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Chapter 13 : Happy Birthday, Harry!
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WARNING: Some of the scenes and descriptions below may disturb some people. If they do, I don't mind, just don't get mad at me- it is my story, after all. It was rated 15+ for multiple reasons.
Harry and Ginny went to bed early. Harry wanted to catch up on all the sleep he had been missing, and Ginny was always tired. Ginny fell asleep in Harry’s arms once again. A sort of tension had left her. She was glad that everything had been resolved. It relaxed her. She didn’t have to be worried. She had notified her Healer about her plans, and Harry had told her mother, who wasn’t too upset that her baby girl wasn’t going to have her first child in the Weasley home.
Ginny was still in the early stages of dozing off when she felt Harry undressing her and redressing her in pajamas. He doesn’t forget a thing. Her pajamas were so soft, the bed was so warm... she slipped off into dreams filled with warmth and sun and blankets and hot chocolate.
She awoke abruptly at around one in the morning. She couldn’t figure out what had woken her. She didn’t need to pee. She looked over at Harry. It was his birthday.
“Happy birthday, Harry,” she whispered. She tried to get back to sleep, but was jerked out of her rest again by a sharp pain. Her breathing stopped. It couldn’t be. Not now. Not when Harry’s just gotten home. Oh, please not now, it’s not supposed to happen until later, and I was even late, that’s what Mum said-
“Oof.” She accidentally let forth a small sound. Harry stirred. Oh, please, don’t let him wake up now, wait a few hours, I need to rest. Ginny lay still in bed. Occasionally her stomach would cramp, but it wasn’t predictable. Finally, four hours later, she couldn’t get back to sleep.
“Harry,” said Ginny. She shook him and said again, more urgently, “Harry.” He awoke quickly, with the reflexes of a trained soldier. He touched her hand.
“Are you okay?” Harry asked, concerned. Ginny couldn’t answer. She just grabbed his hand and squeezed, hard, with her face squinched up. His insides went cold, as if they had just been doused with cold water. “Is it?” Ginny nodded. “Merlin’s beard- we have t-to call th-the- yeah.” He jumped out of the bed as soon as Ginny let go of his hand. He ran to the fire and threw some Floo powder in. He stuck his head in. Might as well wake Ginny’s mother first.
“The Burrow!” His head swirled on his shoulders. Suddenly, he found himself in the Burrow’s kitchen. No one was there. He hadn’t foreseen this. He yelled as loudly as he could. A minute later, someone came running down the stairs. It was Mr. Weasley. He looked down toward the fire and saw Harry’s head.
“Oh, dear. It’s five in the morning, Harry. Why on earth- Merlin’s beard! Is Ginny-” His exclamation was cut short by Harry’s nod. “Molly and I will Apparate there as fast as we can. Unlock your door, okay? I’ll tell everyone in the family.” Harry nodded agreement, grateful for his father-in-law’s calmness. He pulled his head back up. He could hear Ginny in the bathroom. Quickly, he threw more powder into the flames.
“Healer Lamorus!” His head spun dizzyingly. He closed his eyes to block out the rooms going past his eyes. When his head slowed, he found himself in another dark room. He yelled again. Healer Lamorus came immediately from around the corner, tucking her bathrobe around her. She saw Harry’s head in her fireplace.
“I’ll be there in about five minutes.” She turned around and left the room. Harry hadn’t had to say anything. But then, Healer Lamorus had probably done this hundreds of times before. She knew what to do.
Arthur Weasley shook his wife awake.
“What is it, Arthur?”
“Molly, we need to go over to Ginny and Harry’s house. Right now.” Mrs. Weasley’s eyes flew open. She gasped. After that, she was a blur. When the rushing about had stopped, she was standing by the fireplace downstairs. In the time it had taken Arthur to get back downstairs, she had gotten dressed and packed a bag. Her wand was in her hand.
“Are we Flooing or Apparating?”
