"One. Two. Three," she counted off, gently touching each of the perfect chubby fingers that the little newborn presented her with. She was lying in the hospital bed, propped up against the headboard with fat white pillows, the small son she had carried with her for almost nine months nestled quietly in the crook of her arms. Her brown hair was tangled with sweat, her body was bruised and tired from the events of the night. She struggled to not think about before and just appreciate the new life she was holding but the grief was too great and too fresh to be controlled.
Her eyes burned and the baby's sweet blue eyes and carrot-colored hair swam before her as tears began to spill down her cheeks. He looked confused as his mother silently wept, her long hair forming a curtain over her face as she leaned down to feel his soft head with her lips. The sobs she struggled so hard to keep from escaping caused a violent rocking against him that he didn't like and he made this known, letting an angry wail escape him. Mummy, I don't like this! Please stop!
And while she dimly registered what the baby was trying to say, she found that once she had started she couldn't stop. She brought her free hand up to try to wipe her eyes, but ended up just leaving it there as the sobs were taken from the very core of her.
Spliced images flashed in her mind sending jolts of delayed reaction through her—a large familiar hand enveloping her own—the sudden and ominous appearance of white headlights filling her vision—the world flipping over and over—the shock of pain to her head and body—abrupt blackness—a bleary awareness of someone lifting her up. She couldn't picture much after that. She just knew that she'd ended up in this hospital, finding the will to stay alive for her baby, the only person she had left.
A despairing moan escaped her and her sobs increased. The door to the hospital room opened and quiet footsteps rushed into the room. Hermione paid no heed as the space next to her sagged with someone's weight and warm strong arms came around her. Another pair of hands reached for her son and she jerked him away instinctively.
The hands stilled and a soothing and familiar voice murmured, "It's okay, love, I'm just going to see if he needs anything so you have some time for yourself."
Hermione relaxed upon hearing Ginny's voice and handed her baby over.
Her hospital gown crinkled as she turned to Harry who was rubbing his hands up and down her arms in a calming motion, as if that would be enough to wipe away the icy cold that had taken root inside her. After a minute or two, her tears quieted. She rubbed her hands over her face and met Harry's eyes, her pain echoed in his, the same but different. He didn't say any of the trite and banal words of sympathy. He knew it wouldn't help and would only make a mockery of their loss. She closed her eyes and leaned into him. He tightened his arms around her. The bleak look in her eyes concerned him and he met his wife's eyes over the brunette's head.
Ginny's expression told him she wasn't sure what to do and she turned her attention back to the newborn she rocked in her arms. The baby was being lulled to sleep, thin eyelids closing over his big blue eyes. Ginny wondered if the color would change as they so often did with babies or if they would remain the same. With his hair already showing a similar shade to his father's, she knew it would be a painful reminder to them all of the man who was no longer with them but that wasn't something she and, she was mostly sure, the child's mother would hold against him.
"Ginny." Harry's whisper broke the heavy silence of the room. She looked up from her contemplation of the child. Harry was easing himself off the bed, careful to not disturb his dear friend as he laid her back on her pillows. The woman had fallen asleep, exhausted emotionally and physically.
Ginny moved towards her, swaying her walk so the baby wouldn't be disturbed. She bent down gently and touched the baby's soft cheek to his mother's tearstained one, thinking that each could take some comfort in the other. Hermione's face relaxed a fraction, though the strains of sorrow and physical pain were evident in her features.
Ginny moved to the door that Harry held open for her and stepped out into the corridor. She could see only one Healer at the far end and faced Harry as he silently closed the door. "Harry," she paused, hesitant to voice her concern but knowing she had to, for the sake of the life she held in her arms, "do you think she'll be all right eventually? That look in her eyes…" Ginny trailed off, knowing he would understand.
He took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose before moving up to absently rub at the scar on his forehead; a gesture, Ginny knew, he did only when he was most worried, a habit from another lifetime. "Honestly, Gin, I don't know." He dropped his hand and faced the door behind him, the curtains closed over the window, hiding the distraught figure sleeping inside. "I really don't know."
Author's Note: Ahhhh! Inspiration struck and I just had to start writing! It might've been the book I stayed up till 4am reading or the Chinese food I ate late at night or just plain old brilliance being sparked in my mind but I feel the muse has called and I must obey.
Tell me what you think! Please. (Mustn't forget my manners.)
Edited: 31 Jan 12 (add chapter title and an added word in there)
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