They all had their own little ways of looking after one another. Ron with his cooking and tending and making sure they were sleeping. Harry with his quiet listening that turned into action and buying them little gifts to show he’d been thinking of them. She loved them both dearly for it, the ease of being with them. That they would always come to her when they needed some obscure knowledge. The physical affection they all indulged in.
She knew that when she went home at the end of a hard day that Harry would already be in the kitchen, dinner sorted and Ron would sit there, cracking jokes and asking about her day.
It was selfish but she wasn’t ready to share her grief. The unlived future that belonged to them as much as her.
“Hermione?” Ron asked as she came through the door, trying to mask her emotions. “How was work? Are you feeling any better?”
Nausea that morning, cramping the night before. The only signs that anything had been wrong and she hadn’t even the time to put the pieces together and now there was no puzzle to solve. Gone before she had even known to fret…to imagine a future filled with happiness and love.
“Fine.” She answered, kissing his cheek distractedly.
“There you are,” Harry said worriedly as he walked into the room. “Your assistant said you went to St. Mungo’s?”
“You did make me promise I would if I wasn’t feeling better,” Hermione said, trying to tease, to lighten the heaviness in her heart.
They were both staring at her.
“It was nothing,” she lied hurriedly. “Just dehydrated.”
And because she never had a reason to lie to them they had no reason to suspect she was. Relief flooded their faces and already Ron was summoning a glass from the draining board and filling it with water.
“I warned you this would happen one day,” he said as Harry fussed over her. “Coffee isn’t the only beverage there is you know.”
“I know,” she answered, accepting the glass obediently as Harry pulled her bag and cloak from her shoulders and they both tried steering her towards the sofa. “Actually, I think I’m going to have a bath, wash the hospital smell off of me.”
She didn’t wait for a reply, feeling their eyes on her even so as she wandered towards the staircase, fighting against the wave of guilt that came with lying to them.
Only a few weeks along. Barely a cluster of cells.
Hermione didn’t know what to expect when she looked into the mirror over the sink but when she did her reflection showed nothing wrong. The same face that had stared at her that morning, no more exhausted than usual, no sign at all that she might have just had her whole world changed.
She could hear footsteps down the hall and hurriedly locked the door before one or both of them came barging in. Bracing herself she waited but there was no innocent knock, no asking her if she was alright and whoever it was (Ron she decided from the heavy footfalls) stopped off in the first bedroom where the boys kept their quidditch things, and then retreated back down the stairs.
She needed a good cry, to process what this meant.
“You’ll continue to have cramping for the next day or so and some spotting but if it gets worse or persists through the weekend come back.”
And it was that the simple explanation and a potion to help things along and Hermione was.
She emerged, wrapped in one of the oversized housecoats her parents had gifted them at Christmas, and padded back towards the bedroom, wondering if she could manage to fall asleep before they came looking for her. To her dismay she found Ron already in their bedroom, setting out a cup of tea and frowning at the still full glass of water she’d been sent up with and forgotten.
“I’m fine,” she said to him and he jumped a little in surprise.
“I didn’t know if you wanted to come back down,” Ron said sheepishly and as he turned she saw he’d brought up with him a plate of food. “You looked like you wanted a moment alone. So I thought I’d give you the option.”
Touched she nodded and when he raised his arms she fell into him, burrowing her face against his shirt. She’d spent all that time, wanting to cry and not being able to, and now, wrapped in his arms, she could feel the tears welling up behind her eyelids.
“Do you want me to go?” Ron asked in a low voice.
Hermione shook her head, not trusting herself to speak. Ron held on for as long as she needed him to and when at last she raised her face and wiped the tears that had spilled he kissed her forehead and whispered.
“I’ll get Harry, you get dressed.”
The spot in the middle was usually occupied by Ron but tonight she took the spot without discussion, burrowing down in an oversized sweatshirt and allowing Ron’s long limbs to encase her. They didn’t ask, even though she knew they’d seen through her rouse, and she didn’t volunteer.
“It’s a lot more common than you might think. One in four.”
In the morning she vowed to herself to share what had happened. To let them in on the terrible reality that had consumed her. But for now, she allowed herself to be comforted by them, to be the only one burdened with the pain of a future they hadn’t even known to want.