A/N: Once again, do not eat or drink. I'm sorry if this
chapter puts you off food/liquids/parenting forever, but it's all based
on truth. It happened to my mom. No, really, she told me so. Also – for
all the clueless North Americans out there (like myself) a 'dummy' is
the British equivalent of a 'pacifier'.
Ron knew what was happening, Ginny had leapt out of the bed, and darted
out the room, shrieking "Erminninie!" at the top of her little lungs.
Ron's heart stopped. He ran after her, vowing to break both her legs
and hex her off to Albania when he caught her. He figured his mum
already had six boys – was one bloody girl really that big a loss?
He stormed down the stairs to see her duck beneath a sofa by the fire. He heard muffled giggling, and felt his blood boil.
out!" he shouted, crossing the room and kicking the couch. Then,
belatedly, he realised that Neville had actually been sitting on the
other end of it, reading a planting magazine – Witch Weekly Plants – and he looked up now, in surprise. Ron's face reddened immediately.
years," he stammered quickly, "Titchy little things, aren't they?" He
kicked the couch again, and said between gritted teeth, "Come out, or
I'm giving you detention!"
Neville stared at him.
"Annoying little twits," Ron said nervously, kicking the couch again.
Ginny shrieked suddenly, making Ron wince.
"What was that?"
asked Neville, looking about in alarm. Ginny shuffled out from under
the dark space, glowering and looking on the verge of tears. She
punched Ron in the knee. He bit his lip to keep from shouting out in
"Must be one of the ghosts," said Ron
nervously, pushing Ginny's head back down when it popped up from behind
the couch. "Maybe Nick's trying to scare someone off. Heh heh."
Neville looked confused and unconvinced. "I guess…"
"Look at that!" Ron pointed out the window at the clouds. Neville looked up. "Well, see you later, Neville – gotta go!"
He dashed off, grabbing Ginny's hand as he darted out the portrait hole, hoping Neville hadn't seen him. Too close, he thought.
Quickly, Ron scooped up Ginny in his arms and ran for the Library. Hermione was probably in there, looking up the Aging Potion–
he hoped she was, anyway. He tried to look unsuspicious as he entered,
and thankfully, no one bothered to look up at him, or else they'd have
seen the look of utter pain on his face, due to the fact that Ginny had
sunk her viciously sharp teeth into the skin where his neck met his
shoulder. Ron clenched his jaw and endured it.
"What were you, a bloody vampire in a former life?" he hissed in agony. Ginny responded by biting down even harder.
Don't hit kids, don't hit kids, don't hit kids –
passed by the circulation desk, and had to double back. The metal
nametag propped up on the desk read 'Irma Pince, Librarian'.
Ron shuddered and cast the scary thought out of his mind. He hurried Ginny into a quiet, empty corner of the Library.
he hissed furiously at her. To be safe, he cast a sticking charm to the
soles of her feet, gluing her to the ground. Ginny struggled in vain,
and her bottom lip trembled. Ron cast a Silencing Charm to be
doubly-safe. Then he ran off into the many rows and shelves of books,
looking for Hermione.
He found her sitting on the floor in
the Restricted Section. Or, rather, he saw the tip of her shoe peeking
out from under the Invisibility Cloak, the only visible part of her. It
looked like someone had chopped off the rest of her. Ron dearly hoped
that Harry was under the cloak as well, and not at large in the castle
"Pssst!" he hissed.
shifted. He watched as it righted itself and disappeared. There was a
bit of rustling, and suddenly Hermione was beside him, pulling him into
a shadowy corner. She was holding onto something invisible – that
giggled, which told Ron it was probably a certain tiny, messy-haired
"I know it's this book," said Hermione fervently,
pulling out a giant, dusty tome from under the cloak. Ron sneezed. "I
just need to find it now, and get the ingredients."
you going to make it?" asked Ron, "We can't go back to the dormitory!
What if Neville come back? What if he gets dysentery?"
Hermione's eyes lit up. "We can do it in the Room of Requirement!"
Now, why hadn't he thought of that?
said Ron, pulling Hermione back to where he'd left Ginny behind, stuck
to the floor. He un-stuck Ginny and picked her up but didn't bother to
take off the Silencing Charm."Come on, let's go."
