Chapter 4 : Kicks & Cries
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On My Own
Chapter Four- Kicks & Cries
Suddenly, it was almost December. How Hermione had made it through, she did not know. The meeting with her midwife had gone good, thankfully, and everything was arranged. Her name was Maureen, and insisted that Hermione call her that. Maureen had told her to stick to the diet that Runty had her on, and she would be fine.
But, gradually, Hermione’s good mood depleted. She was nearing the last month of her second trimester, and the last symptoms of it were starting to kick in.
Since the sonogram her stomach had grown. Then, she did not really have a need to use concealing charms so she could wear her own clothing. But now, after gaining several more inches and losing her waistline, there was no way she could forget to conceal her bump. Although, according to Fred, whose number of visits had depleted greatly since Harry started helping out, she couldn’t really call it a “bump” anymore, due to it being the size of a watermelon.
And while she was rather proud of how large her breasts had grown, she concealed those too (after tweaking one of the stomach concealing charms). But another thing Hermione noticed was how people seemed to be commenting more on her appearance, and not in a negative way. Harry actually said several times that she looked like she was glowing.
However, as December came nearer, Hermione felt worse. The excitement and delight she had felt earlier was suddenly gone, only to be replaced by anxiousness and low self-esteem. She absolutely hated looking at herself in the mirror. If someone were to compliment her appearance now, they would receive an annoyed “thanks” and a glare for the rest of the day. She had grown from being a confident woman, to an insecure pregnant teenager. And she utterly loathed herself for it.
She would find herself tearing up at random point during the day, for no reason whatsoever. During Transfiguration, Harry had to usher her from the room when she started sobbing while they practiced transfiguring their desks into animals that Professor McGonagall called out.
Then there was all the baby things piled in her room, some opened, others not. They had brought back several boxes full of Hermione’s old baby things from her parent’s house. Along with the new things, half of her room was being taken up. As a surprise, Fred had snuck into her dormitory and built the crib, changing table, and swing. Of course, when she walked in she burst into tears once more.
But everyone seemed used to it now. Harry would just hold her until she had reduced to sniffling; Fred would do the same, only he would tell her funny stories. Hermione had to say that Fred’s way seemed to help much more than Harry’s.
That was another thing, Fred. She constantly had a nagging feeling, whenever something happened, that she needed to contact him right away. She would always shake it from her mind and continue, but one time in particular she knew that Fred needed to be contacted. Even if it was in the middle of Arithmancy.
She shot her hand up after she realized what had just happened. “Professor!” she said urgently. He raised an eyebrow, seeing as he had just been in the middle of a lecture. “May I be excused?”
He nodded impatiently and Hermione quickly gathered her things and rushed from the classroom.
Her mind was one big mess as she hurried down the corridor, holding her stomach excitedly. Hermione was so lost in her thoughts of where she would find Fred that she didn’t notice when she rushed right past the red-head. Fred immediately noticed the look of excitement and anxiousness on her face and followed behind her. “Her-my-own-knee!” he said in a sing-song voice. “Her-my-own-knee!”
She stopped suddenly, turning to face him as a brilliant smile spread across her face. “I felt it kick!” she told him proudly.
Fred couldn’t help but bring some humor to the situation. He was Fred Weasley after all. “Are you sure it wasn’t indigestion?” he joked. “Because mum one time mistook some indigestion for labor pains...”
She smacked him lightly on the shoulder, smiling even broader if possible. “It’s kicking again!” she said as her eyes widened, looking down at her stomach. Slowly, she lifted her head back up to look at Fred. “Do you want to feel it kick?”
Fred looked at her unsurely. “That won’t hurt the baby... will it?” he asked.
She laughed, taking his hand in her own. A strange tingling feeling shot through his body and he shivered. But as Hermione placed his hand under her shirt onto her stomach (which he noticed she had concealed very well, for there was no signs of a bump, or watermelon) he ignored the feeling and shrugged it off as just excitement over the baby.
And then, suddenly... he felt it: a little tiny push on his hand. Again. He looked up at Hermione, smiling widely. “Are you pulling my leg?”
“Oh yes, because I would go through the trouble of pretending to feel my baby kicking just so you’d touch me,” she answered sarcastically, rolling her eyes.
He took his hand back. “Well if you put it that way,” said Fred, going along with her. “You weirdo...”
They shared a laugh before Hermione suddenly grew seriously. “This is... so... I can’t find the words to explain it... it’s...”
Oh, Fred knew what was going to happen next; Fred knew what happened when she was at a loss for words. That’s when she would start crying. Only seconds later, the waterworks started. As he was used to, he wrapped his arms around her and let her sob into his shoulder.
“You know, mum had trouble controlling her emotions while she was carrying too,” he said his first anecdote of this crying session. “Except, rather than cry, she would scream very loudly. And throw things, very heavy things. Of course, I believe it was one of these fits that caused her to go into labor with Ron...”
