Chapter 1 : Incubator
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A/N: Inspired by my sister-in-laws constant complaining about being pregnant. There's a lot of of key slogans in here direct from her mouth. The 'it' is from me. Czechoslovakian crystal was inspired by my grandmother for giving me a Czechoslovakian crystal clock for my twenty-first birthday and to my friends for asking me 'WFT' when I got it. Although, I do kind of like my clock and definitely love my grandmother!! (p.s. My Beta is taking a break, so bare with me, Thanks.)
I hate these clothes. They don't fit. None of my clothes fit, but winter clothes? No they don't fit – worse. I couldn't get the toggles of my favourite woollen jacket to got around me and I wasn't going to magically enlarge it - blasphemy! It took a mission and a half to get something that wrapped around my enlarged stomach. I had to tuck my shirt into my elastic waisted jeans to stop the cold getting to my exposed skin under my jacket and - I look like a fat dork!
Maybe I hate the largeness of my stomach as it is the reason I hate the clothes. It's so big. Now mum says 'Gin, it's not going to get that much bigger' but that is so beside the point. It's big now and 'not much bigger' still implies more growth. More growth! And then she says 'your all baby. It's like someone just stuck it to your stomach'. Of course then all my sister in laws go on and on about the baby weight they put on and how I am so small compared to them and I cringe. When this growth leaves me it's going to leave a blabby loose stomach behind. I'm going to be Blabbly-Loose-Ginny, and that's not just talking about my stomach either. My expanded stomach has restricted more than just my clothes. I can't sleep on my front which I had always done. No, now its a twisted version of what was once maybe a normal position with pillows tucked in places for support. I can't sit in some kinds of chairs and usually always need help getting up. The weight of the bloody thing hurts my feet and swelled my ankles. Yes, one day last week I ventured out of the house with socks on in my sandals. Like I said before – Fat dork.
Perhaps it was really what was inside my stomach that I didn't like. After all that was the reason for my large stomach and thus the reason for the large clothes. A baby. It's all good in theory. Frightening in really life. Scary because I didn't know if I'd be able to look after it. What if Harry and I broke it? Mum ensures me babies are more durable then we think but I know that doesn't mean that we can be anything but way over cautious. These kinds of feelings are normal, so I am guaranteed. What I'm worried about the most though, and I mean sleepless nights kind of worried, is that what if I don't love it? What if it doesn't love me? Harry told me that was the most ridiculous thing in the world. 'Oh course he loves you. How could he not?'
But then I've never referred to it as 'he' or even 'she'. I have no 'gut feelings' on what sex it is. It's inside of me and yet, Harry is the one whom seems to have the the biggest grasp. I've said it more than once, I am just an incubator. Harry thought I was joking, I mostly wasn't. Who could blame the bloke for loving the baby so much? You marry a quidditch player and then poof, she's a fatty. Babies are more loveable then fatties. I think. No offence to the fatties of the world but I'm not liking being one much. Than Harry says 'your not fat, your pregnant' and then tells me 'I still think your beautiful' and that's about the time I say 'shut the fuck up Harry' because the balmy hormones kick in. I've heard some of my brothers muttered words like unreasonable and bitch. To which I replied 'you go shit out a watermelon and see if I'm being unreasonable.”
Anyway, words like beautiful and pretty do not compare to words like sexy or minx. So don't try tell me other wise. Then one day, maybe as a joke, I'm not sure yet, Harry called me mummy.
“What? You will be one in less than a month---”
Mummy is like, the biggest turn off ever so Harry was lucky I was too far along to to safely have sex or we definitely would have stopped having sex like – ever. Although, I honestly wouldn't have lasted forever, but there would definitely have been a dry patch that I would impose, and not the baby.
Mummy. After that, that title stuck with me. I would forever be a mum. And to become a mum I had to give up my other titles like 'quidditch player', 'sexy', 'minx' and 'petite' to become 'mummy'(well as 'blabby-loose Ginny', 'unreasonable' and 'bitch'). And what had Harry given up? Nup! None. He has his job, which he loves and gets to keep; he has his body, which I love and he gets to keep; he has his titles like 'Auror' and 'my man candy' (rarely did I actually call him that sober) and he gets to keep them too. It was a bit unfair I thought, that the female race had drawn the short straw in reproduction. Even the male orgasm was easier to induce. Harry couldn't really see the relevance of that comment - shows how much males know.
The point is, I guess, I wasn't enjoying my pregnancy. Angela had said too, that I had better enjoy it now 'because once it comes out you wont sleep for a month', so it seemed that I probably wasn't going to enjoy the post-pregnancy bit either.
My due date: January seventeenth. Hermione, in an attempt to cheer me up had Googled that date for me one day and showed me all the cool things she could find that happened on that day. These are the only two I can remember. On that day Britain retired the use of the red telephone boxes and some muggle comedian called Jim Carey had his birthday. I remember him because she said he was 'obnoxiously not funny' to which Ron replied 'he's bloody hilarious'.
