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19 Years by marauder5
Chapter 64: Year 7: Wishes
Late September had painted Holyhead in red, yellow, and gold, and the corners of Ginny’s visual field were bursting with colour as she hurried across the Quidditch pitch nearly an hour after practice had ended one Sunday. She had stayed behind to do an extra few laps, but was very eager to get to the Burrow now and pick up her son. It was not that late in the afternoon, but it was already getting darker, and so it wasn’t until a voice called her name that Ginny noticed she was not alone on the pitch; a man was in the middle of climbing over the fence separating the bleachers from the field, waving and smiling brightly at her as he did so.
It was Avery Hawksworth, taller than Ginny remembered and handsome as ever as he landed graciously on his feet just a few yards away from her. His black hair was tied back from his face, and even in the dusk one could make out the green streaks in his otherwise dark, soft eyes.
“Ginny,” he said as he approached her, adjusting his robes, which had fallen off his shoulder mid-jump. “How are you? And tell me, how is the little one?”
“I’m good,” Ginny smiled. “And James too. He’s great, actually. I would definitely recommend it – having children, that is.”
Avery laughed, a deep, thunder-like sound that Ginny had learned you could hear from opposite sides of a Quidditch pitch, and then he said, “Thanks for that. Just got to find someone to carry the child for me first, eh?”
Ginny smiled again. “That might make it a bit easer, yes.”
“Well, I’ll get on that another day. Today, I need to talk to you about something else.”
Ginny caught herself holding her breath. “What?”
“I’m sure you’ve heard about Edric,” Avery sighed, a wrinkle forming on his forehead as he thought of his fellow Chaser on the national team.
And there was a flutter in Ginny’s chest, because she had heard about Edric Vosper – how could she not have, when she had just spent the last hours with her teammate Adriana, who had a big mouth and an almost unhealthy fascination for anyone remotely famous? She had prioritised talking about Vosper over actually catching the Snitch that day, and practice had ended with Gwenog Jones yelling at everyone and Darren Weinhold stoming off the pitch, but it also meant that Ginny knew everything there was to know about Edric Vosper’s love life now. He had suddenly gone missing a few months previously, but had appeared at the Ministry just about a week ago, having escaped the cellar where his wife had kept him locked up to stop him from leaving her for his mistress. As soon as he had reported his wife to the Auror Office, he had begun the divorce process and announced that he was leaving Quidditch to live the rest of his life quietly with his new love.
Avery cleared his throat and woke Ginny from her thoughts. “Anyway,” he said, “you know we need to play well next year if we want to qualify for the World Cup. And if there’s one thing you know about, Potter, it’s playing well.”
Ginny knew it was a little inappropriate, but couldn’t stop herself from throwing her arms around his neck and kissing his cheek. “Do you mean it?” she nearly shouted. “You will give me another chance?”
Avery laughed again; Ginny could feel his chest vibrate against hers and quickly backed away. They walked together towards the fireplaces and agreed she would come practice with the team the following week. There were no promises about playing an actual game, or coming to another full weekend at the National Arena, but there was a chance, and that was all it took for Ginny to practically dance out of the fireplace at the Burrow a little while later, the grin on her face growing even wider as two blond figures rushed up to her and threw themselves around her waist, both giggling happily as they looked up at her.
Both Victoire and Dominique were so beautiful – truly their mother’s daughters. They had identical, bright blue eyes, dimples in their cheeks when they smiled and beautiful curls framing their little faces. Ginny couldn’t resist bending down to place a kiss each on their rosy cheeks before she straightened back up and ruffled their hair.
“What trouble are you monsters getting into?” she said, and Victoire giggled.
“It’s Maman,” she explained. “She’s come to take us home, but we want to stay here and play with James and Freddie and Bryony.”
“Freddie and Bryony are here too?” said Ginny in surprise, and her nieces nodded, suddenly forgetting about hiding from their mother as they grabbed Ginny’s hands and pulled her into the kitchen. It was almost as crowded as in Ginny’s childhood memories; Mrs Weasley was serving Katie Bell tea, Mr Weasley and Angelina were lying on the floor building a tower of blocks with Bryony and James, and Freddie was running in circles around them, jumping over his mother’s legs and, miraculously, not falling over once. Meanwhile, Fleur, breathing heavily, was just coming down the stairs, her eyes widening as she spotted her girls hanging onto Ginny’s arms.
“There you are!” she exclaimed. “I ‘ave been looking everywhere for you two. We need to go ‘ome, it’s getting late and Papa will be ‘ome soon…”
Victoire let go of Ginny’s hand to cross her arms over her chest, and Dominique was quick to mimic her actions. “No!” she said firmly. “You can go! We’re staying.”