“Apparating. Harry will still be using the fireplace. You go there. I need to get everyone else.”
“Yes, of course, Arthur.” They both walked outside, turned, and were gone.
Mr. Weasley appeared inside Hermione and Ron’s flat. He noticed a sleeping form on the couch. He smiled to himself. Probably Ron, he thought. He reached out and shook his shoulder. Ron woke up, although somewhat groggily.
“Wha- Hermione, is that you? It’s bloody early. Why aren’t you asleep?”
“Ronald, it’s me. Your father,” Arthur clarified.
“What are you doing here, Dad?”
“Ron, Ginny’s gone into labor.” Ron’s face was blank for a moment. It suddenly changed.
“Are you for bloody serious?”
“I am serious, Ron. What else would I be doing up at five in the morning?” Arthur said wryly- Ron had gotten his sleeping habits from him.
“Wow... Ginny! Should I wake Hermione?”
“It’s your call, Ron. Just be there by seven, if you could.”
“We’ll probably be there sooner. Much sooner. See you!”
Mr. Weasley turned once more, and disappeared. He had the rest of the family to tell, after all.
The whole family was grouped in the drawing room by nine o’clock- with the exception of Mrs. Weasley, Hermione, and Harry. Ron was holding Percy in a sling around his neck. Percy was asleep. Eirik was on his stomach, trying to get across the room, with Kirsten watching his every move. Billy was sitting down, reading a children’s book. Bill was laying alongside him, reading the words. Everyone else was sitting on various couches and chairs. They were talking animatedly about anything and everything. The bell rang. Fred ran down the stairs to open the door. A moment later, he returned, with Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks Lupin, and Andromeda Hestia Lupin.
“Hello, Remus! Tonks! How’s things?”
“They’re good. Andromeda had a small accident this morning, which is why we’re late.” Remus sat down next to Arthur Weasley. Tonks, who still went by her maiden-name only, set Andromeda down, who promptly ran over to look at some toys that had been piled haphazardly in the corner, courtesy of Fred and George. Tonks went and sat down by Remus, weaving her fingers into his.
“So, what’s been going on while I’ve been gone?” asked Tonks.
“Nothing, and I honestly mean that. We haven’t even seen Ginny, and none of us has seen hair nor hide of Harry, Mum, or Hermione since seven-thirty,” answered Ron. As if to refute his words, Harry suddenly walked into the room, drenched in sweat. A commotion broke out. Harry raised his hand to stop them.
“Nothing’s happened so far, and I really mean that. Mum and the Healer say it’ll take a while, and I’ve been kicked out. Special orders of Ginny.” Harry sat down dejectedly.
“Hey, mate, don’t take it personally. Kirsten kicked me out, too, and Bill wasn’t allowed in nearly the whole time. The only one of us Weasley men who has been there the whole time was Ron, and that only lasted what, three hours? Ginny’s been at this for at least five hours. Bound to happen. Don’t worry. You’ll be let in soon enough. Just wait it out,” said Charlie reassuringly.
“Just don’t start pacing, mate,” said George. “That would be dead annoying.”
“And anyways, even I was out for a minute. Don’t you remember? She had cursed me, and I couldn’t do the counter-jinx,” added Ron. Harry smiled slightly at this memory, while Fred and George choked back laughter.
“Andromeda! Be soft!” Everyone’s heads turned as they watched Tonks pick Andromeda up, preventing her from hitting Billy with a toy broomstick. Fred and George grinned. And began singing.
“Ah, George, it does remind one of another couple we know.”
“Who always bicker and fight.”
“Why might that be so?”
“It was love at first sight!”
“Just who might that be?”
“Ron and Hermione!” They sang this last line together. Everyone laughed, even Harry.
“So, Andromeda Weasley. I don’t mind that at all,” commented Remus. “Well, William Arthur Weasley the Second, you have my consent. Just wait about seventeen years.” More laughter followed this. Some butterbeer was brought out and passed around. Harry drank a bit, which cheered him up. He joined in the conversation.