On December twenty-third – T-minus twenty-five days – I was being dragged through Diagon Alley to pick up some gift we'd apparently ordered for someone. Harry had told me but I hadn't paid that much attention on account that I was fighting a jumper over my stomach and when he had tried to help me I decided I wanted a different one because I can do it myself. I was pregnant, as he liked to remind me, so that did not make me disabled, I liked to remind him. I can get dressed just fine. I wish I had some control over my snapping mouth but I just didn't. I tried but my stupid hormones didn't like my stupid jumper not fitting over my stupid fat gut and I stupidly snapped at my not so stupid husband who was trying to be helpful. I love my man candy but my stupid hormones blamed him for our infliction... and I just couldn't help it.
I never let go of his hand the whole time we walked through the crowds of Christmas shoppers because suddenly my balmy hormones liked Harry again. In fact my balmy hormones were being rather friendly at the moment. They didn't even make me snap at Teddy who had this annoying cute habit of pushing my behind to help me along. It was one thing to snap at Harry but I couldn't snap at Ted because I knew the six year old meant it only to help and not as a way of saying 'Oh my Ginny. Your butt is soo big', it also helped that today his hair was red. I liked that he did that for me sometimes. For a six year old he was pretty insightful, incredibly sweet and totally adorable.
We entered a shop, thankfully, which was a bit warmer then the out side and my shirt had seemed to have come untucked and the cool air was attacking the exposed skin. It was also really great not to be out side where all the nosey shoppers were. Did you know that the news papers knew I was pregnant before I did? Well it was an unplanned pregnancy ok? But I wasn't actually pregnant when the papers started seeing this imaginary baby bump on my stomach whenever I wore loose clothes. Oh look, loose shirt, Ginny Potter is pregnant. If they were right, then I'd have been pregnant constantly for the last eighteen months without ever having a baby. Medical mystery that one. And then they had the balls to say 'we told you so' now that I actually am pregnant.
I let Harry take care of the present retrieval because I had no idea what we were picking up or who it was for. I just wanted to cover the cool strip of skin between my pants and shirt, where my jumper just dangled over. Then these freezing cold hands touched my skin.
“Ted!” I shifted a bit under his touch. His little hands were icy. “Where are your gloves?”
He shrugged but left his hand on my stomach. It decided this was a good time to kick. This huge grin appeared on his face. That was usually everyone's reaction, but then they weren't being kicked from the inside, it probably seems like a laugh. “Harry said that if it kicks when you touch your belly it likes you. That means the baby likes me doesn't it Ginny?”
Either that or it, like I, was getting a bit tired of everyone touching me. But each to their own. And it had never kicked my hand.
“Sure it does Ted,” I said gently to him.
He took his hands off my stomach letting me tuck my shirt it. I looked at Ted for a moment. He looked – nervous?
"What's wrong Ted?” I asked him. If I wasn't so immobile I might have bent down in front of him, I wanted to, but I couldn't, and if I did I was afraid I'd get stuck there.
He looked over at Harry who was still at the counter and then back to me. “Well I...” He shook his head then. “Don't worry Ginny.”
“Common Teddy, you can tell me.”
“Well,” He shot another look at Harry. This was odd, it was like he was scared that Harry would hear and he wouldn't like it. I severally hoped this didn't turn into a 'where do babies come from' kind of conversation. “When the baby comes out I was wondering if maybe, if it was ok with you, that I could call it my brother or sister. You know, because I don't have any.”
I suddenly wished for the where do babies come from conversation. I could bull shit my way through that.
“It's ok. You don't have to. I just...”
Fuck immobility. I don't know how I got there but had a sudden urge to hug him so I did. I tell you, balmy hormones had me on my knees in the middle of a shop. “Of course you can.” I said into his red hair.
His little arms didn't reach around me like they once had and for the first time in a long time that didn't bother me.
“I promise I'll be really nice to them.” He mumbled into my jumper.
Poor Teddy, he had no parents and he had no chance of brothers and sisters. A Grandmother, sure, an over protective God Father, definitely, but that couldn't be the same. Could it?
“Actually Teddy,” I said, having thought of the best idea ever, if I do say so myself, “I don't want you to ask me. I'm asking you. Can you look after what ever is in my belly? Love it and be an over bearing big brother? You don't even have to be nice. My big brothers never were. Is that ok? Can you do that for me, please?”
I think he meant yes when he squeezed the crap out of me. I don't do well with squeezing these days but I enjoyed it none the less. I really did love Teddy Lupin – especially with red hair.
That night I was sitting on the sofa with my almost empty dinner plate balancing on my stomach. I was getting quite good at balancing things on my stomach. Please note, peas are not a good food to test out. My swollen feet were resting in Harry's lap because he'd placed his plate on the coffee table. We'd taken to eating in the living room because I liked the fire. More than I normally would have, and again I blame the balmy hormones. Somehow.
