Chapter 1 : Arthur’s Guinevere
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They had agreed that Ron would be their last child, not that Weasley men had very much control over the number of their offspring. Weasley progeny was famous or infamous, as the case may be, for the potency of their seed. Indelicately speaking, they bred like rabbits and yet not a single solitary female child among them for untold generations. But just as many a Weasley bride before her, Molly Prewett Weasley had her heart set on a daughter.
When his wife of 10 years looked at him with her doe eyes and said, “Just one more Arthur, I do so want you to have your Guinevere”, he could not refuse his wife her heart’s desire, as many a Weasley male before him. Perhaps then it was not so much the breeding prowess of the Weasley clan as it was the ever-elusive quest for the Weasley female that accounted for the sheer volume of the Weasley brood.
Molly was a fanciful woman; something that Arthur normally had no problem indulging. When Molly had heard the family folklore that the Weasleys, although there was no evidence of the fact, were descendants of Merlin himself, Molly was taken with the notion of honoring that lore, by naming her children after King Arthur’s legendary court. Arthur cringed at the very idea of subjecting his children to such a fate, so he came up with a compromise. They drew straws. Whoever won would have the honor of naming any given child conceived of their union. Luckily for his other five sons, only his third child Percy was unable to dodge that hex. Percival, the noblest of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table and therefore, in Molly’s eyes, worthy to be a namesake for her third son. Truth to tell Molly named all their children in the end, another concession Arthur was willing to secede to his Mollywobbles, although they both liked to pretend otherwise. His other five sons were secretly pleased that their father had devised a way for them to avoid being named Lancelot or worse, Percival.
When Molly became pregnant for the seventh time, in her heart of hearts she knew, as only a mother can, that the child growing in her womb was a girl. Oh, she had hoped in her other pregnancies that a girl had been conceived, even to the last moment, but she always knew that another son would be born. She was three months along before she told Arthur that they were expecting. As she lay in her husband’s embrace, in the hushed whispers of sated lovers, she told him.
“Hmm,” Arthur responded, his hands feather soft on her skin, distracted by the curves of her body convex to his own, the warmth of her womanhood pressed to his side, the curve of her thigh along his own, the sweat of their lovemaking cooling on their skins, their hearts beating in a rhythmic tattoo.
He knew that tone in her voice; she was about to make a confession. Whenever she had something of import to convey, she waited for these quiet moments in the privacy of their room, after their brood had settled for the night. He had been patiently waiting for the past few weeks for the confession that she was again pregnant and now it appeared his wait was over.
He first had his suspicions when she started sleeping on her back, a sure sign that her breasts were beginning to feel sensitive. Then her areolas had darkened to a dusky shade, and her belly began to round out very slightly. Not to mention that she would cry at the drop of a wizard’s pointy hat. It had become a bit of a tradition for her to impart the news of the impending birth of a child while in bed and after a particularly passionate bout of lovemaking. That was of course a side benefit of pregnancy; his Molly would become quite aggressive and vocal in her demands in the bedroom, directly after the first trimester of pregnancy, and Arthur was more than happy to reap the benefits.
“We’re going to have another baby, you’ll finally have your Guinevere” she whispered, her voice breathless with excitement.
Arthur frowned. “Molly love…”
Molly interrupted before Arthur could finish his thought. “I know what you’re going to say Arthur, but this time is different. This time, I know it’s a girl.”
Arthur sighed. “Just promise me, you won’t be disappointed if it’s another son.”
“I promise.” She beamed at him, a sure sign that she was undeterred in her belief that they were indeed having a daughter.
After a bit of silence, as both of them momentarily became lost in their own thoughts, Molly continued, “I’ve been thinking about her name.”
Arthur looked down at his wife, surprised. “I thought you wanted to name her Guinevere?”
“Well I did, but I’ve been thinking, this will be our seventh child, a seventh daughter born of a seventh daughter – a very powerful magical number. She deserves a unique, exotic name. So I’ve decided on Ginevra, it’s Guinevere in Italian, a beautiful name for our beautiful daughter.”
Arthur cringed, but did not protest the name, secure in the knowledge that their seventh and last child would be another son.
But as time began to slip by, something strange happened, Arthur’s steadfast assurance of the impeding birth of his male progeny began to crumble.
