Authors Note: This is the third installment of my trilogy (beginning with "The Last Two Years" and continuing with "Hogwarts Reunion"). This installment is different because each chapter is meant to be treated as a separate short story, little vignettes into the life of the Weasleys and the Potters. Some chapters will be done in flashback (though not nearly as many as in "Hogwarts Reunion"). I must also tell you that this story doesn't really have a "beginning" or an "end." It will just be short stories about the family as I come up with them. I will keep them as chronological as possible. At the moment I have a basic plan for chapters, but of course they could change as the story grows, and new ideas could sprout as I write! Of course, remember that this story, like the others, will be heavily about Ron and Hermione's family, as the entire trilogy is basically based on their relationship (though there will be lots of Harry and Ginny as well!).
Chapter One: Anniversary
Twenty-nine year old Ronald Weasley rolled over in bed, and felt his arm come into contact with... nothing. He opened his eyes slowly and saw that it was still quite dark outside. A quick glance at the clock told him it was nearly four o'clock in the morning. He had a moment's confusion as to where his wife, Hermione, could be, but when he heard her softly talking, he knew.
"There now," he heard her say. "You're all fed and changed. Now all you need to do is fall back to sleep." Ron heard the creak of the rocking chair in the next room, and heard Hermione speak again. "There now, that's my boy," she said. He waited until he heard her come back into the room. He felt her weight on the bed and watched as she slid back down under the covers, and then he slid his arm around her.
"Did I wake you?" she asked softly.
"Nope," said Ron as he breathed in the scent of her hair. "Did he fall asleep so quickly?"
Hermione nodded. "Just like his daddy," she said. "He eats like he'll never have another meal, and then falls into a deep sleep." Ron smiled and Hermione yawned. Ron felt his own eyes droop again, and he continued to breathe her in as he feel back to sleep.
* * *
All too soon, Ron was awake again. This time, Hermione was still sleeping peacefully next to him, but Ron's guess was that she wouldn't be for long. From downstairs, he could hear a lot of sounds, which he guessed were happening in the kitchen. He cringed when he heard the cupboard of pots come crashing down. Hermione stirred and sat bolt upright in bed.
"What was that?" she asked.
"I don't know," said Ron. "It seems that Emma is attempting to make breakfast again." When Hermione groaned, Ron said, "I'll check it out."
Ron kissed Hermione's cheek and got out of bed, pulling on a robe before leaving the bedroom. He hummed to himself as he walked down the stairs, not as concerned as Hermione would be at what he would find in the kitchen. When it came to the disastrous messes the kids could make, Ron was definitely the calmer of the pair, as he had grown up with five brothers and one sister, none of whom being what you could call "neat freaks."
Therefore Ron wasn't too shocked when he walked into the kitchen and found five-year-old Emma sitting amidst various pots and pans with a carton of eggs in her hands. She looked up at him when she heard him walk in and smiled at her father. "Hi daddy," she said sweetly.
"All I have to say is, you're lucky I'm the one who came downstairs." Ron's words made Emma giggle. "You know what your mum would say if she saw this mess."
"Emma Rose Weasley, what have you done?" Emma said, in her best Hermione impression. "You better help me clean this up." In spite of himself, Ron had to laugh, though he knew that if Hermione heard him he would be in big trouble. Emma laughed with him.
"You know, you sound so much like your mum it's scary sometimes," Ron said, and then he turned to the mess. "But you know, we DO have to clean all this up. I don't want to make your mum feel bad today. It's a special day, you know."
Emma was intrigued. "Why?" she asked.
"Because, ten years ago, on this very day, your mum and I got married," Ron explained.
"Really?" Emma asked, and Ron nodded. "How come it's so special though?"
"Because when people get married, they love each other very much, and every time they have an anniversary they want to celebrate," Ron said.
"And you love mummy, right?" Emma asked him.
"Very much," Ron said, and then he had an idea. "I'll tell you what. Why don't we make breakfast together? Then we can bring it up to mum in bed."
Emma's eyes sparkled. "Yeah!" she said, and she stood and handed her father the eggs.
* * *
Though she tried, Hermione was having trouble getting back to sleep. She could still hear noises coming from the kitchen, but as there was no longer any loud banging, she assumed Ron had the situation under control and she allowed herself to relax. It was very rare that she had these quiet moments to herself, when she could do what she loved most - read. She reached over the side of the bed and pulled out the latest book she was reading. Pulling it to her lap, she opened it and began to read, listening to the sounds of her family stirring in the house.
She was so engrossed in her book that she didn't notice the bedroom door creak open more than it already was. She didn't notice the three people who made their way into the room until she smelled the food. Bacon, eggs and toast, the only thing Ron knew how to make without her help. She looked up from her book and smiled when she saw Ron placing a tray at the end of the table.
