Chapter 15 : Up on the Mountain
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It was very early in the morning. Too early even for Mia, who usually didn’t have a problem with being awake before seven. But that was hers and Sirius’s first day of Christmas vacations and she wanted to use it to catch up some sleep. Unfortunately, her body wasn’t exactly agreeing with her and had brought her to the cold floor of the bathroom, where she sat right next to the toilet. Of all the times she could have gotten sick.
And being sick wasn’t the worse. The worse was that, as a trainee healer, Mia knew a large paraphernalia or reasons for her to be throwing up at six in the morning, being the most likely pregnancy.
I can’t be, can I? She asked herself. She and Sirius were always so careful… It might have been the leftover roast she had eaten last night – it didn’t taste so well, after all. But she was too scared to even make the simple spell that would tell her if she was expecting or not.
One would think Lily and James would beat them with the whole pregnancy thing – they had gotten married about five months before, with Mia and Sirius as their respective Maid of Honour and Best Man, in a simple ceremony at Potter manor that had brought Judy Potter to tears. Lily and James hadn’t wanted to wait – the war was worsening with Death Eater attacks covering the Daily Prophet’s headlines every other week and people, mostly muggle-borns and their families, disappearing, which made Lily a possible target. Sirius and Mia had decided to wait as they were not apparent targets to any of them and they were happy with living the way they were.
Mia sighed, getting up from the floor. She flushed the toilet and walked back to her the room after she brushing her teeth and taking a potion to reduce the sickness. There, Sirius slept soundly on the bed, completely oblivious to what was going on. Mia laid her head on his chest and he unconsciously wrapped one arm around her – she would never get tired of staying like that.
Would he be happy if she was, indeed, pregnant? They were just nineteen. Two years. They still had two years of hard training ahead for their future jobs. Two years before they could will themselves to have the life of normal people, which would involve decent hours of work and time to spend with family and friends. Would he give her one of him smiles and tell her none of that mattered? She drifted to sleep hoping he would.
The sun was high when she finally woke up with the feeling to a kiss being planted on her lips. “Time to wake up,” she heard Sirius whisper to her ear. “You need to start packing.”
She sighed and opened one eye to see him sitting on the edge of her bed. It took her a few seconds to register what he had said. Packing? “What do you mean by ‘start packing’?” she asked him in a sleepy voice.
“I mean ‘start packing, we’re leaving’,” he specified. “Come on, get your lazy arse out of bed, or you will miss your Christmas present.”
“Christmas is two days from today,” she moaned. “We have time.”
Sirius shook his head. “It’s an early present,” he told her with a smile. “Do you have any idea how much I had to work to plan this?”
Mia sighed and started to move, shifting to a sitting position. “Fine. What am I supposed to pack?”
“Snow clothes,” he stated as she began to get up and walking to the bathroom.
“I’d better like that surprise,” she warned him before closing the door behind her.
He smiled to himself. Oh, you will, he thought.
He hadn’t been kidding about the snow. About ten minutes earlier, Sirius had taken her to Lily and James’s place saying that the surprise had been planned by him and James, who seemed to be in a remarkable good mood, to surprise her and Lily. And now here they were landing on the snow covered ground of what seemed to be a mountain. A few yards away, there was a spacious wooden chalet whose roofs were also covered with snow.
“Where are we? The Alps?” Mia asked.
“More specifically the French Alps,” a very familiar voice said behind them. Mia and Lily turned to see Elizabeth Harper standing right behind them with a huge smile on her face. “Surprise.”
“Elizabeth! What are you doing here?!” Lily asked in disbelief.
“Apparently I’m your Christmas gift,” the blonde girl told them. “Well, along with the four-day-long snow vacations in a muggle charm-hotel with all included.”
Mia looked up at Sirius with a smile. All she had really been craving for lately was a few days away from the city and that would, hopefully, make her stop worrying about… that. “You’re full of surprises, aren’t you?”
“I told you you’d like it,” he said.
She kissed his cheek and turned to Elizabeth, taking a few steps ahead before enveloping her in a hug. “It’s great to see you,” Mia told her when she pulled away.
“Yeah,” Lily added, now taking her turn in hugging her friend. “We haven’t laid eyes on you since my wedding!”
“Not by my choice. Healer training doesn’t leave me a lot of free time to travel,” she replied. “Weren’t Remus and Peter coming too?”
James shook his head. “It’s full moon tomorrow. Wormtail offered to stay with Moony.”
“Pete actually seemed quite relieved to find an excuse to stay,” Sirius added. “I think he might have a date while we are here or something. Can’t really blame him for wanting to stay – you know how rarely he gets one of those.”
“Wait, Remus will have to spend Christmas night… like that?” Elizabeth asked in horror. “That’s terrible.”
Sirius nodded. “We were going to cancel the plans when we found out but Moony insisted we came.”
“Good old self-sacrificing Remus,” Mia mumbled. “Will he ever change?