It all started with a dream.
He saw himself in one of the bedrooms of the Burrow, and he knew, as we sometimes know in dreams, that he was in the bedroom of his seventh child. It was painted in the lightest of pastel pinks and at the center of the room was a twin bed. On a white dresser was a menagerie of stuffed magical creatures. There were frilly lace curtains at the window and a hand made pink rope-chain rug on the floor by the side of the bed. He walked over to the bed with a bit of trepidation and anxiety, afraid of what he might find there.
The first thing he noticed was the long red hair that was fanned out on the pillow, the long straight locks had giant curls at the ends and it was a deeper shade than that of his sons. Lying on her side with her hands tucked under her cheek was a little girl of about six or seven. On the bridge of her nose was a tiny smattering of freckles, her bow red lips were parted, as she breathed low shallow breaths.
He watched her, as if in a trance and in complete denial as to whom this petite little girl was in connection to him. As he watched, her lips quirked into a smile.
“You’re staring at me again, Daddy,” she whispered, a mischievous lilt in her voice.
“I know princess, I’m sorry. Did I wake you?” he answered contritely as he sat on the side of what he knew now to be his daughter’s bed.
“S’okay, Daddy, I was just pretending. I was waiting for you,” she answered, her eyes still closed.
“You were?” he answered, a smile in his voice.
“You didn’t read me a story tonight.”
“Didn’t Mummy read you a story for me?”
“Not the same,” she pouted as she finally opened her beautiful almond shaped caramel eyes, flopping onto her back she extended her arms to him.
He responded to the magnetic pull of her pleading eyes and drew her into a tight embrace. Arthur then felt something coming from the deep pit of his stomach and spreading to his chest, as the pounding of his heart quickened from the simple embrace of the small arms that were clasped around his neck in a fierce hug. He knew without a shadow of a doubt, that this tiny little treasure was the axis of his universe.
When he awoke the next morning, he was disturbed by the dream. He’d never dreamed of his children before they were born and it left him a bit anxious as to significance of his nocturnal wandering. Wizards placed great import in their subconscious travels; they were thought to either be symbolic forewarnings or prophetic portents of things yet to be.
Sporadically, as the months wore on, he would dream of his little Ginevra, in various stages of her life. The only constant in the dream was that none of the other family members would ever wander into them; only he and his daughter were present. He saw her as a precious little bundle in his arms, a precocious toddler, a mischievous child, a gangly, awkward and shy adolescent, a blossoming teenager, and a beautiful self-assured young woman. He saw in his dreams, gap-toothed smiles and scraped knees, shared conspiratorial laughter, shy tearful babblings of her first crush, a young woman’s confession of her first love and the heartbreaking realizations that she belonged to another more important man in her life, her husband.
As the weeks passed and his dreams continued, he found himself bringing home gifts for a daughter that may never be born. Of course he kept these hidden from his wife; he did not want to give her false hopes.
The first of these was a stuffed Unicorn like the one he had first seen at her bedside table in that first dream. He enchanted it to prance in the air. It had a pink ribbon tied around its neck and he had the name “Ginny” embroidered across it.
After that, he brought home a newborn shirt that had “Daddy’s Little Witch”printed across the chest.
He refurbished the cradle that had been used by Weasley men for generations in white and pink, and made a small wooden plaque with the name Ginevra carved into its polished surface. He placed it reverently on the headboard and then cast a Disillusionment charm on it to keep it secret from his wife.
Arthur was a man obsessed; he kept all his little treasures in a locked cedar chest in his shed far from the prying eyes of his wife. It was as if a seed of hope had been planted in his heart by his dreams and his wife's steadfast assurance that they would finally have the daughter they so deeply desired. He added to his treasure chest steadily through the months: a pink rattle, a pink bonnet and booties, a pink blanket with Unicorns prancing in a verdant field with white puffy clouds in a baby blue perfect sky. He knew he was in trouble when he began to collect items that he would dole out to her throughout the years. He had purchased a perpetual leather-bound diary that would never grow thicker than an inch but would add pages as the need arose, and was charmed to only open for his little Ginevra. He had even bought a charm bracelet to give her when she turned sixteen, the first charm a figure of a Unicorn to commemorate the first gift he had purchased for her.