"What are you two doing over there?" said a stern, suspicious voice.
grabbed Hermione and pressed his mouth hard onto hers again for the
second time that day. She gargled against his lips in frustration, but
didn't push him away. He briefly thought he could get used to this.
"Oh, for the love of Ptolemy!" shrieked Madam Pince in disgust, "Don't do that here! People are trying to study!"
They were chased out of the library by flying books that tried to attack Ron's head.
least Hermione didn't look quite as worried and panicked as she had
before. Ron knew her well – as soon as she decided that she could do
something about the situation, she would stop agonizing. Now that she
had the book, and could look up the Aging Potion, she was starting to
behave more like the rational Hermione he knew.
Just as he
thought things were finally going more smoothly, the powers that be
proved him wrong. Harry, who was running ahead of them like the
cheerful four-year-old that he was, tripped on a trick staircase.
shouted Ron hoarsely, reaching out wildly and grabbing whatever part of
Harry he could. His fingers just so happened to close around a chunk of
Harry's messy hair. For a second Harry wavered on the step, then there
was a weird ripping noise, and Ron was left standing on the top step
with a handful of black hair in his hand. Ron watched in horror as
Harry rolled down the stairs, shrieking madly.
Harry emerged unscathed – in fact, he wasn't just unhurt, he seemed to
think the fall had been great fun and wanted to do it again. Ron fought
the renewed urge to strangle him. He reminded himself that Harry was
his best friend.
His best friend who was now missing a tuft of
hair in the back of his head, unfortunately. Ron led Harry into the
Room of Requirement morosely. Harry immediately launched himself onto
the bed that had appeared in the room (it kind of resembled a mix
between the boys' dormitory and the broom cupboard, much to Ron's
dismay) next to Ginny and promptly fell asleep.
Hermione gave him a stern, exasperated look. "Ron..."
"I didn't mean to!" he said, staring at the hairs lying on his open palm. He swallowed. "Maybe... maybe it'll grow back."
had better hope so," replied Hermione, a tiny smile playing on the
corner of her lips. She seemed to be on the verge of bursting into
laughter. Ron didn't find the situation funny at all.
"He might not notice."
"People our age don't often have bald spots, Ron."
in the back; he might not see it at all!" he insisted, refusing to look
at Harry's sleeping figure. "Not for a while, anyway."
Hermione gave what sounded suspiciously like a small snort, and said, "Well, at least he's getting some peace."
began gently stroking Harry's hair, carefully avoiding the little bald
patch. It bounced back up stubbornly when she pressed it down. Ron
watched her quietly, thinking she looked a lot like his mum when she
did that. It was… touching. Harry made a soft noise between a snore and
a murmur, and his little hands closed into fists. "Every minute he's a
baby is a minute he doesn't have to think about Voldemort and that
Ron flinched. "I know Dumbledore said fear of a name increases fear of the thing, Hermione, but –"
"Sorry," she said, patting Harry's back as he slept, "I still think you should get used to it, though."
looked at him strangely, and then sniffed at the air, a look of utter
horror coming over her features. "Oh my god… Ron, do you smell that?"
"Shit," said Ron. The following half hour was too painful to describe. Ron decided to block it out of his mind.
that unfortunate, unforeseen accident, Hermione found some towels in
the Prefect's bathroom and they fashioned them into makeshift nappiesof
a sort. Hermione managed to bring back some sandwiches as well, from
the Great Hall – where everyone else was having supper. Ron ate his
jelly sandwich glumly. Harry was beginning to look pretty bad – missing
tufts of hair, sticky jelly smeared all over his face– and he smelled
no better. A bad stench clung to him (possibly because of The Accident,
which Ron had vowed to himself never to speak of again, because of its
disgusting nature) that made Ron's stomach turn rather nauseatingly
whenever he came within a three-foot radius of his best friend.
you sure you can find the ingredients of the Aging Potion?" asked Ron
eventually, pacing the room in anxiety. "They just keep getting smaller
and smaller, what if –"
"Don't pester me," snapped Hermione tersely, pouring over thegiant book she'd taken out of the library. "I know I saw it in here a couple of weeks ago, I just need to find it again."
"Well, hurry it up," said Ron, willing himself to breathe, "Did Harry just shrink another inch?"
"Don't rush me!" Pause. "Did he?"
"I hope not," said Ron shakily, peering closely at Harry's arm. Was it any shorter? He couldn't tell. "How old do you reckon they are now, Hermione?"
