Légitimement Mariés [Harry Potter]

COMPLETED: Harry Potter Marriage Law. Fremione. Post Hogwarts. Fred may have survived the Battle of Hogwarts, but now he has a new challange - being married to Hermione!

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20. Toujours la pour toi

Always There For You

 

By August, just enough time had passed for Hermione's stomach to round a little more. Shopping in Diagon Alley, she would often see old school mates and others that she knew. Although Hermione's middle had gained a few pounds, it was not always obvious that she was pregnant, and she found it amusing when she caught these people staring at her stomach as they tried to decide whether or not it was appropriate to comment.

It was one of these kinds of afternoons that Hermione came across her mother-in-law stocking up on ingredients that looked like they might be used to make some kind of a home-remedy. They stayed chatting for a few minutes, unconcerned about the passing time until Mrs Weasley mentioned Hermione's parents.

"I told Arthur to get rid of that blasted thing – telephone, I think it's called – but now I almost wish I hadn't. I might have used it to contact your mother and father once in awhile, just for a quick chat. How are they going, dear?"

This struck Hermione dumb for a moment. It had made her realise that she really had no idea about how her parents were. She had not written to them, or indeed telephoned them, in several weeks.

"They're fine...busy I expect. I've also been working late...haven't really had the chance to chat with them for too long," Hermione stammered out.

Molly swiftly patted her daughter-in-law on the shoulder.

"Don't go working too hard, dear. You have to think about what's best for the baby. Will we be seeing you on Sunday for lunch?"

"Sure, Molly. Fred and I will be there around eleven-thirty, if that's alright with you?"

"Of course! Now, I won't hold you up for any longer dear. You get on with your shopping, and I'll see you on Sunday. Send my love to Fred."

"I will," replied Hermione, as she gave Molly a perfunctory hug, slightly distracted by the thoughts that their conversations had instigated. She quickly made a mental note to chat with her mother, at least, before the end of the day.

HPHPHPHPHPHPHPHPHPHP

"Fred?"

Hermione's voice rang out through their flat, quiet but clear.

"Yeah?"

Fred's slightly muffled reply could be heard coming from the bathroom. Surmising that Fred must be using the bathroom for its intended purpose, Hermione let him be and continued past so that she could get changed out of her work clothes.

Several minutes later, Hermione emerged to find that Fred had yet to finish in the the door slightly ajar, she briefly knocked, and before waiting for a reply she pushed the door open.

Hermione did not even know what to think of the scene which materialised before her as she opened the door. Fred was sitting on the floor, a miniature cauldron was at his feet, and an old-fashioned muggle gas mask was adorning his face, preventing copious amounts of dark purple fumes from entering his nostrils.

Seeing Hermione enter the ill-ventilated room, he immediately squawked and ran at her gently but efficiently ushering her out of the bathroom. Shutting the door behind him with one hand, he pulled the mask from his face with the other hand.

"What are you doing in here?" he demanded of her, ignoring the angry look that was quickly contorting onto Hermione's face.

"What am I doing?" she cried out, finally able to find her voice. "I think what you are doing raises a few more pertinent questions."

Fred took a moment to close his eyes and exhale one long, drawn-out breath.

"Look, I didn't mean to get angry with you Hermione, but I just don't know if that stuff is safe for the baby. It's for the shop. George couldn't do it at his place because of Angie, and I wasn't expecting you back for another couple of hours."

Fred must have seen that Hermione was not convinced by his argument, and so he continued to speak.

"You just walked in on the experiment going wrong. That's all."

Hermione was still only partially placated by his explanation, and she could not help but retort.

"Then why couldn't you do it at the shop, if it is not safe for a pregnant woman? Why did you have to muck up our clean bathroom?"

Fred shrugged his shoulders, using the extra time he had created for himself to grope around in his brain for an adequate excuse.

"We're running out of room at the shop for all out different experiments. If business continues the way it is, we may actually have to locate to new, much larger premises."