It did not help to suppress her tears, and he tried to think of another anecdote that he had not already told her.
“Did I tell you about how I am the one who caused Ron’s fear of spiders?” he asked, even though he knew she had heard it from Ron. “Well Ron was being a real pain in the arse, so I told him to knock it off or I would do something to his teddy. The next thing I knew, he had broken my toy broomstick, and I had changed teddy into a large, live spider. It was wiggling around as Ron clutched it, and I swear it took him a very long time to realize what had happened. Suddenly, he looked down and started screaming for mum. I’d rather not go into detail as to how mum punished me, so let’s just say my bum has never been the same.”
She quickly took a step backwards and gave him a watery smile. “Who ever knew that I would cry over silly things like this?” she asked rhetorically as she wiped her eyes with a handkerchief that Fred had automatically handed to her seconds before.
He shrugged and glanced down at her stomach. “Is he/she or it still kicking?”
She put one hand on her belly and waited a second. “No,” she frowned.
“Don’t worry about it,” said Fred. Then added, with a wink, “I bet he/she or it is just saving their energy so they can wake you up later tonight.”
Hermione, however, gave him a stern look. “Stop referring to my child as “he/she or it,” because it’s starting to bug me.”
“Well,” he replied, “I wouldn’t have to refer to your child as “he/she or it” if you had found out which it was when the doctor offered to tell you.”
She put her hands on her hips. “I want it to be a surprise, Fredrick.”
“I can’t very well come up with two plans on how to turn your child into the ultimate prankster.”
“A boy and a girl are very different to train you know,” he continued, as if she weren’t protesting. “Boys tend to be easier, so I can make a schedule that is very bendable, and would only take a month or two. A girl, on the other hand, will be certain to become frustrated easier and whine a hell of a lot more, thus making a very strict schedule that could take years of planning.”
“Fred!” Hermione repeated for the fifth time. He finally, and with a lopsided grin, stopped. “You are not training my child to be... an “ultimate prankster”, as you put it. This child will be raised as I see fit.”
He pouted, jutting out his bottom lip. “You’re forgetting a certain Vow I made—”
“That Vow did not say you had to make my child into a prankster,” she told him. “You won’t die if my child is not a prankster like you.”
Which was completely and utterly true, but the thought that he would be helping raise a child, and not turn it into a prankster disappointed Fred greatly. He had started looking forward to the baby’s arrival, instead of dreading it. When something happened, he was usually just as excited as Hermione. This was one of those times that, when he saw Hermione, his heart started racing, because he recognized the look of joy that was on her face. It was a look that made him know he was about to find out about something exciting.
Hermione had started walking away, Fred noticed, and he followed. He didn’t ask where they were going, because he knew they were out to find Harry. “I have a feeling he’s at my dormitory,” she mumbled as they turned up a corridor. They soon arrived at the Head dormitory, where Hermione gave the password. Upon entry, they found Harry sitting on the couch, anxiously waiting for Hermione. His head snapped to look at them the second he heard the portrait-hole open and was across the room and giving Hermione a stern look before Fred had even taken two steps into the room.
“What’s wrong?” asked Harry worriedly as he looked her up and down.
Hermione grinned widely. “Guess,” she teased.
Harry cocked an eyebrow. “I’m guessing something good by the smiles on both of your faces,” he replied. Fred didn’t notice, but he had also started grinning.
“I felt my baby kicking,” she told him excitedly, taking his hand in her own and hastily placing it under her shirt and on her stomach. “Just keep your hand there, and you’ll feel them too.”
Not only was Harry in shock, but he actually felt it. A little, tiny push against his hand. When Blaise had first come to Harry and told him about Hermione’s flight from Arithmancy class, he was worried something bad had happened. But this moment cleared everything from Harry’s mind; it was a moment they all had been waiting for. This told them how real this was; that Hermione truly was going to have a child. “Brilliant,” he said quietly, not able to contain his enthusiasm as a broad grin spread across his face as well.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” she asked as he put his arm by his side and made sure her shirt was fully down. “I just can’t wait until March, that’s when the baby is due, Fred.”
“Ron’s birthday was in March,” Harry suddenly said. “Very fitting if you ask me.”
Hermione nodded and smiled at Harry. “It is very fitting.”
Now lounging in the library, Hermione could see the last rays of the sun beaming down brightly only a few tables down from her. Of course, she wasn’t really reading, just enjoying the Hogwarts library. And it was an added bonus that Fred, Harry, and (oddly) Blaise had not found her yet. Strangely, it was the first place they should have known to look. But Hermione wasn’t complaining. Since the baby had started kicking, they had been making sure she was never alone. Harry’s excuse was something having to do with escaped Death Eaters (along with incoherent mumbling); Fred’s excuse was that he wanted to start “prankster-fying he/she or it now”; Blaise’s excuse was... well... Hermione really didn’t know. But she had also told him about the baby kicking later that night, and he too seemed happy about it.
