Ginny stood before a tall mirror in her bedroom taking a long look at her reflection. Straight on isn’t so bad. She turned to the side. Damn-it. I look like a beached whale.
It was Valentine’s Day, and she was trying on the special negligee that she had purchased. It was supposed to make her look sexy, though now that she really thought about it she couldn’t understand what she was thinking. There was definitely nothing sexy about a woman that looked as if she had a beach ball permanently stuck to her stomach.
Only two more weeks. Ginny’s new mantra had become counting down the days until she was due to give birth. Every new day brought her closer and closer to not having to carry around the extra weight, the bloating, the fatigue, and not to mention the gas. The gas pains had been especially bad that day.
She turned to the other side, but it was no better. The black lacy thing barely covered her bum, which was saying something, as it had now grown to the size of two large hams. It fit a little snugly over her belly, which irritated her, as she had bought it even a size larger than the sales girl recommended, just in case. Blasted thing just keeps growing, she thought as she poked at her stomach.
Ginny pulled her hair up and sucked in her cheeks. Nothing helped. There was no way that Harry would be able to find this thing she had become attractive enough to sleep with. He had barely touched her in a month. Granted, he was exhausted from working so much, but she felt that deep down he was truly just disgusted with how fat she had become.
She couldn’t blame him. She was the size of a baby rhino.
The door to the bedroom opened and she tried in vain to cover herself with her hands. Ginny hadn’t even heard him come home, he wasn’t expected for hours, but there stood Harry, exhaustion etched on his features.
“I decided to take the rest of the day off,” Harry said as he was walking through the door. He took a long look at her, probably taking in the hilarity of her over large form in a small little scrap of lingerie.
He smiled; she knew he was going to laugh. Damn him! What she didn’t expect was the look of appreciation instead of mirth. He eyed her lasciviously, and she felt the rush of heat creep up her spine and tingle through her scalp.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” she said in a sheepish voice. It had been a long while since Ginny felt this nervous in front of Harry, but it had also been a while since he seen her quite so unclothed. She felt self-conscious about her figure, even though it was ridiculous. She was pregnant after all.
He walked slowly towards her, his eyes roaming about her semi-nude form. When he finally reached her he went in for a kiss. She watched as he tried to lean over her protruding belly. It was awkward, and she felt stupid all over again. He moved to the side of her instead and was able to get a much better angle, even though that, too, was uncomfortable.
“Damn you, Harry Potter!” Ginny pulled at her hair in frustration.
He broke away bewildered. “What did I do?”
“What did you do? What did you do? I’ll tell you what you did. You knocked me up! You knocked me up and then you went off and became a lead Auror and left me hanging around the house. You haven’t wanted to sleep with me in over a month because I have become a cow! And now you aren’t even able to because I am so large that you can barely reach me.” She stomped around the room, throwing her arms up and waving them about in an exaggerated manner.
She was so busy ranting that she hardly noticed the water dripping down her leg until it stopped dripping and started streaming. Great, now I can’t even control my pee!
“Don’t you ‘Gin, love’ me. Look at what you have done to me… ROWW!” She doubled over as much her swollen belly would allow. The pain came through her stomach and felt as if someone were stabbing at her insides.
Harry rushed over to her. “Gin? Are you okay?”
Once the pain had subsided, she answered. “Of course I am not bloody okay. I am pregnant, in pain, and damn-it I just wet myself!”
“Uh, Ginny…” he took a hesitant step towards her. “I don’t think that’s pee.” When Ginny didn’t say anything, Harry continued. “I think your water just broke.”
“My water just…” She stared down at the puddle between her legs. “Wait, how do you even know what that means?”
“I’m not a complete moron, I did listen when the healer told us what could happen when you started going into labor.” He looked a little pissed off. Ginny backed away.
“So, if you know what just happened, what do we do now?”
“Merlin, Ginny, didn’t you listen at all to what the healer told us?” He began pacing, though he was careful to avoid the puddle that Ginny had left.
She looked guiltily to the floor. She had not been listening; she had eaten a rather large bean burrito that morning and was more focused on not passing gas then on listening to the healer. She caught a couple of her words, like ‘pain’ and ‘water’ and ‘pain’, but really, who didn’t know when they were going into labor? Well, her, obviously.
“Ginny, c’mon, let’s get you to St. Mungo’s.” Harry grabbed the packed bag they had ready for this occasion and then went to grab her.