“I doubt it,” her boyfriend replied.
James coughed and approached Lily, wrapping a protective arm around her. “Guys, I know it is great staying out here talking and all but I’d like to take my wife to the hotel before she freezes.”
Lily elbowed him on the ribs. “Don’t you go all ‘caveman’ overprotective on me, James Potter,” she said.
“I’m not going ‘caveman overprotective’ on you. What does that even mean?” he protested.
“Hey, hey, no fighting,” Elizabeth told them before turning to James. “How about I take Lily and Mia to my room so we can talk a bit while you and Sirius go take care of the check-in and go break a few bones skiing?”
Sirius raised an eyebrow. “Are you insinuating we can’t ski, Harper?”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes while Mia patted her boyfriend’s arm. “Just try to keep yourself in one piece because I’d rather not do anything related to healing during this trip,” she told him before the three women left.
Shaking his head, Sirius turned to his best friend. “Just look at the faith they have in us.”
James shrugged. “Women.”
The time they spent talking to Elizabeth reminded Lily and Mia of how they missed their time in Hogwarts. It was hard to believe more than one year had passed since they had graduated. Now, one them was married, other lived in a different country and the other was… possibly pregnant. Mia groaned internally at how every single thought she had seemed to remind her of that fact.
“Sometimes it seems just like I never left,” Elizabeth was saying. “Just the other day Barbara Lasher showed up at the hospital.”
“Lasher?” Mia inquired. “Merlin you have to be the unluckiest person in the world to run into her in another country. What was she doing there, anyway?”
Elizabeth smirked. “That’s the most unbelievable part of it,” she told them. “She was there with her husband. He had a minor heart attack during their honeymoon and, let me tell you, I thought at first that he was her grandfather or something. The guy looked pretty loaded. His name was Brian or Byron… well, his last name was Vane.”
“The little gold-digger,” Lily murmured.
“Yeah and just a week ago it was Ludo who showed up in the hospital with a broken leg,” Elizabeth told them.
“Ludo Bagman?” Mia inquired. “Your ex?”
“Yeah,” the blonde said. “He’s the new beater to the Wimbourne Wasps and they came here to France in order to play against the Quiberon Quafflepunchers. We ended up spending a few time together after I… Mia, are you okay?”
She shook her head no. Just a couple of seconds before a wave of nausea had hit her all of a sudden. “I need to use the bathroom,” Mia managed to say before speeding to the small division, closing the door behind her.
Lily and Elizabeth stared at each other for a moment before running after their friend. Elizabeth was the first to knock the door. “Is everything alright?”
“Yeah, just great,” her answer came from the inside.
“Do you want us to get Sirius for you?” Lily inquired.
“No! Just give me a minute,” Mia told them.
The two friends looked at each other again. “Is there something wrong with her?” Elizabeth asked in a whisper.
Lily shrugged. “No idea,” she whispered back.
The bathroom’s door opened a few minutes later and Mia came out, looking awfully pale. She didn’t utter a word to Lily or Elizabeth as she walked to the sofa where they had been sitting before.
“Mia, what was that?” Elizabeth asked her.
“Nothing,” she replied, taking a deep breath as she covered her face with her hands. Damn it, damn it, damn it, Mia thought. She felt so damn helpless!
“‘Nothing’ wouldn’t make you be sick like that,” the blonde countered. “Are… are you pregnant?”
Mia removed her hands from her face. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “I don’t remember us ever forgetting to cast the spell but I just don’t know.”
“You don’t… Mia! You’re a healer! You know it just takes one potion in order to find out if you are pregnant or not,” Elizabeth told her. “Why didn’t you take it?”
“Maybe she doesn’t want to find out,” Lily stepped in, taking a seat by her friend’s side. “You didn’t take the potion because you were afraid of what you would find out, didn’t you?”
She nodded. “I want kids,” Mia said. “I really do but I’m not sure if I am ready to start having them right now. I don’t even know if Sirius is ready. This is just so… confusing.”
“I know it is,” the redhead said. “But you need to know. The longer you take, the more confused you’ll get.” She gave her a small smile. “And, if it helps, James took it pretty well when I told him.”
Mia’s mouth opened and closed several times after she heard that. “Wait, what? Are you…?”
Lily nodded, her smile widening. “James and I were going to announce it tonight but I guess it works better now. Judy and Christopher looked so excited about becoming grandparents when we told them last night.”
“Wow,” Elizabeth mumbled, pulling a chair from a nearby table and sitting on it. “Our Lily is having a baby.”
“It still sounds sort of unreal to me,” she told them. “I know what you’re feeling, Mia. Just take the test and everything will be a lot clearer.”
“Right, and I assume one of you miraculously has the potion in the middle of your luggage,” she said sarcastically.
“I can apparate in the nearest wizarding village and get it for you,” Elizabeth offered. “Do you want me to?”