She looked once more out the window, and was about to stand to walk outside when she saw someone out of the corner of her eyes enter the library. Someone with unmistakable messy, raven-colored hair. She grinned as he approached her. “Took you long enough,” she teased.
He rolled his eyes as he stopped in front of her. “I knew the second you went missing that last time that you had gone to the library,” he said. “But I convinced the others that you would never go there, because it was too obvious.”
“Or you all thought it would be too obvious,” she suggested, “but you just can’t admit that you didn’t think something as plain as the nose on your face.”
“My nose is not plain,” joked Harry. He pointed to his nose. “This nose is on the face of a man who saved the world. Several times.”
“How did you get in here with that huge ego?” asked Hermione playfully. “I swear it can’t fit through the door.”
“Haha, you’re oh-so funny, Hermione,” he said sarcastically with another roll of his eyes. “I can’t contain my laughter.”
“You have Malfoy’s ego, and his personality! Now, where is your evil twin located at the present time?”
Harry looked up thoughtfully. “Hmmm...” he started, putting a finger to his chin. “I’d say somewhere very, very hot. I think... yes, it’s Hell.”
They shared a grin and laughter as they walked out of the library. “Where’s Ginny?” Hermione asked after a brief lapse of silence.
Harry shrugged. “She said something about a new issue of Witch Weekly that came in the post,” he answered. “I doubt that it will take her long to write them another letter about false pictures of me and whoever is my “woman” this week.”
“Who was it last week?” she asked curiously.
“And she has a problem with that because...?”
“Because her mother reads Witch Weekly,” he replied. “You just don’t see the things they say about our “romantic weekend escapades” on a weekly basis. It’s as if they have nothing better to do then get me killed by Mrs. Weasley!”
“So, Harry, how are your “romantic weekend escapades” with one Ms. Ginevra Weasley?” she mocked a Muggle news reporter, pretending to hold a microphone.
Before Harry could respond, however, the one and only Blaise Zabini seemed to pop out of nowhere. “There she is!” he said, sighing in relief. “We thought you’d been lost.” He fell in step with Harry and Hermione.
“Who’d ever thought we would be walking down the corridors with a Slytherin on our own accord?” Harry asked lightheartedly as they opened a door into a small, side courtyard.
“Not me,” Hermione and Blaise said in unison.
They stopped a few steps later at a stone bench, which Hermione gladly sat on. Lately, she had not been able to walk as far without the need to stop.
“It’s a beautiful day,” she said brightly. Her depressing day had become a joyous one only a week before, causing her to be in a happy mood more often. Fred seemed to notice this more than anyone, and would pick on her for it.
Speaking of Fred...
The trio turned around to see red-haired Fred walking towards them, his hands thrown in the air. “Where have you been?” he asked in mock exasperation. “You’re wasting precious time that I could be training he/she or it!”
“We talked about this before, Fred,” she said sternly. “First of all, my child shall not be referred to as “he/she or it.” Lastly, you are not going to raise my child to be like you. The last thing we need is another Fred running around.”
“First of all, we can only refer to your child as “he/she or it” because you, the mother, refused to learn what the gender of your child is. Lastly, I have already decided against the name “Fred” whether or not it’s a boy, because that would be rather confusing and I would not like to share my wonderful name with anyone else,” Fred said. Then he added, “Of course, I’d been fine with name he/she or it Gred, or Forge. Of course, you can make suggestions, but it matters whether or not it’s a good na—”
“I want my child to have a name that means something,” she said. “I’ve already ruled out Ronald, because, other than being my child’s fathers name, it has no deep meaning,” rambled Hermione. “I was thinking more along the lines of Eudora or Callidora if it’s a girl, and Theo or Corban if it happens to be a boy. I’m not picky tho—”
“Why not just go with Matthias if it’s a boy. It’s Greek, which seems to be your theme, and it means “gift to woman,”” offered Fred in a serious tone.
“Because I don’t want my child, if it happens to be a boy, to have a huge ego just because of his name,” she answered simply.
“You really thought hard about this, huh?” asked Blaise, cocking an eyebrow.
Hermione nodded fervently. “Since the day I found out I was pregnant I’ve been thinking of names.”
“And in those six months you didn’t happen to think about anything not with Greek origins, did you?” this was Fred, of course.
Rolling her eyes, Hermione stood. “I think we should get back to the dormitory, Blaise,” she said, turning to him. He nodded and stood. “I have tons of homework I must finish before bed.”
“Seriously though, Hermione,” Fred called as they started walking away. ““Eudora”? “Corban”?”
“Yes, actually,” she called back. “I just
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