“But it’s too early. The baby isn’t supposed to come for another two weeks.” She couldn’t move her feet, it wasn’t time for her to give birth. She wasn’t ready.
“Well, tell him that.” Harry said, gesturing towards her belly.
“And how do you know it’s a hi-OOWW!” She gripped her sides, the pain shooting through her abdomen, wrenching at her insides. Harry moved her over to sit on the bed, rubbing his hands up and down her back in a soothing manner, though Ginny hardly noticed.
When the contraction was over this time she decided that there was no point in arguing. She let Harry lead her out the front door and into the ministry car that he had taken to driving around since he became a lead Auror.
Hermione was tapping her fingernails anxiously on her desk. The tic of her wall clock echoed throughout the room, exaggerating the fact that time was moving ever so slowly. Ron had told her that he would pick her up from her office at five. It was their first real Valentine’s together. And not just their ‘second, first Valentine’s’ but their actual first. Their first time around, Hermione had had to work late on Valentine’s Day.
She was a little nervous. Ron had said that he had something special planned, and she couldn’t help but wonder if he was going to ask her to marry him. Part of her desperately hoped so, and the other part was hesitant. After all, she had just gotten a divorce only a few months ago. What would it look like if she were to get married again right away?
Not that it mattered, yet. It was only 1:15, and she could hardly concentrate on the files in front of her, which only proved the flustered state of her nerves even further.
She was staring intently at a file, letting the letters blur into one large smudge of black ink, when an insistent knocking on her door broke her out of her trance.
“Come in,” she called out to her welcome intruder; anything to break up the monotony of the day.
Ron came barreling in, panting as he stood in her doorway.
“Ron? What’s wrong? I thought you weren’t coming until five. Don’t tell me that you are canceling!” The idea of him blowing off their date infuriated her and she rose from her seat ready to ream him out.
“Ginny…Mungo’s…baby.” A strangled gasp was all that Ron could manage through great gulps of air.
It was enough; Hermione stayed calm, but quickly gathered her belongings and left a message for her boss that she would be leaving early. She held onto Ron, helping to calm him down in his frantic state. One might think that it was his child about to be born.
They apparated to St. Mungo’s with no trouble, entered the lobby, and headed straight for the First Floor. Perhaps it was meant to be ironic that the floor for ‘Creature Induced Injuries’ also housed the maternity ward.
At the small healer station, Hermione was able to find out that Ginny was in room 114 and was stable. They were just about to head into the room when Hermione heard a healer around the corner say, ‘Don’t worry about a thing Ms. Greengrass, so far everything is looking good. We will need to see you again next month, but until then just make sure that you are taking care of yourself.’
Hermione peered around the corner to see Astoria Greengrass shaking the hand of one of the healers. Ron tugged at her arm. “What are you doing? C’mon…”
Hermione shushed him; she had missed part of Astoria’s response.
“…baby to be healthy.”
“Don’t worry about a thing. Your baby is going to be just fine.” The healer and Astoria walked further down the hall and Hermione could no longer hear any of the conversation. Merlin! So that was why Draco was getting married. She didn’t understand why she should care, but she did. It made her feel better. It made her understand. And even though it definitely should not matter, it made her realize that he had not stopped loving her.
How could she be so selfish to care? It wasn’t as if she wanted to get back together with him. She loved Ron. It just felt… nice to know that all she had meant to him had not been a lie. After their encounter she was beginning to doubt their entire relationship completely.
She looked back to see an irritated Ron, arms crossed and his hair hanging loosely in his eyes.
“Done?” He said in a terse voice.
“Sorry,” was all she could manage.
Ron led her into the room and they watched as Ginny screamed out, “Going to kill you! Never again, Harry Potter! You are never having sex ever again!” She was laying upright on a large bed, her orange hospital gown clashing brilliantly with her red hair and even redder face.
“It’s okay, Ginny,” Harry cooed patiently, holding her hand as she continued to scream obscenities at him.
“No it’s not bleeding okay. I! Am! In! Pain!”
Hermione was rather impressed with how well Harry was keeping it together. When Ginny caught sight of Hermione and Ron she growled. Hermione felt Ron pull back from her and closer towards the door.
“Maybe I should…” His hand reached for the door handle when the door swung open. Molly Weasley came striding through and went straight to Ginny’s side.