Just then, James had spotted Ginny, and let out a squeal of excitement while stretching his arms towards her. Ginny lit up and rushed forward to pick him up. There was nothing else like feeling him wrap his little arms around her neck and lean his head against hers, and breathing in the scent of him as she squeezed him tightly – not even getting a second chance to play for England could compare to it.
“How has he been?” Ginny said, turning towards her mother, who had put down the kettle and was beaming at the sight of her daughter and grandson together.
“Lovely,” Mrs Weasley replied, stepping forward to stroke James’ cheek. “He always is. How was practice?”
Ginny was just about to announce her news when Fleur started yelling in French as Victoire and Dominique ran off again. Fleur waddled after, her hands on her big belly and her eyes narrowed with frustration over being over eight months pregnant and not even close to fast enough to keep up with the girls. Angelina jumped to her feet to help chase the troublemakers down while Katie Bell stood up to give Ginny a hug.
“It’s so nice to see you!” she said. “And James. He’s so much bigger than when I last saw him…”
“I was just thinking that,” Mrs Weasley agreed, and Ginny snorted.
“You mean he’s bigger than he was three days ago, Mum? It’s so nice to see you too, Katie. And Bryony is just absolutely gorgeous, isn’t she? How is everything going with Lee?”
“Better than I had hoped,” Katie smiled. “Bryony and him really adore each other. I didn’t think he would be very good at the whole parenting thing, but he’s constantly proving me wrong.”
“And what about you? Do you feel any differently about him?”
Ginny smiled knowingly, but Katie just shrugged. “I like him better now than I did when we first broke up. But not like that… I’ve actually started seeing someone else.”
It was not before having made Katie tell everything she had learned so far about her new boyfriend Geoff that Ginny left the Burrow, right after Fleur, who had finally managed to convince the girls to come back home with her. Ginny waved goodbye to her mother, Angelina, and Katie, and kissed Freddie’s curly head before stepping back into the fireplace with James on her hip. She could not wait to tell Harry about what had happened after practice, but she suspected he would be home late. Dennis Creevey’s trial would begin the following day, and Harry had spent the entire weekend at the Ministry. As she put James to bed, she tried to imagine the look on her husband’s face when he told him – just seeing her father close to tears had been quite enough to make her want to cry herself, but she often suspected that no one wanted this for her more than Harry did.
“It’s just so perfect,” she told James as she buttoned up the back of his broomstick print pyjamas and kissed the top of his little head before placing him in the cot. “I’ve wanted this since I was a little girl. And then I wished for you instead. Looks like I might get to have both.”
The Creevey Case had been the topic of conversation of political debates and at dinner tables in Wizarding homes and coffee breaks at work for past few months, and so no one was surprised to see Wizengamot filled to the very last seat on the first day of the trial. Hermione was sitting in the back, clutching a piece of parchment to her chest; from her spot, she could not see them, but Mr and Mrs Creevey were only a few rows away. It was only eight in the morning, but Mr Creevey was already drunk enough that his wife had had to lead him to their seats.
Across the court hall, Theo Nott had arrived with no one to lead him, though he could have used a bit of support. He had thought it appropriate to skip breakfast, so his stomach was rumbling as he took a seat on a bench in the very back, behind the jury members in their plum-coloured robes and neat hair-dos. He did not know if his hands’ shaking was because he had not eaten, or because he would soon be looking at the person who had taken all that had been left of his family from him, and that he would be expected to sit quietly and listen to the devil describe exactly how he had done it.
Also shaking, but for different reaons, Hermione had rolled up her parchment to read through it one last time. Truthfully, she knew every single word by heart already, but she needed something to focus on while she waited.
When the time finally came, she walked determinedly to the lectern, still shaking and now feeling a little lightheaded too. She let her eyes sweep across the room and felt significantly calmer when they found first Harry, who was smiling encouragingly at her, and then Ron. Even from a distance, she saw the dark rings under his eyes. She had barely seen him the last couple of days, for he had spent every waked hour at work, and the little free time he had had in bed. She wished for the day to be over, though she knew it would be a long one; but when it was over, she would bring him home with her, and she would finally tell him.
When she had finished her speech, Hermione was no longer shaking, but needed to find a restroom quite desperately. She heard people begin to mumble as she hurried towards the exits, but did not stop to take in any other reactions – she did not stop, in fact, until a shout behind her announced she was not alone in the dim corridor, and a sudden invisible wall put an abrupt end to her scurrying.
“Not so fast, Granger,” said a voice, and she turned around, her heartbeat speeding up as she lifted her eyes.
