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Chapter 7: Albus: When it Begins
I don't like hospitals, I've never liked hospitals, and now I know I will never like hospitals. It used to be that the thought of all that blood, all those sick and hurt people, would make my skin crawl, I felt ill and I really just wanted to get out of there. But now I just get an uncomfortable feeling. Right now I'd take the uncomfortable feeling because at least that is better than boredom.
Mum made the appointment to confirm the pregnancy, make sure everything was okay and all that, with a healer she knew and liked. She'd started healer training not long before I was born and was Vic and Teddy's healer for Dora. If that's the case, she has to be the best. So I trust Mum's judgement and Vic's agreement, I just hate waiting. There's a problem of some sort, I wasn't really listening. I might have zoned out after hearing the words 'it'll be a while'. I didn't like those words.
So now I'm waiting, reading some stupid magazine because I thought it best to not touch the pregnancy leaflets just yet, and I'm all alone. Lexi left me in some waiting room in a fancy looking ward that, compared to the rest of St. Mungo's, is very new and is obviously for pregnancy and everything to do with kids because I vaguely remember Mum saying we were only here for Lily's birth (it wasn't here when James and I were born, that's how 'new' it is), but I don't remember ever actually being here. Why would I? I was two when she graced us with our presence and I had to share a room with James. Sisters; gotta love them.
How long does it take to go to the bathroom? I lift off the chair, about to ask someone to check on Lexi, check on her myself if I have to, when she comes back into the waiting room and makes her way to me. Thank God, I did not like the idea of checking on her myself. Lexi sighs loudly as she practically falls into her seat and I pick up the magazine again. "You alright?"
"You took quite a while. Did you have to, you know?" I gesture with my hand.
She laughs at me. She actually laughs at me. I should not be surprised by this. "No, Al, I did not have to throw up." I go back to the stupid magazine and ignore her. I'm not actually sure what I'm reading anymore, when you're as bored as I am it all just blurs into one. "How bored are you?"
"How can you tell I'm bored at all?" I ask slowly, although I can tell just by listening to what I just said and hearing my own voice. My voice sounds extremely dull. I hate it, it depresses me. It because of this place. I hate my dull voice and I hate this place... Yeah...
"You're reading the Agony Aunt section of Witch Weekly."
I turn to face her and her raised eye-brow, her eyes are on the magazine, then I actually focus on it. "Oh, yeah," I chuckle. "This used to be good. Mum said they talked about real problems, it was a way to get help with issues after the war while staying anonymous. Witch Weekly did it because the Prophet still needed some work." I stop. "I don't know why that is interesting."
"We need to get you out of here." Lexi crosses her fingers and squeezes her eyes shut. "Please hurry up and call us in so we can leave. Please."
She repeats it a couple of times and then one of the doors open, a young medi-witch popping her head out. "Alexa Nott?"
Lexi's eyes snap open as soon as she hears her name, drops her hands and turns to me. "Well, that almost never works. Come on," she says, grabbing my hand.
And the uncomfortable feeling is back.
I drop the magazine and follow, and not just because she's making me. The medi-witch points to the bed and asks Lexi to get comfortable. She lets go of my hand now that I'm in the room, so I'm left to stand by her side with my arms folded over my chest, looking and feeling like an idiot who doesn't know what he's doing. Only, instead of just looking like it, I really don't know what I'm doing. "There's a chair in the corner if you'd like to sit down, sir."
Sir? Did she just call me sir? "I'm good, thanks," I force a smile. I can't be old enough to be a 'sir' yet. She's freaking older than me!
She doesn't notice. "Healer Moore will be here soon."
As soon as she leaves and I wait long enough to guess she's not near the door, I turn to Alexa. "Sir?" Alexa rubs her ear. Dramatic gesture or not, I don't care if it came out louder than intended. "Show some compassion, I'm traumatized here."
"You're traumatized? Get a little perspective, I have to push out a human being." I can't help but shrug and nod and agree with her. Let's face it, I'd rather be called 'sir'. That sounds painful. And I know painful; I've had a quaffle thrown at certain areas. Again, you gotta love sisters. Please, let this baby be a boy. Lexi shuffles on the bed, pulls up the pillows so she can lean back but while sitting up still. "This is so comfy. You alright, standing?"
"Stop smirking." Time to get that chair, I think.
The door opens then and a woman I assume is Healer Moore comes in, smiling widely at us. It's warm, a little reassuring actually. The uncomfortable feeling lessens somewhat. She pushes back a bit of hair behind her ear and holds out her hand. "Alexa Nott."