“You’re going to be okay sweetie. Mummy’s here.” She took to Ginny’s unoccupied side of the bed and grabbed hold of her other hand. The contraction seemed to be ebbing and slowly her breathing evened out.
Hermione, now feeling that it was safe, took a step towards her friend. Ron stayed by the door.
“Mum?” Ginny said once her body stabilized.
“Get out.” It was said in such a simple manner that Hermione thought that she must have misheard.
Molly apparently had the same reaction, “What dear? I didn’t understand you.”
“I said,” Ginny clenched her teeth, “Get. Out.”
Molly stepped back from the bed, her face frozen in shock.
“Sorry Molly, she’s been like this ever since we got here. She doesn’t mean it.” Harry intervened on his wife’s behalf.
“Yes I do bloody well mean it. I don’t want her here. If she can’t accept my future nephew then she had no business accepting our child.”
Every mouth in the room fell open; Hermione, realizing that her own was gaping, quickly shut it.
“Perhaps we should…” she stepped back towards Ron and the door.
Ron needed no prodding, and they both exited the room as quickly as they could.
He couldn’t get out of there fast enough; though, he also didn’t really want to be stuck in the hallway with Hermione at this moment either. The initial shock of seeing his sister in that state and hearing her curse everyone to high heaven had worn off, and the irritation he felt at Hermione’s insistence on listening into Malfoy’s fiancées conversation came back full force.
Why couldn’t she get over him? After Hermione’s reaction to her meeting with Malfoy, Ron became uneasy about their relationship. She had become quiet; all she would tell him was that Malfoy was now engaged to someone named Greengrass. Slowly, she had come back to herself, letting Ron in; tonight he was going to focus on their relationship. He was even thinking of bringing it to the next level by asking her to move in with him. Although, it was more that he wanted to move in with her, but those were semantics. Now he wasn’t so sure. If she were truly over Malfoy, she wouldn’t have cared what his ferretess was doing. But she did, she cared. It was written all over her face.
“Want to go to the tea room?” Her voice sliced through his reverie like a knife.
He just grunted and began walking towards the stairwell. Her footsteps were quick behind him.
“Wait up,” she called as she tried to catch up to his longer strides.
He kept on his path.
“Hey!” The footsteps behind him stopped. He turned to look. Hermione was standing in the middle of the hallway hands on her hips.
“What is your problem?” She asked. Ron decided it best to ignore her.
He started walking again.
This time her footfalls were faster behind him, and as she ran to catch up her voice shot out, “I said, what is your problem?” She grabbed at his sleeve.
“My problem? What is your problem?” Ron couldn’t control his anger any longer.
“I don’t know what you mean.” She stepped back and looked genuinely bewildered, something that angered him all the more.
“You aren’t over him, are you?” He asked, his face hard as he stared into her eyes.
She faltered, “Not over him? Of course I am over him. I love you.”
“Then why do you care? Why do you care if she is off having his baby? Why did it bother you when you found out he was engaged? Don’t lie to me Hermione.”
“I’m not. I’m not lying to you. I love you!”
“Yeah right.” Ron shrugged his shoulders and started to turn back around. He couldn’t stand in this hallway with her anymore. He needed to get out, needed to think.
“I do. I love you. Ron, please don’t go…” He could hear the wavering in her voice as she tried to hold back her sobs. “I want to be with you. Just you. I want to marry you.”
Ron stopped. He turned slowly, not sure exactly if he had heard right. He took in her tear filled eyes, her fingers that were grasping at her robes with all their might, the look of shock on her own face. As if she too wasn’t quite sure what she had said aloud.
“You want to marry me?” Ron choked out.
She nodded slowly and the muscles in her neck clenched as she took in a large gulp.
He took a step forward. “Are you sure? You aren’t just saying this?” He asked, needing verification yet again, still unsure if this was real.
She nodded once more. “Yes, yes, I'm sure. I have never been more sure.”
That was all it took. Ron covered the distance between them in five easy strides and took her up into his arms, crushing her smaller form into his. He kissed her hair, her neck, every inch of her face before pulling her lips to his. He was breathless for her, hardly aware of where they were.
“Ahem.” Ron broke their kiss and turned to see George and Angelina standing in the hall with amused smirks on their faces.
“So, getting hitched, huh?” Angelina asked.