"What's this?" she asked.
"Daddy and I made you a special breakfast," Emma announced.
"In honor of the occasion," said Ron. He handed her one of the flowers he had placed on the tray. "Happy Anniversary."
Hermione took the flower and smelled it before smiling at her husband, saying, "Happy Anniversary."
Their eyes locked and stayed that way, until Emma decided to break the silence in the room, "Are we gonna eat?!" she asked. Ron and Hermione laughed, and they settled onto the bed.
"Is Olivia awake yet?" Hermione asked as she grabbed a piece of toast. "You don't want her to miss her favorite breakfast." Before Hermione could say more, Ron was up and out of the room, returning a few moments later with nearly two-year-old Olivia.
"What about Jack?" Emma asked.
"Well, we'll let him sleep in a bit," said Hermione. "He was up pretty late last night."
"Again?" Emma asked. She had become an expert on baby's sleeping patterns when her brother was born just three months earlier, and she was often a sympathetic ear for Hermione the morning after a sleep deprived night.
"It wasn't too bad this time, love," Hermione assured her. "But it wouldn't hurt to let your brother sleep longer." Emma nodded in agreement.
Ron moved Olivia, who was attempting to stand so she could engage in one of her favorite pastimes - jumping on the bed.
"Jump?" she asked.
"You can't do that now, love," he said to her when she was placed in his lap. "You're going to spill the food." He handed her a piece of toast, and she happily took it.
"Emma, you want to spend the night with nana and popop?" Hermione asked, referring to her own parents. They had happily agreed to take all three children for the evening so Ron and Hermione could have a proper anniversary celebration.
"Okay," Emma said. "Will they give me balloons again?" As Hermione's parents were dentists, they had a larger than average supply of balloons, which they usually gave to their well-behaved patients.
"I'm sure they will," said Ron.
"But I don't think you'll be going to the dentist's office this time," Hermione explained. Emma nodded.
"I hear Jack," she said. Ron and Hermione listened, and although the baby wasn't crying, it was clear that he was awake because of the gurgling sounds he was making.
"I'll get him," said Ron, offering his services once again that morning, and he headed out of the room, and into Jack's room. He looked down into the crib and smiled. The baby, with strands of Weasley red hair starting to grow in, smiled back at him.
"You ready to get up?" Ron asked him, and he lifted his son out of the crib. "You want to join your mum and your sisters, or do we need to spend some time together, man to man?"
The baby smiled again, causing Ron to smile back at him. "You're right," he said. "I can't stay away from your mum for this long either." He walked from the baby's room, back into the bedroom, where Hermione was now reading to Emma and Olivia. Olivia seemed to be only half listening. In her hands she was holding the smaller, toy version of a quaffle that Ron had bought her. Emma, however, had clearly memorized the book her mother was reading her, as she was mouthing the words along with her, and studying the page intently.
Olivia looked up when Ron sat down on the bed. "Daddy!" she exclaimed, and she held the Quidditch ball up to show him, proud of herself. "Waffle!"
"Don't throw it!" Ron warned, and he gestured at the baby. Olivia looked and nodded, knowingly. Ron laughed, as the look she gave him was definitely one that he had received many times - from Hermione. "I have a question," he said to his wife, and she looked up from the book. "How it is possible that our two children can be so much like me, and so much like you at the same time?"
"Genes," Hermione said simply.
"I don't think it has anything to do with pants, Hermione," said Ron.
Hermione smiled. "No. Genes with a g. They're what people inherit from their ancestors. However, we also influence them plenty." Ron nodded, satisfied with her answer, and he looked down at Jack.
"What about you?" he asked. "Who are you going to be like?" The baby reached his hand up towards his father's face, and Ron took that to be his answer. "Aha! It seems Jack knows whose influence is best." He smiled at Hermione, and looked back down at the baby. "Though is wouldn't kill you to be smart like your mum over there."
"No it wouldn't," said Hermione. At the sound of his mother's voice, the baby started to cry. Hermione reached for him. "He must be hungry."
"All right girls!" said Ron. "How about we get dressed, and let your mum take care of Jack here?"
"Can I pick what I'm going to wear?" Emma asked. Though Hermione's eyes pleaded with Ron to tell the child no, Ron's resounding "Of course!" had Emma sailing off of the bed, down the hallway and into her bedroom in three seconds flat.
"What about you?" Ron asked Olivia, and he picked her up, Quaffle and all. "You know, I was a Keeper once," he said as they walked out of the room. "Never let the quaffle in." Hermione sighed happily as she listened to her family getting ready to start their day. It was certainly another typical day in the Weasley house.