Hermione crossed her arms over her chest in defiance, not able to find a suitable counter-argument.

"Fine, well I just came to tell you that we're having dinner at my parents' place on Saturday. Also, I met your Mum in Diagon Alley today, and we're having lunch at the Burrow on Sunday."

"Eating pants, it is," replied Fred with a quick grin before he enveloped his arms around Hermione's frame. "I really am sorry. I just didn't want either of you harmed, that's all."

Melting somewhat into Fred's embrace, Hermione allowed herself to accept his apology.

"No, I'm sorry. I shouldn't snap at you. Just let me know next time. Deal?"

"Deal."

HPHPHPHPHPHPHPHPHPHPHP

"So, Mum. How have you and Dad been lately?"

Hermione was looking at Marian as she bustled around the kitchen, itching to help with dinner; however, Marian had resolutely refused to let her help stating that she was now a guest in this house, and guests did not help prepare the evening meal.

"Oh, we've been our usual selves, darling. Did I tell you that I've decided to enrol in a course at the local community centre?"

Hermione only nodded, allowing her mother to continue.

"Yes, well, ever since your father retired and has been at home all the time, I've been racking my brains trying to think of a way to get out of the house. There's what seems to be a lovely cake decorating course that runs for four weeks. We're not big cake-eaters, obviously, but it's a good skill to have for parties, and that kind of thing."

Hermione continued to nod her head at her mother, adding in encouraging communicative noises at the appropriate moments.

"... and I'll finish the cake course just in time to start the flower-arranging one in October..."

Marian continued to speak, and Hermione could not help but feel a little grateful that her mother had found something in her life to focus on other than dentistry and her daughter. Often, when she was growing up, she found her parents' attention on her rather stifling. They were high-achievers and wanted the same for their only child, but at times Hermione couldn't have been happier to have Hogwarts to get away from their attention.

Sensing a lull in the conversation, Hermione excused herself from her mother's presence.

"I'll just pop outside to see how Fred and Dad are getting along. It's starting to get dark out there. Should I let them know that dinner is almost done?"

Marian agreed with her daughter, silently waving her out of the kitchen as she put the finishing touches on the meal.

Hopping off the stool, Hermione made her way over to the door that lead from the kitchen into the back garden. Admiring the pathway of violets that her father had been painstakingly cultivating since Hermione was a small girl, she noticed several new rose plants. She felt a small ache within her when she noticed that they were not just any roses; they were Hermione roses. Suddenly she felt very guilty for wanting to escape to Hogwarts all the time when she was growing up.

Burying these feeling as quickly as she could, she followed the path to the end of the rather small garden, until it reached the place which seemed to be the domain of any aging man: the shed.

The dark, sandy coloured timber made a hollow sound as she rapped her knuckles against it, and the voices coming from within were instantly hushed. The door slowly opened a fraction; just enough for Henry to see that it was his daughter wanting access.

"Oh, it's you Hermione," he said, opening the door fully so that Hermione could see Fred standing a little farther in.

"Yes," she replied, wondering what they pair of them possibly could have been doing in there all that time. "I just came to tell you that dinner is just about done, so you should think about coming inside. Mum's made a berry crumble for dessert."

Trooping back inside, it did not take them long at all to settle themselves at the table and begin their meal. Intoxicating fruity aromas wafted around them as they ate, and Hermione's stomach grumbled for dessert, even as she was shovelling dinner into her mouth at an indecent rate.

There were several minutes where the table was mostly silent, the gentle clinking of cutlery against plates the only sound that penetrated the emptiness as each individual sought to fill their belly.

"Hermione, love, I can't help but notice that you have been a bit of a stranger with us lately. Is work really getting in the way that much?" said Henry after everyone had had the chance to make a good dent in their meals.

Swallowing a mouthful of food, Hermione took a small sip of water to clear her throat before answering her father.