"I dunno," she said, sounding harassed. "Three, maybe? Ginny looks about the same age, too."
"Yeah… she's only a few months younger than he is…"
was hard to keep calm, now that Ron had time to really sit and think
about the situation. Not that he sat much – he spent the next twenty
minutes pacing back and forth, working himself into a frenzy.
Eventually Hermione had to tell him to stop that infernal shuffling and sit down, she was trying to read over the ingredients of the potion and couldn't concentrate with him making a bloody racket. To which Ron responded with a mocking, 'Don't swear, Hermione.' They got into a fight after that, and suddenly they were blaming each other for what had happened.
"My fault?You're the one who dragged me out of bed and into that bloody cupboard in the middle of the night!"
"Yeah, well, I didn't force you to come!" shouted Ron, at the end of his tether, "You could have refused!"
look!" she snapped, picking up Ginny, who had been startled awake by
Ron's outburst and was bawling her eyes out as a result of it. "You've
made her cry!"
"Me?" said Ron indignantly, "You've made Harry cry, too!"
He picked up Harry and rocked him. "C'mon, mate, you didn't even cry when Lockhart deboned your arm, why now? We're just talking!"
"He's just a baby!" said Hermione, "That's what they do – babies cry!"
"I'm not surprised, the way you carry on shouting!"
Hermione shot him a withering glare. "Lower your voice!"
frowned, his temper abating a little. He rocked Harry again, but Harry
was really crying now. It worried him. "Why won't he stop crying?"
peered at Harry in concern. Tears were streaming down his face, and his
mouth seemed to have lost more than a couple of teeth. In fact, his
gums were red and swollen. Hermione clucked her tongue at him in pity.
teething, the poor thing – Ron, get him something to chew on –" she
said as she went into the adjoining bathroom the Room of Requirement
had conjured up. "I'm going to see if I can find something to mix
the potion in…"
Ron stared around the room, trying to find
anything that remotely resembled food. The Room of Requirement did not
let him down. On the table by the bed was a dummy. Ron set Harry down
on the bed, snatched it up and turned to stick it in Harry's mouth, but
it seemed that Harry had already found something on which to relieve
"NO HARRY! BAD HARRY! DON'T EAT THE BOOK!"
Ron dropped the dummyand
attempted to pull the book out of Harry's hands, but for a baby he was
pretty damn strong. Harry stubbornly clung to the book, gnawing at the
cover with his tiny, razor sharp teeth – Ron fumbled with his book bag,
and pulled out a large quill. He deftly – and rather forcefully, shoved
it into Harry's mouth between bites – and yanked the book away.
was left with a mouthful of fluff. He looked startled for a moment.
Then he began chewing noisily on the quill. Ron breathed in relief.
Hermione came back into the room with her wand. "What happened? Ron! Why did you feed him your quill? It's unhygienic!"
Harry beamed at her, and lowered the quill from his mouth. He burped.
Ron wrinkled his nose. A bad smell suddenly filled the room again.
Hermione looked at him in alarm. "Ron… I think…"
"I am NOT changing his nappy."
neither am I!" she shrieked shrilly. "Do you really think I want to see
Harry naked? He's my best friend; I don't care if he's two years old or
"I'll change Ginny's diaper, but I'm not touching Harry – he'll never forgive me if I see his bits!"
"Oh, and he'll forgive me?" snapped Ron, in hysterics.
Hermione glared at him.
"Fine," said Ron furiously, snatching up Harry in his arms. "But if he asks I'm telling him you made me."
happened next, like The Accident, is best not described in detail. Ron
fought a battle of wills with Harry, and needless to say, it was not
pretty. He remembered once overhearing his mother giving his pregnant
cousin Alice advice on how to 'avoid accidents' when taking care of the
baby, and that babies have 'unpredictable aim'. Harry had good aim all
right. There was nothing unpredictable about it, Ron thought bitterly,
after he'd washed his face with soap and used a Scouring Charm about
six times in succession. Thank Merlin his mouth had been closed, if not
– he shuddered, deciding against thinking about it. He felt tainted and
traumatized. He wasn't sure if he could ever forgive Harry.
"Ron, please," said Hermione, knocking on the bathroom door impatiently. "It's not like he did it on purpose, and it's just u–"
He yanked the door open furiously. "Don't say it!"
