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Originally Posted: Aug 2, 2006

It’s more difficult than she expects. The waiting room is full of Weasleys and respected significant others. You can’t take a step without tripping over one or another. Ron is pacing, stopping occasionally to stare at the door to Luna’s room. Hermione wants to offer comfort and encouraging words about birth rates and statistics that mean nothing but might make him relax. Instead, she stands off to the side and tries not to think about anything.

She shouldn’t have come. When she got the floo call from Molly, she should have made an excuse of some sort. She just didn’t think it would be this hard. Now, she wishes she’d not been home at all. It had been surprisingly easy to avoid Luna once she announced her pregnancy. Hermione was often busy with work and used that as an excuse to miss Sunday dinners at the Burrow once Luna started showing. It wasn’t so simple to tell one of her best friends that she can’t be there when his wife goes into early labor, however.

After more time passes, she feels like she’s suffocating. There are pregnant women everywhere, it seems. They walk through the halls and smile proudly as they show off their bellies. Tears sting her eyes as she gets up and murmurs something about using the loo and getting some air. She has to get away so she can get a grip. She can feel Harry watching her go and is relieved when he doesn’t say anything. He’s one of only two people who know the truth, but he knows to give her space.

The loo is at the end of the hallway. Hermione heads in that direction, hoping that splashing some water on her face will help. As she walks past the nursery, she stops and looks through the glass at all the tiny newborns. She tells herself to keep walking, to just ignore this room, but she can’t. Her attention is drawn to the babies and she lightly runs her palm over her belly as she cries silently.

She had never particularly wanted children. It wasn’t something she gave much thought to beyond assuming she’d eventually have one or two, after she had a satisfying and rewarding job and fell in love. When her ability to give birth was taken away by a particularly nasty curse during the war, she’d considered herself fortunate because she was still alive and things could have been worse. As she gets older, though, and everyone around her is getting pregnant and starting to have families, she’s having trouble considering herself lucky.

Strong arms suddenly hug her from behind and she inhales the familiar scent of smoke, mint, and spice. “I got here as soon as I could,” Charlie says softly as he rests his chin on her shoulder and kisses her damp cheek. “Are you okay?”

“Better now,” she whispers as she moves her hand over his and squeezes. “It’s just hard.”

“I know,” he murmurs as he hugs her tighter. “We can go home if you want.”

“No, I’ll be fine,” she tells him softly. She turns her head and gives him a gentle kiss before she looks back at the babies. “Do you regret…”

“No,” he interrupts and kisses her neck. “I could never regret what I’ve found with you or how I feel about you. Mum and Dad will have plenty of grandkids to spoil. Besides, we can always adopt when we’re ready.”

She wipes her face and can’t help but smile at his matter-of-fact tone. “I love you,” she whispers as she leans back against his broad chest and enjoys the feel of his strong arms around her.

He kisses her cheek and takes her hand in his before he softly says, “I love you more.”