She does the same for me. "And Albus Potter. Your mum talks about you a lot. It's nice to meet you both. I'm Healer Moore, but after months of seeing me, patients usually end up calling me Annie."
"It's nice to meet you, Healer Moore," I say, letting go of her hand.
She turns to Lexi. "So, how are you feeling?"
"Tired, emotional. A little nauseous actually." They both stare at me like I've grown another head. I laugh awkwardly. "But you were obviously talking to Alexa. I'm gonna get that chair." I grab it and bring it to the bed, so my arms can rest on top. Man, that does feel comfy. "I'm good now."
"I'm good, too. Unless counting the shock, then there's some still there. But I've spent this week processing it."
Yeah, she willingly came and spent time at my house, talking to my family outside of school and everything. She did tell me her mum and maternal grandparents had been looking for her at home and that Daphne Greengrass would never come to my house, but I choose ignore the ulterior motive. She didn't come to my grandparents house on the Sunday, though. That's next on my list.
"I'm glad to hear that," Moore smiles again. "Any symptoms at all? A little emotional? Morning sickness?" Moore glances at me while she asks Lexi this. What? Dads can feel those things, too. Maybe it's not due to whatever happens to the body in pregnancy, but it's definitely because of pregnancy in general.
"I've seen a slight change in emotions, I'll admit," she says. I hold back my scoff. Slight? I've seen her almost cry more times since this happened than the whole time I've known her. And I really mean almost cried; she never actually does.
"You're still in the early stages, but I wouldn't be surprised if the morning sickness started soon. Although, there are some women it doesn't happen to."
Alexa crosses her fingers. "To me being one of those women."
Healer Moore laughs in reply, but we both know Alexa is definitely not joking. She hates being ill. Having a cold or something she's fine with, she gets to lie in bed or on the couch and watch movies with ice cream and chocolate, but being physically sick is a big no; she can't eat the ice cream or chocolate. I'm not sure how she'll take morning sickness... And I'll have to live with it!
I didn't think of that. When I came up with the idea of being roommates, one of the first things that came to my head was how it would have happened whether she was pregnant or not. I always knew she'd help me find a place to live, love it and end up moving in. She was right in the house; we're stuck together. And it's not a bad thing. We're good together, we work. So, I'll just have to handle morning sickness, won't I?. If I have to. I cross my fingers for her, too.
"I'm going to perform the ultrasound now." Healer Moore pulls forward the machine, a box with a blank screen on a stand with wheels, and takes off what looks like a mouse on a computer. It's wired to the machine. "This device," she waves the mousy looking thing, "will act as a Muggle video camera, taking a image from inside your stomach."
"How does it do that?" I find myself saying. It's like I only imagined saying it, until Healer Moore smirks at me.
"Magic. The image will project onto the screen beside me. This will let us see the baby. I warn you now, it's a little cold." She places the device, as she called it, onto Lexi's stomach as soon as her top is lifted up. I barely notice Lexi shiver, my eyes are glued to the screen. This is it. This is why we're here, going to appointments and sharing a house with a nursery and a swing in the garden.
And I am shitting myself.
There's silence for a few minutes and then Healer Moore points at a small speck to the right, no bigger than a peanut. "There is your baby. Congratulations."
Right. Yeah. Okay.
"That's it?" I hear Lexi ask. "That little thing?"
I don't even bother trying to speak, to acknowledge what they're saying. They sound so far away, I could be imagining it all anyway. I still can't take my eyes off the screen, this time because of what I can see, not what I was waiting to see. I helped to make that little speck on the right.
I feel as though I'm frozen, like I'll never move again, until a hand curls over my own and squeezes. The trance breaks and I look down, then to Lexi. She's smiling at me; half amused by me, half sincere.
"I'll give you both a minute," Healer Moore says quietly, standing up.
"Thank you," I murmur just as she gets to the door. She nods in acknowledgement and leaves the room. I go back to face the screen, getting up. It's not so easy moving around the bed while also holding onto someone's hand, involves a bit of stretching, but I manage it and I sit by Lexi's side, on the bed, with our hands still joined and now resting on her stomach. I'm glad Healer Moore had taken the picture and removed the mousy looking device before leaving; it would have been awful to lose the picture if our hands had knocked the device. I pull the screen closer. "I can't believe that's our baby."
"I know. I can't believe I made that with you."
"I'm gonna pretend not to be hurt by that."
"You know what I mean." Lexi pushes me to the side playfully with her free hand and when I turn to face her, she's rolling her eyes. "I never thought I'd ever sleep with my best friend and end up having a baby."
Lexi let's go of my hand, sits up properly to swing her legs off the bed and sit by my side. "Do you think we'll be able to get a picture?"
