to life from within in the overly large fireplace and a figure stumbled out covered in ash from head to foot.
Hermione watched as her husband, Ron, stepped out of the fireplace and immediately began furiously shaking the soot from his short red hair. He was muttering to himself as he peeled off the ordinary, somewhat tattered black robe and threw it at the armchair in the corner of the room.
Her eyebrows rose as she caught tiny snippets of his muttering such as, "the whole lot of them", "bloody hell", "Minister", "successful my arse". She cleared her throat to try and catch his attention.
For the first time Ron looked up in her direction and flushed the same color as his hair. He cleared his throat as he tugged at the tie around his neck. "'Mione."
"Something wrong?" she asked as she picked the book from off her stomach and placed it on the nightstand next to the bed.
Ron tugged the tie off and threw it next to the robe. "No. Just a long day."
Hermione raised an eyebrow. "It certainly didn't sound that way."
"It's nothing really," Ron said as he kicked his shoes off and began unbuttoning his shirt. "How are you feeling today?"
"Fine, but don't change the subject." Hermione tossed the blanket off and struggled to climb out of the bed.
Ron stopped fiddling with the buttons on his shirt and moved to his wife's side. He helped her sit up, despite her protest of claiming that she could do it her self, and sunk into the spot in the bed next to her on the edge of the bed.
"Ron?" Hermione looked at his worriedly and for the first time noticed the tears that were threatening to spill down her husband's cheeks. She frowned. "Ron? What's the matter?"
"Nothing." Ron ran his fingers through his short locks to brush away a few more flakes of soot that lingered in his hair.
Hermione reached up and took Ron's hand in her own. "Tell me."
"I'm tired of being a hand me down."
"What?" Hermione asked confused.
"Bill was the first born, from then on he's been known as a rebel. Charlie is the adventurous one and was the Quidditch seeker during his years at Hogwarts, when I was only a chaser for the team. Percy is the current, youngest Minister of Magic and I doubt you can compete with that." Ron sighed before he continued, "Fred and George are the funny ones and successful at it too. They have a chain of joke shops in the Great Britain and lining the East Coast. Ginny was the only girl and the youngest therefore treated like she was the most precious thing in the world."
Hermione started laughing and Ron glared at her as stood up and pulled the shirttails out from the waist of his pants.
"It's not funny!" He complained as he glared at his wife again.
"What brought this up?"
Ron frowned. "I saw Percy at work today."
"You see Percy at work all the time."
"Yes," Ron agreed, "But this time he actually saw me."
Ron glared at the robe that was still draped over the back of the armchair in the corner. He nodded his head toward it, "He told me he used to have the same robe." He growled, "Then when he looked at it closer he said it was the old one he used to have."
She chuckled and shook her head. "Ron it's just a silly little robe."
"But it has been that way since the beginning. I was always getting the old robes, the old books." He walked toward the window and glanced out at the small Wizarding village they lived in. "And compared to the rest of my family, I'm nothing."
Hermione frowned. "But you're not nothing."
Ron snorted, "Right."
Hermione stood up and walked across the room where she stood next to her husband with one hand on the small of her back and the other on his shoulder. "And you're not a hand me down either."
Ron frowned at her in the reflection of the window as Hermione continued, "You were the first to get married. Charlie hasn't even found someone to settle down with yet he's always so busy with work."
She smiled. "You're going to be the first with a child." She smirked. "And trust me you're just as stubborn and rebellious as Bill."
Ron raised an eyebrow at this. "I am not as rebellious as Bill."
"This coming from the man who wore nothing but pajamas for a week in seventh year because he refused to wear his old, ragged robes and got a tattoo."
Ron smirked. "I remember that week."
"How could you not? Malfoy made that week for you living hell."
Ron scowled. "I remember."
Hermione grinned. "And Percy, the Minister of Magic, has no wife nor children. He might very well be the loneliest person I know. All his fancy clothing, big house, and expensive things mean nothing if he has no one to share them with."
Ron cracked a small smile. "I suppose you're right." He frowned again. "But Fred and George are both getting married to their longtime girlfriends, have a huge prank corporations, and live in huge houses."
"Fred and George may have all those things, but they also face many law suits for pranks that have gone wrong and have the Ministry of Magic watching them closely because the Ministry fears they might monopolize other prank corporations."
She smiled. "As for Ginny, yes she is the only girl in the family, but-" She wrinkled her nose. "- I don't think you'd look good in a dress. Ginny looks up to you though. You were her older brother and the one she was closest with."
Hermione paused as she shifted to face Ron. "But you... you fought against Voldemort. You helped in defeating him with Harry. You are the first to have a wife. You are the first with a child on the way. And you are the one I love."
Ron looked down at his wife and smiled as he pulled her into an embrace though mindful of the round belly. "I love you too," he whispered as he kissed her on the forehead. He went to glance out the window again, but the reflection in the glass made him stop and grin.
In the glass reflecting back at him was Hermione wrapped in his arms and smiling contently. Suddenly, she frowned and she squirmed uncomfortably in his arms.
"Yes?" Ron looked down at her as he suddenly felt something wet sinking through his clothes.
Hermione bit her lower lip and looked up at him. "I think my water just broke."
Completed on Wednesday, March 26, 2003