To be taken with a few pinches of caution! (You have been warned.)
That evening, when Ron arrived at the Labor and Delivery floor for another 14-hour shift, Hermione invited him to join her for a questionable opportunity.
“Dr. Pomfrey is going to circumcise one of the newborn boys in a few minutes,” said Hermione. “Would you like to come?”
“Of course not,” said Ron.
He watched as Hermione turned around and headed to the newborn nursery, skipping with every other step as soon as she was past the nurses’ station.
Ron remained at his desk for another few minutes and waited for a patient to deliver. No one delivered. He soon found himself standing in front of the door to the newborn nursery, gazing through the window at the discomfiting sight.
Dr. Pomfrey stood at the foot of the operating table with a metal contraption and a scalpel in hand. Hermione leaned over the head of the table, attempting to simultaneously hold down the baby’s arms and squirt sugar water into the baby’s mouth. When the baby’s face contorted into a deafening wail, Hermione scrambled to find another squirt vial; but alas, there was none.
“Oh no, buddy! It’s okay! It’s okay!” Hermione rubbed the baby’s sternum and squeezed his hand, but the baby only screeched louder. To Dr. Pomfrey, she said, “Isn’t there any more of the sugar water?”
“They only get two of those per procedure,” said Dr. Pomfrey without looking up from his ominous contraption. “He’s been anesthetized, remember? The sugar’s just a distraction.”
Hermione’s eyes bulged as the baby’s voice reached a note hitherto undiscovered by humanity. “Is there a pacifier I could give him?”
“You should have thought of that before.” Dr. Pomfrey grimaced as he twisted a metal knob.
By the time Ron stepped tentatively inside the nursery, however, all was quiet. The baby had locked his lips around Hermione’s gloved little finger. Hermione looked up from the operating table and grinned at Ron.
“The suction is unreal,” she said. “Do you want to try?”
“No thanks,” said Ron, trying not to look at the surgical field too closely. “I’ll just… stick around for the time being.”
A few minutes later, Dr. Pomfrey cleaned the wound, dressed the baby in a new diaper, and left the nursery. Hermione swaddled the baby in a blanket and began rocking him in her arms.
“Do you want to hold him?” Hermione asked, as Ron stepped closer.
“No thanks,” said Ron. He looked down at the bald, cone-headed baby, who was now trying to eat Hermione’s scrub top. In that moment, Hermione’s eyes melted like chocolate ice cream in the microwave.
“Oh, look,” said Hermione, oblivious to the escalating pallor of Ron’s face. “Our little buddy is hungry. Isn’t he sweet?”
Ron stared at her with his mouth agape. Recalling the relentless game of Interrogation from the previous evening, he considered the possibility that an impostor had disguised herself as Hermione.
“You really like babies, don’t you?” said Ron.
Hermione scowled at him. Ron was starting to feel all sorts of discomfort, so he excused himself from the room. As far as he could tell, Hermione was a lost cause the moment she had first laid eyes on the newborn nursery.