"Fred and I have indeed been busy lately. I'm trying to get as ahead as I possibly can so that I can take a few months off after the baby is born; business is booming for Fred and George as well at the shop. Just the other day, Fred was saying how they might need to relocate to somewhere that has more space for them to test products."

Although she could not justify it to herself, Hermione was conscious of her need to make Fred seem as wonderful as possible to her parents. She was always careful to remind them that he owned a successful business, along with prime real estate; that he had a large and loving family which she was welcomed into without any hesitation. Yet, paradoxically, she did not want her parents to know any of this. She did not want to enlighten them of the magical part of her life. It felt like too much of a betrayal for all the sacrifices that her parents had made for her, in the muggle world.

Feeling that she had grown up with the best of both worlds, Hermione wanted any children that she had in her life to experience the best parts of her childhood, that is, the parts that did not involve Voldemort.

Inspired by these ruminations, Hermione could not help but interject during a lull in the conversation.

"Mum, Dad, do you remember how we said that our baby is going to have to be born at St. Mungo's in order for the birth to be properly registered?"

Marian looked at her daughter in confusion, wondering where the conversation could possibly be heading.

"Yes, dear. Of course, we remember you saying that."

Hermione took a deep breath, ignoring the perplexed look that Fred was giving her.

"Well, I want you to know that, despite the rules that have been set by the Ministry; we want our child to grow up with as much non-magical influence as there will be magical influence... and that means that I would like your help where possible. I have great memories of growing up, with you as my parents, and I want our son to be able to have that as well, if you are willing."

Hermione could hear Henry clear his throat several times, and she could see tears beginning to pool at the corners of Marian's eyes. She felt Fred's hand find hers under the table, and a sense of calm washed over her as he used his thumb to rub gentle circles on the back of her hand.

"Of course we will be there for our grandchild, love," said Henry after several relatively silent moments. "Your mother and I will always be there for you and for Fred as well."

HPHPHPHPH

Hermione and Fred did not stay too long after dinner had finished. Barely able to keep her eyes open any longer, Hermione yawned a quick goodbye to her parents before allowing Fred to guide her out.

"We had a really lovely time, thank you for having us," said Fred to Hermione's parents as they were walking out the front door.

"It was out pleasure," replied Marian, beaming with obvious joy."Just remember that you're always welcome here."

Although Hermione was feeling rather drowsy, she could not help but notice that her father had pulled Fred aside slightly, and the pair was talking rather quietly amongst themselves.

Not making a point of it in the moment, Hermione waited until she and Fred were at home and tucked up in bed before she allowed her inherent curiosity to get the better of her.

"I noticed that you and Dad are getting along rather well. I could hardly get a word in edgewise between the two of you."

"We are getting along," Fred affirmed before falling silent once more.

Hermione could sense that Fred had something more to say to her, and so she stayed quiet; watching his face as he attempted to articulate what he was feeling.

"I want you to know," he said after a protracted pause, "that I absolutely agree with what you said tonight at dinner. That is, I think that we really should focus on giving our son the best of both words: magical and muggle. He ought to know what made both of his parents who they are...it's what your Dad and I were talking about today. I was trying to convince him that you would never want or try to abandon your life with them."

He suddenly reached out to Hermione, taking her arm into his lap. Slowly, he lifted the sleeve of her pyjamas, tracing the scars that were carved into her skin one by one, until the whole word was revealed.

"What that woman did to you was beyond disgusting," he whispered so softly that Hermione was not quite sure that she heard him. "There is no shame in being who you are."

Shuffling herself across the bed so that she was closer to Fred, Hermione wrapped the arm closest to him around his shoulder so that she was hugging him.

"I know that, and I'm glad that we agree."

Fred reciprocated, putting his own arms around Hermione, using this leverage to move them down the bed so that they were lying down properly. It was in this position, feeling content as they were wrapped in each other's arms that they fell asleep.

 

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