"I don't see why not," I shrug. "My mum went to a Muggle hospital for her scans of me and James, she wanted to show everyone apparently, but this ward was built by the time Lily was born and Mum said she came here. So, she must have got Lily's here because she has one."
"Yeah, you can thank Aunt Astoria for that," she laughs quietly. I frown. "She petitioned to the Ministy and hospital staff for this ward to makes things easier for mums. She said if Muggles can have a clean and safe hospital environment with the necessary medicines and equipment for pregnancy, then so can we. People agreed with her and she had Uncle Draco donate money and help fund the ward."
"That was nice of her. But why did she do it?"
Then she really laughs and it's that really loud, infectious laugh that she gets from her dad. I can't help but join her. "Because Scorpius was a nightmare." Once we settle down, she pokes me in the arm. "Apparently so were you. She met your mother a few times in the beginning, Ginny became a big supporter."
"Good to know."
"You wanna know what else is good for you to know?" I nod. "Labor sounds painful enough. If this baby is anything like you were, I'll hurt you. I'll make you feel all the pain I'd have felt."
"You'll have to catch me first."
The door opens before Lexi has a chance to say anything and I am safe for a little while longer. Healer Moore hands me a card. "It's your appointment for your three month scan. If you have any problems getting to the appointment, let me know and we'll rearrange. And this is a prescription to help with your first trimester." Then she turns to the machine, she presses a button on the side and the picture comes out. It's like one of those cameras that develops the picture and has it come out the other end after it's taken. Hugo's grandfather got him one once for Christmas. She hands both the prescription and the scan to Lexi. "I'll see you in a few weeks."
We thank her and she follows us out. "If you have any problems feel free to call."
"We will," Lexi says sincerely as we shake her hand again.
"Al!" I turn to the voice shouting my name. Oh, my God. Someone gave Louis a fat lip and the side of his head is black and blue. Are they stitches? "Hey. A healer said you were here, I thought I'd say hi. I can follow you out."
"What the hell happened to you?"
"Were you finally caught by some poor girl's boyfriend?" Alexa snickers. I nudge her with my elbow. It's an excellent point, but now is not the time.
Louis glares. "She'd hardly be a 'poor girl' if she'd slept with me in the first place. They tell me they're single, I'll have you know. And no, it's work related. The crazy bastard hit me with some curse, knocked me backwards and into a wall. The potion should be about ready to kick in and heal my face. The stitches are to close my head wound until it kicks in."
He's right, already I've noticed the bruises are lighter in color. But as soon as he opens his mouth again I'm tempted to completely rearrange his face myself. This cannot be happening. He grins at Healer Moore and holds out his hand. "Hi. You must be the amazing healer my aunt says is looking after my cousin's accident."
He has such a way with words. She looks at him skeptically, but takes it. "Healer Moore. You're an Auror?"
"No, Hit Wizard," he corrects. "I work with Alexa's dad."
"He's in training and works for my dad."
Louis shushes her. "Do you have a first name, Healer Moore?"
"Annabel, but everyone calls me Annie."
"Pretty name. And you work on the pregnancy ward. Do you have kids?"
Oh, God. I know where this is going. Why aren't I stopping it?
Healer Moore folds her arms over her chest and looks him up and down. Something tells me she knows where it's going, too. Okay, this is why I'm now not going to stop it. This could be fun to watch. "I have two; a six year old daughter and a two year old son."
"You and your husband must be proud," he answers, but he's got that smug smile going. He's seen the lack of a ring.
"I'm recently divorced actually."
Her smirk is bigger. I turn to Lexi, whisper if she has any idea what Healer Moore is planning. She does not. Damn. "I'm sorry." He's not. "That must be hard for the kids. I wouldn't be surprised if you were to keep any guy you were seeing away from the them for as long as possible."
"You have no idea."
"He really does," I mutter.
He gives me a dead arm, the dick. "So, anyway," he turns back to her, "Annie, recently divorced, two kids, perfectly happy to keep the guy away. I'm Louis Weasley, it's lovely to meet you."
"Hello, Louis. I distinctly remember hearing your name over and over when you never called my medi-witch back." She pointed to the young woman behind us. It's the medi-witch who called us in and called me 'sir'. Oh no.
"Uh oh, Sophie."
"It's good to know you remember her name," Healer Moore says cooly. She looks both professional and scary.
Louis laughs awkwardly and steps back. "Well played, Ms. Moore. I have to go before she sees me."
"I've never seen him run so fast," I chuckle. "You're awesome and he deserves it."