* * *
Hermione was in the kitchen preparing some lunch for the girls when she heard familiar voices in the living room. Putting her task aside, she headed into the next room where she saw Ron kneeling in front of the fireplace, talking to Harry Potter's head. "Hello Hermione!" the head called out when Hermione entered the room.
"Hi Harry!" said Hermione brightly.
"Just wanted to pop in and say happy anniversary," Harry explained. "Though Ron has me distracted, talking about Quidditch."
Hermione smiled, and knelt down next to Ron. "Well, I hear Gryffindor is still doing Hogwarts proud," she said.
"That they are," said Harry. "Won the cup again, though I have to remain impartial, being referee and all." Harry was referring to the job he had had for about a year, as a teacher and Quidditch coach at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. "Anyway, what are your plans for tonight?"
"Kids are staying with Hermione's parents," Ron said. "And we're going out."
"He won't tell me where," Hermione said.
"Well, wherever it is, I'm sure you'll have a nice time," said Harry. His head disappeared from the fire for a moment, and they heard him say, "Just a minute, Lil," to his two year old daughter. His head reappeared. "Here's Ginny. Lily's begging me to play with her."
"Go on," said Hermione, and Harry's head disappeared and was soon replaced by his wife, Ginny.
"Hi," she said, smiling at them.
"Hi," Ron sand Hermione said back to her.
"Ron, you better not screw tonight up," Ginny said sternly to her brother.
"I won't!" Ron exclaimed.
"Do you know about tonight?" Hermione asked, intrigued.
"Of course," said Ginny. "Where do you think my brother gets all his good ideas?"
"I did not get the idea from you!" Ron exclaimed. "I thought of it myself."
Ginny laughed. "Okay, he really did think of it himself this time."
"Thank you," said Ron.
Hermione smiled at them. "Honestly, the way you annoy each other, you'd think you two were still ten years old living at home with your parents."
"Well, he is still my brother," said Ginny. "Despite the fact he's celebrating his ten year wedding anniversary today. Congrats."
"Thanks," Hermione said.
"Mommy, I'm hungry!" came Emma's voice from the kitchen.
"I have to go, before she makes a disaster area of the kitchen," Hermione said, and after a quick goodbye to Ginny she headed back into the kitchen.
"I won't keep you," Ginny now said to her brother. "Have fun tonight."
"I will," said Ron. "Talk to you soon." Ginny repeated his words and then her head disappeared as well, and Ron stood to help Hermione out in the kitchen.
* * *
The family arrived at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Granger a few minutes earlier than they were expected. Experience told Ron and Hermione that they wouldn't get out the door on time, and so they gave themselves a few extra minutes, also taking into account the fact that they hadn't seen Hermione's parents in quite a while.
Mrs. Granger opened the door, and immediately hugged Hermione when she saw her. "Oh, Hermione, it's so good to see you!" she exclaimed. "I've missed you." When she let her go, she turned to Ron. "Let me see that baby!"
Ron obliged, and handed Jack over to his grandmother. Once his arms were free, Mrs. Granger leaned over and kissed her son-in-law on the cheek. "How are you, Ron?" she asked.
"Great," said Ron.
"Well, let's not stand here in the doorway. Come in, come in. Let me see how big these girls are!" Mrs. Granger stepped aside to let the family into the foyer, and then surveyed Emma and Olivia. "Hi girls," she said.
"Hi nana!" Emma said excitedly. She hugged her grandmother's legs, and Mrs. Granger did her best to hug her back with the baby in her arms. She kissed Olivia on the cheek, as they were more eye to eye with Olivia being in Hermione's arms.
"Do I hear the kids?" came the voice of Mr. Granger. They soon heard his footsteps coming down the stairs.
"Popop!" Emma exclaimed again, and she repeated her again with her grandfather. He, however, having no baby to hold him back, hoisted the little girl in the air.
"Oh, dad, do be careful," said Hermione. "You don't want to hurt your back."
"Hermione, my girl, my back's just fine," he said to her with a smile, and then he kissed her forehead. "Good to see you."
The group moved into the Granger's living room, where Hermione and Ron got to work setting up all the things the kids would need for an evening away from their parents. "Jack eats every three hours. There are plenty of bottles here," Hermione was saying to her mother as she placed toys in a playpen. "He likes people to talk to him when he falls asleep."
"Honey, I took care of YOU, didn't I?" Mrs. Granger asked.
"Yeah, but you never had to put me to bed with a five year old and a two year old running around as well," Hermione said.
"We'll manage," said her mother. "I don't want you to worry. I want you go out and have a wonderful time."
Hermione relaxed a little. She and Ron finished getting the children's things set up, and then they prepared to leave. "Bye love," Hermione said. "Bye girls!" she called to Emma and Olivia, who were too busy in the next room, looking at their grandfather's collection of ships in bottles to come out and give their parents a proper goodbye.