At night he would wait for the steady breaths that would announce that Molly was asleep, then he would gently place his head on her ever-growing belly and speak to his baby girl.
“All right there, princess? Daddy can’t wait to see you. I love you, be good for your Mummy, try not to kick her so much, and she hates it when you press down on her bladder and spine. Be a good little princess for your Da, okay?”
He would then kiss his wife’s rounded belly and hold Molly in his arms, as was his custom, with a large grin plastered on his face. He would then dream his dreams of being surrounded by the family he loved so dearly and of his little red-headed Ginevra.
One day close to the end of Molly’s pregnancy, Arthur came to the horrible realization that if indeed this seventh and last child would not be a girl as he had foolishly allowed himself to believe, he would be devastated, probably more so than Molly.
The boys had even taken to talking about their little sister as if it was a forgone conclusion, and even though in the past it had brought an indulgent smile to his face, now it only struck terror in his heart.
He could handle being a father to six boys, his six little hooligans. But a precious little girl? And then another thought struck him right in the gut. Someday a boy would come along and take his princess away from him. She would experience her first crush and her first broken heart! The mere thought of it broke his heart in two. Merlin’s grey beard! She was not even born yet, but to think of tears welling in her beautiful brown eyes, set his heart pounding painfully in his chest.
Oh yes, Arthur Weasley was in deep trouble. To have such deep emotions over a child that he had yet to set eyes on was terrifying, and yet he could not seem to help himself. Arthur always prided himself to be a man ruled by logic; he was pragmatic to a point, and yet whimsical and illogical when it came to his love of family and his eccentric fascination with all things Muggle. He was patient and slow to anger, quite the opposite of his Mollywobbles whose temper would flare like a match and would burn out just as quickly. Arthur was a slow burn, but when he reached his boiling point the Weasley patriarch was a force to be reckoned with. His wife’s mouth would snap shut mid-tirade and his children would freeze in their tracks, in apprehension of this rare occurrence, awaiting the awesome display that was Arthur Weasley in a rage.
And yet here he was this patient, steadfast, logical man in fear of the baby yet to be born. He knew, in the deepest, farthest corner of his heart and mind, that he loved her, loved her so deeply and in a way that was so different from the love he had for his beloved Molly and the love he gave so generously to his boys. Yes, he loved her madly, deeply, and irrevocably. He loved her before he knew her and one day he would tell her so.
He held her for the first time in wonder and fear that he might somehow hurt this tiny bundle, this miracle that he and his Molly had created. Tears in his eyes, he looked to his wife with pride bursting in his chest at what their love had wrought. This beautiful tiny baby, so much smaller than his boys when they were born, gripped his finger and looked at her father with such intensity that it left him breathless.
They were surrounded by their boys, all of them clamoring to hold their sister, their little Ginny.
Bill was the first to hold her, blinking rapidly to stave off the tears that burned behind his eyes. It would not do to cry in front of his siblings, it would undermine his authority and he could not have that. It did not stop him, however, from cooing and making a total fool of himself in their presence, but that was completely different. He promised himself as he held her cradled in the crook of his arms that he would love and protect her until the day he died.
All Charlie was wondering was when he would be able to take her up on a broom without their Mum or Bill finding out, but then this stalwart, even-tempered, stoic boy took just one look at her and was besotted.
Percy snorted, “I hope she doesn’t stay that horrible shade of red, it will clash with her hair.” But he did not refuse when his father placed her in his arms, and he too, became lost in the intensity of his baby sister's eyes. It was love at first sight.
The twins plotted on how to turn her hair pink, and then something very rare occurred – they fought. Oh yes, the twins who finished each other’s sentences and never argued over anything since they were always in complete accord, fought over who got to hold her first.
Ronnie, being only one-year old, was only happy that he would finally be able to sit on his Mum’s lap again. He did observe her as he cuddled in his Mum’s arms and decided then and there that he would keep her. He leaned over of his own accord and without prompting, gave her a wet kiss on her bright red fuzzy head.
“Oh, Arthur,” his wife's voice was unsteady with emotion, “you finally have your Guinevere”
He looked at his wife and then his precious daughter. She was right, Arthur had his Queen Guinevere, and much like the King of legend, his Queen Guinevere would rule his heart, forevermore.