"I'll see you both in a few weeks and if you could keep your cousin away, that would be great. I just don't want Sophie seeing him and crying again. It's not fair on her and some of the patients don't really like it."
I nod. "I'll do my best. But I wouldn't worry about Louis coming back anyway, he's really uncomfortable around kids. Vic won't even let him hold Dora in case he drops her. So all's good." I take Lexi's hand. "Coming?"
"Yeah. I love her," she whispers to me as we walk away. "No one ever has the guts to talk to Louis like that."
"Except you," I add.
"I thought I'd be alone forever," she jokes. At least I think she's joking. "Oh no. He waited for us." I let her go in front of me, which means she let's go of my hand, and she stops in front of Louis. "Why are you still here?"
"I'm putting off going back to work." He shivers. "Paperwork, ugh. I don't want to do it."
Lexi walks past him and into the elevator. We follow and I end up in the middle. I glance at both of them; it's probably a good thing.
"Your healer is good, no one has ever said something like that to me before."
"She said stay away from the ward, she doesn't want Sophie seeing you and crying."
"Fair enough." I admit, I'm surprised. I share a look with Lexi and even she is. We expected something... Different from Louis. "It's not like I'll never see her. She has to leave here sometime."
Oh, there he is. I was actually afraid I'd lost my cousin for a minute.
I shake my head, stopping Lexi from whatever it is she was about to say, and we step out of the elevator. "I have to go to work."
"You can't tell Theo you're dying. Your head is looking better already."
"Damn. See ya."
As soon as we're outside of what we know is the hospital, although all we can see now is an abandoned building, I give a quick wave and watch Louis apparate before we leave the side alley and enter the busy streets of London. "You leave me alone with that every Sunday."
"For that reason," Lexi scoffs. "You could always have dinner with me and Dad. He does cook, you know."
"I can't, I eat with you on Fridays to get out of eating Dad's idea of food. I can't have two days in one week. I need 'family time'."
"Think of it this way; your whole family can't meet up for dinner every Sunday and they are usually the one's who have jobs and other commitments. Soon you are going to be one of those family members, what with your job and your kid." Lexi smirks at me. "Why can't you handle your family again?"
"They're big and scary and do crazy things."
"Like knock up their best friends?"
"No," I glare. "But Dom did sleep with one of his best friends once."
"They're still together. And I got to meet the best friend's evil little sister."
She raises an eye-brow. "Evil, eh?"
"Yeah, she likes to mess with my head and blame me for everything, among other things."
"She sounds like a bitch. I like her already. Lunch? We have stuff to discuss."
Lexi picks a nice, little café for lunch and, as it is actually a very warm summer's day, we sit outside under the awning. The waitress comes back with our sodas and I order a tuna sandwich with a side order of chips while she asks for the same, only chicken instead of tuna. Once we're alone, Lexi has some of her drink and leans forward. "So, I was thinking about telling others."
"What about it?"
"Well, you were there and made me take the test, so I didn't have to tell you, and we kind of had to tell our families, being eighteen and not together all, but I was thinking about our friends and the media and everyone else. I mean, you're not exactly unknown in this world."
"True." I'm glad Lexi has decided to bring this up really, because I've been thinking about the same thing. "It's understandable that we had to tell our parents now, but I only told the rest of them as well because as great as they are at keeping a secret from the rest of the world, they're not so good at keeping one from each other," I admit, taking a drink of my own.
"Right. So, I was thinking that for everyone else, we wait until after this next scan to tell our friends and then we'll come up with a plan for the media. We'll tell them when everything is... Okay."
"You actually looked at the website I wrote down," I say, awed. I told her what the website said about miscarriages in the beginning, although I also told her that I didn't know if things would be different as we have magic and potions, but I didn't think she'd really look.
"I glanced. I had to go all the way to the library to glance because I don't have a computer, but I glanced." She grinned at me. "I also read a couple of those leaflets you refused to while we were waiting."
"See for yourself next time we're there," Lexi winks. See, she's evil. "Oh, good, our food is here."
The waitress puts down our food. "Enjoy your meal," she smiles brightly.
I lift my sandwich up and glance at Lexi. She hasn't even taken a bite and she already looks a little green. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," she mutters. "It's just... The tuna smell -"
She bolts out of her chair and runs away, to the ladies room I presume. "And so it begins," I whisper to myself, taking a bite of my sandwich.
Man, this is delicious.
A/N: Brand new, also quite long, chapter for y'all to enjoy. :)
And they got to see the baby. Awww. :D
Edit: A part got cut about Louis. He's training to be a Hit Wizard (he's only twenty after all :P).