Ron repeated the same process as Hermione, and then he took her arm, and they headed out of the house, Mrs. Granger waving from the porch. "Okay Ron," said Hermione. "Now that we're alone, where are we going?"
"You'll see," Ron said, and he took her hand. "But we need to apparate there, and we can't very well do that in the middle of a muggle street." They walked until they were able to find a place to shield themselves from private muggle eyes.
"Ron?" Hermione asked. "I can't apparate if you don't tell me where we're going."
"Weasley's Wizard Wheezes," was all Ron said before he disappeared with a pop.
Hermione looked confused as to why her husband would take her to his brothers' joke shop on their anniversary, but she apparated just the same and soon found herself standing outside of the store. "Why here?" she asked, as the shop was dark; closed for the day. Ron was opening the door.
"Come on in," Ron said, and he opened the door and gestured for her to step inside. Hermione walked in, expecting to see something grand, but instead was greeted with the same things she usually saw whenever she was in the store: shelf upon shelf of various jokes. Ron smiled at her disappointed reaction. "I knew you might feel this way," he said.
"Ron, it's just that, I don't understand why we're here," said Hermione.
"Come over here," he said, and he pulled her hand to guide her over to the counter. Sitting there was one of Fred and George's specialties: a Temporary Swamp Kit. "Ready?" Ron asked, and he made sure the hand that was holding hers was on the box. After a few moments, Hermione felt herself being tugged to a new location, and knew that she and Ron had touched a portkey.
When they landed on the ground, she looked around, recognizing her surroundings. "Why are we here?"
Ron smiled and kissed her. "Love, you need to trust me more often," he said.
"I do trust you!" Hermione protested. "I just don't understand why we're here!" She looked around at her own living room.
"Time will tell," said Ron mischievously, and he laced a blindfold around her eyes, and started to lead her into the dining room.
"Ron, this is our own house, I think I can find my way around," she said. "Even blindfolded."
"Shh!" Ron exclaimed. "Don't ruin the moment!" Hermione laughed and let herself fall under Ron's lead. "Just a few more moments," he said to her, and suddenly he pulled off the blindfold.
It took Hermione's eyes a few moments to adjust in the dim light. She smiled when she looked around the room, lit only by candles. She guessed there had to be at least 100 of them on the table, on the mantle, and around the windows. The table was set for two. "This reminds me of-" Hermione said.
"Our very first anniversary as a married couple," Ron finished. "Only this time, the dinner came from me."
"Ron," said Hermione. "It's beautiful."
"I figured we could go someplace spectacular," said Ron. "but with three children, I thought maybe you'd appreciate a quiet evening in your own home even more. I know I do."
Hermione smiled. "It's perfect."
"Dinner?" Ron asked, and he pulled out a chair for her, and allowed her to sit before taking his own seat next to her. He waved his wand at the tray in front of him and their dinner appeared.
As neither of them had eaten much that day, due to chasing the children around and trying to get a moment alone whenever they could, they were both famished and dug into the meal right away. Hermione took a bite of the food and looked at her husband in amazement before saying, "You did NOT cook this."
Ron laughed. "So little faith in me?" he asked.
"Of course not," said Hermione. "You just don't cook like this. Or have you been holding back on me so I don't make you cook every night?"
Ron laughed again, and said, "Well, I haven't been holding out on you, but I really did cook this. Mum gave me a few lessons. But I swear this is the only thing I know how to cook."
Hermione smiled at him. "It's great," she said. "I hope you'll make it more often. It was nice today. I didn't have to make breakfast, or dinner."
"Well, I just wanted to do something nice for you," said Ron. "You do so much around here yourself. You take care of the kids, you take care of me, you make sure everything's always running smoothly - even though it never really does. And I just wanted to thank you for that, and to thank you for being there for the past ten years. For the past eighteen years, to be exact. I just want to make sure that you know how much I love you."
Hermione smiled, and took his hand into hers. "You show me that everyday," she said. "With your words, your actions, the way you interact with our children. I love you too."
"Happy anniversary," Ron said.
"Happy anniversary," Hermione repeated.
The couple continued to enjoy their dinner. When it was time for dessert, Ron conjured a trifle and a bottle of champagne, which Hermione guessed he had been hiding in the kitchen. He waved his wand towards the living room and muttered a spell, and soon soft music filled the air.
"Hermione? Do you want to dance with me?" Ron asked when they had finished their dessert.
"I would love to," Hermione said, and she took his hand and they moved into the living room. With a few waves of his wand, Ron had the furniture moved to the sides of the room, and the lights twinkling. He took Hermione in his arms and began to sway to the music, and the happy couple danced the night away.