Hermione looked up at Ron, her eyebrows raised in a question. He held onto her even tighter and grinned, “Yes. Yes we are.” He felt as she dug her face further into him, her own grinning cheeks widening on his chest.
“That must be nice,” George said. Angelina shot him a glare. “What? It’s about time. It must be nice… for them.” Ron could tell that George was only adding that last bit to placate Angelina.
“Right. Well, Ginny’s room should be just over there.” Angelina pointed down the hall.
“I wouldn’t,” Ron said. “Mum’s in there.” Just as he said it he saw his mum step out of the room, her face flushed. He pulled Hermione against the wall, hoping to avoid his mum’s wrath by getting out of her direct sight line.
George and Angelina stood tall as Ron’s mum barreled down the hallway towards them.
When she got close, Ron backed even further against the wall, pulling Hermione with him.
Shock of all shocks, his mother did not begin ranting about their unblessed union, but instead pulled both George and Angelina into a tight embrace whispering “I’m sorry” into their ears.
The surprise on George’s face gave way to his usual playful smile. George patted his mother’s back. “It’s all right. Old age can cause people to do some crazy things.” Ron’s mum swatted at him, but her lips were curved upwards all the same.
Ron felt that it was now safe to come forward and asked, “How is Ginny?”
“Fine. It will probably be a few more hours until she delivers.”
“Hours?” Ron asked.
“Yes dear, hours. It isn’t all moonlight and roses having a baby.”
Angelina took a large gulp while George moved over to her reassuringly.
They all went up to the tea room as they waited for word about Ginny. The hours seemed to stretch on forever. Neither George nor Angelina seemed to feel the need to let on about Ron and Hermione’s engagement; probably because George didn’t want to renew any of their mum’s displeasure.
The rest of the family trickled in until the tea room was completely filled with Weasleys. Hermione had fallen asleep on Ron’s lap as he ran his fingers through her hair. Bill kept nodding his head in slumber and then jerking himself awake. Victoire was wrapped up with Fleur and Dominique was being looked after by Ron’s dad.
It was just past midnight when the healer came in.
“You may go in and see the baby now.”
A wave of energy seemed to have burst through the room as everyone gathered bolted upright and started heading for the door.
“Only four people at a time please.” The healer’s voice broke in causing an upward roar of groaning.
Ron had wanted to be in the first group, but Hermione had wisely informed him that if they were the last group that they would get to be alone with Harry and Ginny, so they waited. And waited some more, as each group of people went downstairs, and then came back, only to gush about how beautiful the baby was.
It was a boy, rightfully named James Sirius. He weighed 6 pounds and 7 ounces, was 21 centimeters long. James was born at exactly 11:59 on St. Valentine’s Day, either a good or bad omen, depending on who you asked.
When it was Ron and Hermione’s turn to go in it was nearly 2:30 in the morning. Ginny was already sleeping, having had a sleepless dream potion almost right after she had fed James for the first time. Harry was seated in a rocking chair, James bundled up in his arms, a hospital issue blue blanket swathed around the baby.
James had a shock of black hair so thick you could almost forget that his head was slightly cone shaped. Almost. His face was splotchy and red, and honestly Ron didn’t really know how anyone could tell who the baby was supposed to resemble.
The one thing that he could be sure of was that he immediately wanted one of his own, and by the look on Hermione’s face so did she. Now that they were getting married, perhaps that wouldn’t be so far off either.
They decided not to tell Harry just yet about their engagement. Tonight was his and Ginny’s night. They could break the good news tomorrow once he got down on one knee and proposed to her properly.
A/N: I know, I know. I am a horrible person, especially since this chapter was written and beta's last week. I have no real excuse other than NaNo and validating have been taking up a lot of time. Also Real Life has been poking it's head in (6 year anniversary with the hubby).
Anyway, this is the last real chapter, the next one is mostly an epilogue and an intro to the Next Gen Sequel that I am working on for NaNo.
I would really love to know what you guys think, so spill. How did you like Ginny (cause I think she was really fun to write)? What about the proposal? I must give charlie23 some credit here as her story inspired this particular scene (though I dont think I realized it when I was writing it).
Thank goes out to all of you lovely readers and reviewers and especially to th rockinest beta around Georgia Weasley - who also happens to be my NaNo mommy. Thanks Mum!
Okay novel lenth A/N done. You are now free to review!
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