About two hours later, Hermione ran into the room. “Harry, come upstairs now.” Harry jumped up from the couch and ran up the stairs, neck-in-neck with Hermione. They opened the door tentatively.
“Where is that BLOODY husband of mine?” screamed Ginny, her face turning a violent shade of purple. Harry sprinted over to her side. She was sitting on the side of the bed, shining with sweat, breathing heavily. Mrs. Weasley had her wand out, obviously on curse patrol.
“Oh, good, you’re here!” Mrs. Weasley set her wand down, while Hermione drew hers. Mrs Weasley ran to Ginny.
“No, mum,” she grunted, “I want you... to be the curse-breaker... you know my curses... safer...” Mrs. Weasley frowned for a moment, and then a smile broke out on her face.
“Of course, dear!” She drew her wand again, Hermione taking her place. The Healer set down the towels she had just finished drying with her wand.
“Okay, Ginny, I need to check you again. Just squeeze Harry’s hand now... good. There. I think you’ll be ready to push in a minute here. Harry, Hermione, brace yourselves.” Another contraction. Another. Another. Harry’s arm was numb, the fingers turning purple, heading on towards blue. He could see that Hermione was struggling to keep from crying out. Mrs. Weasley’s wand arm was a blur, flying through the air, not only deflecting, but absorbing various curses. Harry was behind Ginny, holding her up as she squatted, her face contorted in effort. Healer Lamorus suddenly called to Harry.
“Come around here. You want to catch the baby, don’t you? I’ll take your place.” Healer Lamorus miraculously extricated Harry’s hand, slipping her own into place. Harry knelt down. He could see the hair on the baby’s head... his baby. Ginny grunted again, and the baby slipped forward. Harry could see the back of his baby’s head. He couldn’t stop smiling. Ginny grunted again. There was the neck. Harry poised his hands, ready. Now the shoulders- and then the baby slid all the way down, and into her father’s waiting arms. Ginny cried out and sat back on the bed. She held out her arms.
“Oh, baby. Oh, sweetheart, it’s okay, Mummy’s got you, you’re safe, you’re out, oh, honey!” Ginny was rocking back and forth, crying. Harry got up next to her. There was his baby. Her baby. Their baby. She was crying. Everyone was crying. Hermione and Mrs. Weasley were hugging each other. Healer Lamorus was smiling as she sat down in relief. But Harry and Ginny didn’t notice any of this. After ten minutes, Healer Lamorus directed her wand in various places around the room. The only quiet ones, Harry and Ginny were like a little island, surrounded by a constant hubbub of noise. Soon, the baby began to fuss again. Ginny began to nurse her. Mrs. Weasley came over and helped her. After what seemed like a moment, the baby fell into a deep sleep. Ginny rested her head on Harry’s chest.
“Happy birthday, Harry.”
Mrs. Weasley and Hermione tiptoed out of the room after getting a quick peek at the new member of the Weasley clan. They heard Harry mutter something, but didn’t quite catch it. Healer Lamorus had Flooed out, telling them to tell the Potters that she would be back in a few hours. They went down into the living room. They could hear a lively jabber going on inside. They looked at each other, and stepped in.
Immediately, the conversation die. The only noise was Andromeda running around with a toy broomstick in her hand, making whooshing sounds.
“So...” said Mr. Weasley.
“It’s over,” said Mrs. Weasley and Hermione. Mr. Weasley and Remus closed their eyes. Everyone else cheered.
“But we need to be quiet. They’re asleep,” said Mrs. Weasley.
“We’ve already had a good look, though,” added Hermione. “She’s got red hair.” She walked over and sat down by Ron, who handed her Percy, who had woken up amidst the cheering, adding his loud cry to the din. Hermione began to nurse him.
“Have they told anyone the name?” asked Bill.
