It isn’t until she’s leaving the bedroom that she notices that the dog bed is empty, too. Marlowe must have followed Cedric downstairs, which would explain why the sheets were cool. Their dog is almost a year old now, but it’s going to be a few years before he matures from the puppy attitude that likes to play even at two in the morning. The noise is coming from the kitchen, so that’s where she goes. Cedric is standing by the cabinet pouring milk into a pan, his pajama bottoms riding low on his hips and his hair mussed from sleep. Marlowe is on the floor at his feet chewing on a carrot.
“You should have named him Peter Cottontail,” she says, stretching her back as she enters the room. “He seems to think he’s part rabbit, and it would have probably been far more suitable to the poor puppy than naming him after a hard-boiled detective.”
“Didn’t mean to wake you,” Cedric says, giving her a sleepy grin. “And stop calling our dog a rabbit. He’s a tough little fellow, which is why Phillip Marlowe is perfectly acceptable. Besides, you nixed Sam Spade because you figured people would assume I was a gambler and named him after a playing card.”
“Yes, well, not everyone is aware of your fondness for Muggle detective stories,” she points out. “You didn’t wake me up. I realized the bed was empty and just wanted to make sure everything was okay.”
“That means I did wake you.” He shakes his head. “If I hadn’t been downstairs, you wouldn’t be up. See?”
“Stop arguing just to argue,” she mutters, too sleepy to keep up with verbal dueling. “Warm milk? Bad dream?”
Cedric shrugs. “I can’t really remember, so it must not have been too bad. Woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. Then Marlowe was whining to go out, so I went ahead and took him out back. Sat out there a bit tossing a ball to him once he finished his business, and I thought maybe warm milk would help get me back to sleep.”
Hermione walks up behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist and pressing a kiss to his shoulder-blade. “Heat up enough for me, too,” she says, letting go of him so she can pet Marlowe, who is no longer interested in his carrot when he can get his ears scratched. “How’s Mummy’s darling? Such a pretty boy. Yes you are.”
“I should record you talking to him some time. I’d have blackmail material for the rest of my life,” Cedric says, chuckling as he turns to watch her with their dog. “I can’t wait to see you with our children one day.”
“If you even try it, Diggory, you’d better keep one eye open,” she warns, making kissy faces at Marlowe while scratching behind his ears. “Children aren’t puppies. There will be nappies to change and feedings at three in the morning. Not head scratches and tossing around a ball. You know, I think we need to take him for more walks. He’s getting pudgy.”
“He’s a fat and happy pup. He’s probably got some type of breed that stays chubby because he’s always had that pink belly.” Cedric reaches down to pet Marlowe’s back. They adopted Marlowe from a Muggle rescue shelter that had no idea what breed his parents were, though it’s obvious he’s a mix of some type of terrier and something else. He’s white with spots, and he’s been a chubby little thing since they got him. He’s also very smart and affectionate, which she is happy about. “Besides, we’ll still love him even if he’s pudgy. So long as he’s healthy, that’s what matters.”
“It would probably be easier if we knew exactly what breeds he’s a mix of, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. We’ll see what the veterinarian says when we take him for his yearly check-up. If she thinks he’s overweight, there’ll be no more sneaking him those doggy biscuits you think you’ve hidden so well in your desk,” she says, arching a brow and smiling at him.
“Then there will also be no more indulging him with that doggy ice cream I noticed hidden in the freezer,” he says, arching his own brow and smirking.
“It’s not unhealthy. There’s yogurt and peanut butter.” She sighs when he continues smirking. “Fine. There’ll be more carrots and healthy treats for our chubby little puppy. At least he does love those carrots.” She straightens up and looks at Cedric. “Maybe one ice cream occasionally?”
“Aw. No sulking, love. We can spoil him sometimes.” Cedric waves his wand and turns on the wireless. “You know what we should do right now?”
“Heat up the milk so we can go back to sleep?”
“No, that’s far too practical, Hermione. We should dance.”
“You’re insane. It’s three in the morning, and we’re both yawning more often than not,” she points out. He just smiles and shimmies in place, adding a hip roll that is just exaggerated enough to make her laugh.
Marlowe barks and jumps up at Cedric. “See? Even Marlowe wants to dance. Don’t you, boy? That’s a good doggie. Daddy’s so proud of his dancing boy.” Cedric has Marlowe spinning in circles now while he continues to shake his hips. “You have to join us, Mummy.”
“I married a crazy man, and we adopted a crazy dog,” she says, sighing loudly as she stares at the ceiling. “How is this my life?”
“You’re just lucky.” Cedric grins as he takes her hand and tugs her against him. Leaning down, he kisses her lightly before twirling her out from him. Marlowe is jumping around them, running back and forth while wagging his tail and yipping.
“I guess I am.” She smiles as she rolls her eyes but starts to dance with him. They waltz around the kitchen to a song that certainly wasn’t intended to be used for waltzing, but they don’t really care. He twirls her around, and Marlowe tries to keep up with her spins, barking along when Cedric starts singing lyrics that have nothing at all to do with the song playing on the wireless. They’re laughing and sneaking kisses in between dips and spins. Cedric’s right. She really is lucky.