Theo Nott was standing just outside the doors leading into the court hall, his hand stretched out in front of him and his wand pointed straight at Hermione.
She took a deep breath. “Can I help you?”
“We just need to have a little chat, is all,” said Nott and started talking towards her. “About what you said in there, you – don’t!” he shouted when she groped for her wand. “Take your wand out, and I’ll hex you on the spot.”
Hermione let her hand fall back down.
“I hope you didn’t expect me to just let you run out after you stood up there, defending the man who took absolutely everything from me! He took my father away! My cousin – she had never done anything wrong! Creevey is a monster and you stood there asking the jury to be considerate – was that the word you used? Perhaps they’ll show me a bit of consideration too when they find out what I’ve done to you…”
Hermione was pressed against the wall behind her now, motionless. She didn’t dare breathe, because it was not just about her anymore… And then the doors to the Wizengamot flew open, and for a moment she felt hopeful.
Then she saw whom it was that had just stepped out.
“Theo! What in Merlin’s name are you doing?”
Draco Malfoy walked up behind his friend and tried to grab the arm that was holding the wand; Theo shook it off, keeping both wand and eye fixed on Hermione.
“You heard her,” he said. “She was defending him! She told them to go easy on him, to…”
“… to give him a fair trial? To not punish him harder because of his family name?”
Hermione stared at Malfoy in awe. She had not expected him to join in torturing or hurting her, but that he would try to stop Nott from doing it? It was certainly a surprising turn of events.
“Please,” she said. “All I said was we shouldn’t pay attention to blood status. Your family name should have nothing to do with your verdict, as it has in the past–“
“But it has to!” Nott shouted. “He murdered my cousin for no other reason than her family name! It does matter! He took everything from me, and he deserves to die for it…”
He fixated his wand, and Hermione held her breath. She had to try something, but for one of the first times in her life, her brain did not want to cooperate…
And then there was a shout, and Theo Nott’s arm fell to his sides, and moments later, he tumbled forwards, landing on the cold stone floor with a thud, his head slamming into it and Hermione shrieking, because for a moment, she thought he was dead…
“It’s okay. I just stupefied him.”
Hermione burst into tears and rushed forwars, into the arms of the person who had saved her. It was not Malfoy – he had knelt down next to Nott and looked as shocked as Hermione felt – but Ron, who had also seen his wife run out of the court hall and had decided to make sure everything was all right when both Theo Nott and Draco Malfoy had followed.
“Are you all right?” he whispered into her ear now, and she nodded, pressing her face into his neck and sobbing hysterically. “Shh,” he continued whispering. “You’re okay. Everything’s okay.”
And it finally felt okay half an hour or so later, when he had taken her to his office and brought her a cup of hot cocoa after sending Malfoy and Nott home. She was sitting in the chair by Ron’s desk, smiling at the photography of the two of them on her parents’ porch that he had placed on the middle of it. Her mother had taken it a few years earlier after their first meal out there for the season. Hermione smiled at the way Ron was laughing at something going on behind the camera, and then she looked up at the real version of him, still smiling although he was far from laughing. He knelt down in front of her, placing his hands on her thighs as he furrowed his brows in concern.
“I’m fine,” she assured him. “I was just so scared. I couldn’t… I couldn’t think. Or move.”
“That’s understandable. Don’t beat yourself up.”
“I just don’t want to think what could have happened.”
“So don’t,” said Ron firmly. “Nothing did happen.”
Hermione bit her lip. She wasn’t smiling anymore; she felt more like bursting into tears again. “I was just so scared that he would hurt the baby.”
Ron blinked. And again. “Hurt the…?”
“I’m pregnant,” Hermione sniffed, and Ron stood up, pulling her to her feet as well. The serious look on his face was vanished; he looked as happy as he did in that photograph on his desk.
“Are you sure?”
“Well I haven’t been to see a Healer,” Hermione replied, unable to stop from smiling as well. “But I took a test last night. And I’ve been throwing up for the last couple of days, so I’m fairly sure.”
And she forgot to be scared or angry t herself when Ron kissed her mouth and every little inch of her face, when he spun her around and laughed loudly. They had been waiting so long, she had been wishing for it for longer than Ron even knew – and it was all coming true.
Maman = Mum
Papa = Dad
A/N: I have to say, I continue to be amazed by the reviews you write and the way so many show support to this story. It really is unbelievable and I just want to thank you (again) because it means the world to me.
Who's excited for Ron and Hermione? And Ginny?
Speaking of good news, I've found out I've become a Trusted Author, which means my chapters won't have to wait for validation anymore. So hopefully that can lead to faster updates!! Xx