“No, not yet,” answered Hermione. The conversation started up again, with everyone discussing the possible names. Hermione felt Ron’s hand take hold of hers. She gave a little squeeze. She noticed that she, Ron, and Remus were to only ones not talking. Her eyes met Remus’s, and she knew that he, like Ron and herself, knew what the baby’s name was going to be, without needing to be told.
Ginny and Harry woke up half an hour later. Mrs. Weasley was sitting in a chair nearby, watching them. Her eyes were filled with tears.
“Hello, Mum,” said Ginny groggily. “Where’s everyone?”
“They’re all downstairs. The Healer already left. She’ll be back soon. I’m just up here to keep an eye on both of you. Do you need anything, dear?” asked Mrs. Weasley.
“Some water might be nice. I’m very thirsty all of a sudden. And could you come help me latch this baby on?”
“Of course, dear.” Mrs. Weasley picked up a cup and waved her wand at it. It filled itself with water. She brought it over to Ginny, who drank the whole thing in a minute.
“Thanks, Mum. Could you help me with this?”
“Here you go- like this. Perfect. Remember- her stomach is just the size of a small Gobstone. She doesn’t need much at one time. But she’ll need to nurse quite frequently. She’ll be a chunky little baby in no time at all! I remember you- you had such fat cheeks! And your arms and legs were so chubby, it looked like someone had tied a string around them wherever there was a wrinkle!” Mrs. Weasley smiled reminiscently. Harry had remained silent through this entire exchange. He was just enjoying looking at his wife, his daughter. Her hair really was quite red. But she had little hairs all over her face and arms- mostly invisible, but still there. Harry wondered if this was normal. He supposed it was, or else Mrs. Weasley would have pointed it out to him. Ginny didn’t seem concerned.
The little baby slowed her nursing. She stopped and pulled away from her mother. She made a few small grumbles and opened her eyes, quickly shutting them again, but not before Harry and Ginny had gotten a close look at them They were blue- a very deep royal blue, almost black. Not green. Or were all babies’ eyes blue? He really should have read some of the books Ginny had, instead of polishing his broomstick the day before.
“Ginny? Harry? When would you like the others to come in?” asked Mrs. Weasley.
“Um... I dunno... Ginny?”
“Now is fine by me. I don’t mind at all. Just hand me a blanket, will you? I need something to cover up.”
“Here you go, Ginnykins.”
“Mum- please don’t use that nickname. Save it for your grandchildren now.” Mrs. Weasley smiled and left the room. Ginny and Harry heard her walking down the stair. The noise stopped. Then they heard the thundering of many pairs of feet outside their door. They heard Mrs. Weasley talking.
“Okay, Ron, Hermione, and Remus first- do you want to go in, Tonks?”
“No, I’m fine.”
“Okay, if that’s all-” Mrs. Weasley opened the door gently. She poked her head around it. Harry nodded. Mrs. Weasley walked into the room. She was followed by Hermione, Ron and Remus. Someone else must have been holding Percy. The four gathered around the bed- Mrs. Weasley and Hermione close to Ginny, and Ron and Remus by Harry.
“Oh, Ginny, she’s so precious!”
“Hermione, you already saw her.”
“I know, but she’ll be precious each time!” Hermione was grinning. Mrs. Weasley’s eyes were sparkling with tears once again. Ron and Remus were a little less expressive.
“Well done, mate. She’s cute.”
“You remind me so much of James right now,” said Remus. His eyes were also filled with tears of long-lost memories. “Except, of course, the baby they were holding had jet black hair. Everywhere! Well, not really. Just a fine dusting, like this little one.”
“And he had green eyes.” added Harry. Remus heard the unasked question.
“Actually, no. He had dark, dark blue eyes. Almost black, they were. Like night. They turned green when he was about a month old. You’ve probably heard this, but his eyes were just like his mother’s eyes.” Harry nodded.
“Percy had blue eyes,” Ron offered. “But they’re like a mix of brown and blue right now. It’s right strange to look at.” Hermione looked up from the baby.