“Are you going to tell me about what happened with Ted today at Diagon Ally?” It was nonchalant but I didn't buy any of that from him. His acting skills needed fine tuning.
I shrugged. “Eh,” was all I said picking a lone bean off my plate and eating it.
I think I recreated the fifteen year old Harry that liked to brood. His shoulders hunched a bit. It was like a Harry's specialised version of pouting. Way to adorable to resist.
“He asked me if when it's born,” Harry shot a look at me. I wasn't allowed to call it an 'it' any more. “O-kay. When the baby is born, can he call it his brother or sister.”
Harry's eyes narrowed on me. “And you said?”
“Oh give me some credit. Of course I said no.”
Harry's jaw dropped. Terrible tasted joke I know.
“Shut up Harry. I was joking!” I talked over him before he barely started chastising me. “Actually, I asked him if he could be a good big brother and look after it.. The baby.”
Silence came over us. I didn't want to be the first to talk. Harry really needed to say something. It wasn't like this was a big moment in our lives. I'd always assumed Harry and Ted were a packaged deal since the first day I saw Ted and Harry together – inseparable. It wasn't hard to imagine that he'd grow up probably idolising Harry like Harry had idolised Sirius. It was like an unspoken agreement.
“Good.” was all he said.
“Just good?” I asked, a little miffed by his simple and vague answer.
“Yeh, it's good.” He shrugged. This wasn't a shrugging kind of subject. Even if I shrugged not even five minutes ago.
“Care to elaborate on that?”
He idly ran his finger over my toes. “Well, I guess I hope that he'd want to be, you know, apart of this.” his other hand gestured at the gap between us. Obviously this meant us. “I'm glad that he wants to be part of it's life. That it's working out like that. I was worried that he'd feel, abandoned or something. I always wanted a family. Maybe a sibling or something. I don't know. But a family. That's why I loved the Burrow so much.”
I eyed him for a second, ignoring his dig at me by calling it an it. “So you want us to be Ted's version of the Burrow?”
“I am not having that many kids Harry.”
Harry laughed at me. “Gosh no.”
I sighed in relief. Seven was, perhaps, six to many.
“Although, if you had six, we could include Ted then we'd have seven. You know what we can do with seven, Ginny?”
“I'd murder my husband for a start.”
He laughed at me again. “No, we could have a whole quidditch team of Potters - one Lupin but that's a technicality.”
I knew he was joking but he still had a wistful look in his eye. I really would probably try to smother him in his sleep if I had to have that many children. Imagine the chaos. Imagine all of them little Harry's with messy black hair with brooms buzzing around and brooding. Then it hit me and I realised that maybe I was slower mentally than Ron.
“For sitting and whining about being fat. Complaining that my ankles look like milk bottles. For being moody and an unreasonable bitch. I just forget sometimes...”
Harry's eye brow rose. He was confused. Id spent so long being hostile and selfish that I guess that I was confusing him.
“Forget what a crappy childhood you had. And here I am complaining about a being hugely fat or quitting quidditch. I had everything you wanted growing and I was spoilt with love and you...”
"Shhh.” He placed his finger on my lips. “Gin none of that was or is your fault.”
“You just wanted a family.” I took a deep breath. “And quidditch is just a game.”
His eyebrow rose so high. There was once, when I found out I was pregnant that Harry had said them very words to me, quidditch is just a game, and I had picked up the nearest thing, which happened to be a crystal vase we got as a wedding present, and threw it across the room and straight for his head. He only just ducked in time because he obviously didn't think I'd actually chuck the Czechoslovakian crystal vase at him.
“I mean it's the very least I could do, isn't it? To have a baby.”
He looked at me then with an unreadable expression. Like deep thought crossed with something else. Maybe. I thought for a moment he was kind of angry, for what reason he'd be angry I couldn't phantom. He shifted on the sofa, took my plate and tossed it on the coffee table with a clank. I frowned, maybe it wasn't Czechoslovakian crystal, but I still liked my plates. He squeezed into the almost non existent gap between me and the back of the sofa because his man-candy body still was able to squeeze.
“Its also the most you could do Ginny.”
He ran the back of his knuckles over my cheek, because he knows how I like it when he does it. And when he kissed me I kissed him back. Properly, unlike I had in many months because for the first time I didn't really think my stomach's new shape offended me or that it was only there to make me miserable. When the kiss broke I looked down at my stomach. My huge stomach. My incubator. Harry's baby. His family. Hopefully Teddy's family. And that was the most I could give either of them.
I hadn't even realised that I had my hand on my stomach when I felt it. Harry's hand wasn't anywhere near my stomach. A small kick directly under my hand. I think perhaps he wanted me to be nicer to Harry. Maybe. Maybe not. But that kick made my heart stop and go faster all at once. It made me feel a little warmer inside. A little bit lighter on the out side. And I wasn't an incubator. I was going to be a mum and not an oven.
“Harry, it kicked me. He likes me.”
My baby likes me.
…I still might call it and it for while though.
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