She sighed. “You won’t give up until you make me take the potion, will you?”
“Most definitely not,” the blonde replied.
Mia was silent for a moment. It wasn’t like not knowing would make her less pregnant if that was the case, after all. “Alright then,” she gave in, turning to Lily. “At least I won’t be the only one of us who’s knocked up if it comes down positive.”
The little bottle filled with silvery liquid rested on the table right in front of her. Just looking at it made her think – maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if she was actually having a kid. It was funny how she had started to feel better right after Lily had told her about the baby. She and Sirius would manage to figure out how to raise a kid and Lulu would probably be around to help all the time.
“Just take it,” Lily said. “The anticipation is the worse part of it.”
Mia took a deep breath before reaching for the little bottle and opening it. She took a few seconds just to stare at it before taking a sip and immediately made a disgusted face. “Ugh, this is horrible!”
“Horrible how?” Elizabeth asked in expectation. “Too bitter or too sweet?”
“Too bitter,” she replied, still making a face.
“Well, no pregnancy for you, then,” Elizabeth stated.
There was a moment of silence after that was said until Mia got up from the chair. “Er… I think I’m going downstairs and find something to eat. This taste in my mouth is killing me,” Mia lied, trying to excuse herself to leave the room.
“Yeah, sure,” Lily said as her friend started to leave.
Mia made her way out of the room quickly, taking a deep breath when she reached the hallway. She didn’t really know if she should feel relieved or disappointed. In one hand, she and Sirius wouldn’t have to pull all sorts of tricks in order to be able to escape work and spend a decent amount of time with their kid; in the other hand, it felt like a little part of her heart, the one that had grown to love the baby that had never been there, was empty now. She wondered what would have happened if the potion had been sweet instead of bitter.
She was so distracted that she didn’t even notice she wasn’t the only person in the hallway until she crashed into someone.
“Er…sorry,” she mumbled before looking up and noticing that she had actually crashed into Sirius.
“Mia? What’s wrong?” he asked worriedly. “You look upset.”
“I…hum… I need to talk to you,” she said quickly.
He nodded, putting one arm around her shoulders. “Come on, let’s go to our room,” he told her softly as he walked her there.
The room was the one right in front of Elizabeth’s and, just like hers, its walls were made of wood and the whole decoration was in tones of brown. Mia walked to the bed and sat on top of the covers with her legs crossed. Sirius settled himself by her side and waited for her to start talking.
“I’ve just taken a pregnancy testing potion,” she confessed.
“Wh… what?” he asked, looking at her in disbelief. “You’re…”
Mia shook her head. “No. False alarm. It’s probably just a stomach bug.”
“Oh,” Sirius mumbled. “Why didn’t you say something earlier? I’d have been there with you.”
“I wanted to make sure before I told you anything,” she murmured with a sigh. “Now I can’t stop wondering what would happen if it wasn’t a false alarm.”
“We’d manage,” he assured her.
He nodded, wrapping one arm around her. “I know. We would have freaked out a bit in the beginning but we would eventually realize that we have enough bad examples to teach us how to raise a kid decently. Still, I’d rather that happened after I’m done with the training.”
“Yeah, me too,” she agreed.
“But if, by some reason, they come earlier, I’ll love our kids just the same,” Sirius assured her.
Mia leaned her face against his shoulder. “That is exactly what I needed to hear.”
The rest of their small vacations went smoothly. Christmas night had been spent with the five of them talking and laughing in front of the fire while several muggles watched some TV broadcast. In the end, those four days seemed to have passed in four-hours and sooner than any of them expected, they were saying their goodbyes to Elizabeth, and taking their portkey back to London.
“Home sweet home,” Lily murmured after she landed on hers and James’s living room.
“We can always go back there next year,” James mumbled.
Sirius chuckled. “With a crying newborn?” he asked doubtfully. “I doubt it, Prongs.”
“Oh, just…” James wasn’t able to finish what he was about to say because, at that very same moment, the doorbell started ringing.
“Oh, come on! We’ve just got here!” Lily whined.
“I’ll get it,” James said with a groan, walking out of the room.
“Shouldn’t you sit down or something?” Mia asked Lily.
She rolled her eyes. “Not you too,” the redhead moaned.
“Professor Dumbledore?” they heard James say.
“Good evening, Mr. Potter,” Dumbledore greeted.
Sirius, Mia and Lily looked at each other and silently decided to go see what was going on. They exited the living room to see their former headmaster standing right in front of James.
“Mrs. Potter, Mr. Black, Miss Davis,” he acknowledged when he saw them approaching him.
“Professor,” Lily replied.
“I am afraid I’m not here to give you good news,” Dumbledore announced. “There had been a Death Eater attack to Potter Manor.”
James immediately tensed. “Sir, my parents…”
“I am afraid they didn’t survive, Mr. Potter,” the old professor informed him. “My condolences.”
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