“It is perfectly normal, Ron.”
“Right, Hermione. Percy is perfectly normal.”
“Actually,” put in Remus, “I think it’s symbolic. His parents have finally gotten along. So have his genes. It’s a compromise.” Harry chuckled. That’s how it is, he thought to himself.
“So what are you naming her?” asked Hermione.
“Isn’t it obvious?” replied Harry. “Remus, look at her hair.”
“It’s red. Is her name...?”
“Yes. Her name is Lily. Lily Ginevra Potter,” said Ginny. “It’s perfect. Harry’s mother and her mother. And her initials don’t make anything bad, either. The last thing she’ll need will be more teasing.”
“Like poor Brian Morgan,” said Ron reminiscently. “Do you remember him? He was a first year when we were fifth. Ravenclaw. Had to pull a gang of Hufflepuff third years off of him. Poor kid.”
“Lily Ginevra. That has a perfect ring to it,” said Mrs. Weasley. “Can we tell the others?”
“Sure. Actually, you can invite them in right now,” said Harry. Mrs. Weasley walked out of the door. The rest of them heard chatter outside.
“Oh, no, not me, Molly. I’ve got a cold right now. No germs for the baby!” said George.
“I’ll watch Bill and Andromeda. Germ factories, they are,” added Tonks. “Besides, I’m not feeling so well myself. I’ll stay.”
“So will I,” they heard Kirsten saying. “Eirik is fussy. I don’t want to make any noise.”
“And Percy has a cold-” added Mrs. Weasley, fretting.
“I’ll hold him,” said George.
“Okay! Everyone else- we can go in and meet little Miss Lily Ginevra Potter.” The rest of the family filed in: Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Weasley, Bill, Fleur, Charlie, and Fred (with a bright orange arm). They grouped around the foot of the bed. Fred looked woefully alone without his twin beside him.
Everyone was looking at Ginny, and their new niece. Harry felt a strange sense of comfort. It was not him they were staring at. It was nice. The little baby snuffled in her sleep. Everyone sighed at the same time. Creepy.
“So how are you doing, Ginny?” asked Bill.
“Oh, I’m doing great. As great as you can be after being in labor for over ten hours.” She smiled slightly. Fleur and Hermione smiled appreciatively. Their own labors had not been so long ago.
“What color are the baby’s eyes?” put in Fred.
“They’re dark blue. Very dark blue.” said Harry.
“And Lily is a girl, right?” asked Fred. “For all we know, you could have tricked us all along and be saddling our poor nephew with a girl’s name.”
“Don’t worry. She’s definitely a girl.”
“But of course. Eet eez time we had a girl in ze family,” added Fleur. “Besides Andromeda, of course. You are family, you know.” She directed that last bit at Remus. He smiled and gripped Harry’s shoulder tightly. Harry could feel his hand trembling a little. He knew how much Fleur’s casual comment meant to Remus. Remus’ parents had died a while ago, and he had been rejected by wizarding society.
“Well, if he’s family, then I guess his daughter can’t date my son!” added Bill laughingly.
“Somehow, I don’t think that’ll be a problem,” said Harry. “Weasleys have a tendency to love anyone.”
“True.” Everyone fell silent for a few minutes, watching the little family. Watching Lily breathe. Watching Ginny close her eyes in exhaustion, while Harry never seemed to blink, as if he was afraid that if he closed his eyes, this would all be gone.
What the people watching didn’t know was that this was what had haunted him since he was sixteen. But now- now he could fully appreciate this. Now, they were safe.
A/N: So, did you like it? I know this was really long, but with the time for validation and everything, I don't want to waste anything- this was originally two separate chapters, but they all happen on the same day. There's only a few chapters left now (I have it all planned out, though of course, that is subject to change). Please review, because it's nice to know what people think of my writing- and if you didn't like it, it is your reviews that I would very much like to see. How else can I improve?
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