"It's just urine," said Hermione disdainfully. "We all produce it, Ronald, it's a perfectly natural human process."
"Easy for you to say!" Ron sputtered, going bright red with anger. "He didn't shoot at you!"
"Yeah, well, Harry didn't do the other deed, did he?"
"Yes," said Hermione angrily, pushing past him into the bathroom. "Now if you don't mind, I need to scour my hands!"
That shut Ron up.
started bawling – he seemed to dislike not being the center of
attention for more than five minutes, Ron thought in exasperation.
"I just changed your nappy! What more do you want?"
cried even harder, and Ron fished around in his pockets, producing a
Chocolate Frog, still in its wrapper. He gave it to Harry, hoping it
would shut him up.
"Won!" Harry gurgled happily, clutching the Chocolate Frog in his chubby little hand.
"I think he just said his first word!" said Hermione, rushing out of the bathroom.
"Oh my god, he just said my name, Ron!"
"Since when was your name 'Heeermy'?"
completely ignored his comment. She stuck her face in front of Harry's,
and cooed in a sickeningly sweet voice, "Isn't this so exciting?"
Ron wanted to puke.
"Hermione, don't you have a potion to make?"
That got her out of the room. Good,
thought Ron. He liked kissing Hermione and all, and he was rather mad
about her, but sometimes she really, really, really got on his nerves.
At least now he didn't have to listen to that infernal cooing. Heeermy, indeed.
left with the Invisibility Cloak, saying she'd sneak into the Potions
Dungeons, steal the needed ingredients from Snape, and mix the potion
in the girls' bathroom on the second floor with her own cauldron. Ron
hoped dearly that she wouldn't be caught. In the meantime, he had at
least two hours to kill.
Ginny, who had become rather attached
to Hermione, started crying upon her departure, and Harry, after a
moment of what appeared to be serious contemplation, took the
half-eaten Chocolate Frogout of his mouth and shoved
it into Ginny's open one. For a second Ron thought she would choke, or
spit it out, and cry even louder, but to his surprise, she closed her
mouth on it and began sucking away at the chocolate. Harry looked
extremely pleased with himself. Or, at least, as pleased as a
two-year-old could possibly conceive to look.
"Never thought of trying that,"
he muttered to himself, realizing that he had just been out-parented by
a kid who had five teeth and couldn't even walk on his own without
Shortly after eating the rest of the chocolate,Ginny
promptly fell asleep again, draped over Ron's foot, so that he couldn't
move. Resignedly, he lay on his back, and lifted Harry onto his
stomach. Harry peered at him interestedly. Ron peered back, feeling
So he did what all bored people who have babies lying on their stomachs do.
poked Harry experimentally in the belly, and Harry emitted a loud,
high-pitched giggle. Ron did it again. Harry giggled once more. Neat, thought Ron. He tried it again, at different angles and at different speeds. Harry burst out in babyish laughter.
Aww, thought Ron. His nose wrinkles when he laughs.
began thinking that Harry was kind of cute and that he kind of liked
having a baby around to play with – Ron and Ginny were too close in age
for him to remember playing with her as a baby – Maybe there's something to this parenting thing after all, he thought. Mum and Dad had seven kids, maybe I will too – he smiled at Harry and poked him gently in the ribs again.
In response, Harry raked his little hands across Ron's face and kicked him in the stomach, giggling maniacally.
The bloody little titch practically had claws on him!
wrestled Harry off him, and woke Ginny in the process. She didn't cry,
as he'd expected, but rather, she joined Harry in his mad attempts to
scratch Ron's face off – and suddenly all three of them were on the
ground, rolling about, shrieking and laughing. Ron realised belatedly
that his wand had fallen out of his pocket. Harry, sitting right on his
chest, smiled down at him, clutching the greasy stick of wood in his
"NO HARRY! BAD HARRY! PUT – MY – WAND – DOWN!"
burst of light erupted from the end of Ron's wand. At the exact same
moment, Hermione opened the door, beaming and holding out a flask of
some yellowish liquid – the Aging Potion!– andthe spell, whatever it was, hit her squarely in the chest. The smile drained fromher
face. The flask she was holding crashed to the ground and shattered
spectacularly. Some of it splashed on Ron's shoes, some on his face,
but none, NONE at all, landed on either Harry or Ginny.