Chapter 24 : Cradle Of Hope
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He looked down at them, his wife and his new-born daughter, and there was something more than love inside his heart. Happiness. It was strange how after all of those years of been happy, that feeling could still surprise him like this. He thought it was because there was a time when pain was such a huge part of his life that he expected it always to be there, but it wasn’t. She, Ginny, made it go away. Ginny, James, Albus and Lily and now his baby daughter.
Harry sat next to Ginny and looked down at the baby just like she did, while he stroked his wife’s hair.
“She’s gorgeous, isn’t she?” Ginny said looking up at him.
He smiled at her. The baby was snoozing in her mother’s arms. Unlike Lily, who was the spitting image of Ginny, on the top of the baby’s head a few black hair appeared and when she had her eyes open it was obvious that they were the same color and shape as his. But despite the fact that she had his hair and his eyes, he thought that all of her other characteristics were more like Ginny’s.
“Yeah, she’s beautiful”, he said. “Just like her mother”, he added and kissed her forehead.
Ginny smiled at him and even if she was pale and sweaty and exhausted after giving birth, Harry thought she was more radiant than ever.
“She looks more than you though”, Ginny commented.
“Oh, I don’t think she’s that unlucky”, he said.
“Hey, that’s my husband you’re insulting right now!”
“I only meant that with a mother that beautiful she would be unlucky not to look like her”.
“Oh and I think you’re full of it!” she laughed and he kissed her.
Then she slowly put the baby on his arms and then leaned on his shoulder.
“You know we should come up with a name now”, Ginny said as she looked down at their creation.
“Yeah, I know”, he said. “All the other times we had found the name before you even went into labor and now we haven’t even discussed about it”.
"We were busy", Ginny shrugged.
"Yeah, I guess between keeping James alive, hunting down Apostollo, only to learn it was Artemis and get cornered by her, didn't give us enough time to discuss baby names, did it?" Harry joked.
“Well, we’re gonna have to discuss it, because we can’t keep calling her baby-girl Potter”.
“Do you have any ideas?” Harry asked her.
“Well, there are some names I like”, she shrugged. “So what do you say we do it like Ron and Hermione did it?”
“What, each says a name and the other have the right of veto until we find one with both like?”
“Yeah, I’ll go first”, she said and Harry thought that she rather thrilled to be doing this.
He smiled and nodded.
“Veto”, Harry said.
“Isabella? And everyone would call her Bella, like Bellatrix? Oh, I’m sure Artemis will be thrilled!” Harry pointed out and Ginny frowned.
“Okay, okay, you’re right”, Ginny said. “You go”.
“Um…well, we named Lily after my mum so why don’t we name her after your mum?”
“Okay, if you’re willing to put up with Percy and how we stole his original idea”.
“Right”, Harry said, feeling like he was about to shiver at the very idea of it. “Forget it then”.
“Oh, yeah and we’ll give her a box of matches and let her out in the cold”, Harry shook his head. “Delilah”.
“Veto”, Ginny said. “I am not naming my daughter after some biblical prostitute. Fiona?”
“Veto”, Harry said. “Helen?”
“Veto, it’s too common”, Ginny responded. “Ruth?”
“She’s not a seventy year old”, Harry pointed out. “Lola?”
“She’s not a cabaret dancer either”, Ginny said. “Brooke?”
“Huh…I like Brooke as a name”, he said and Ginny smiled but then frowned. “Oh, I just remembered Brooke was the name of that girl in your office that used to hit on you. Forget it”.
“She wasn’t hitting on me!” Harry protested and Ginny glared at him. “Fine”, he sighed. “How’s Rachel?”
“Veto” Ginny said. “Holly?”
“Veto”, Harry told her. “Phoebe?”
“Veto”, Harry sighed. “This isn’t working. Maybe we should do it like last time and name her after someone we know”.
“Like who?” Ginny said. “Hermione?”
“Well, since they’re living with us now, it could be confusing”, Harry replied. “I mean if you call out the name they’ll both answer”.
“They’re not gonna live with us forever”, Ginny pointed out.
“Still, since they’re our best friends, there’s this possibility that they’ll be with us and the baby a lot”, Harry said.
“Okay, I guess you’re right”, Ginny gave up. “Plus I don’t think Hermione likes her name that much”.
“But we still have to find the baby one”.
“What about we name her after Teddy’s grandmother?” Ginny suggested.
“Do you honestly want to call our baby Andromeda?” Harry asked her as he cuddled the baby in his arms. “Ginny, why do you hate our daughter?”
“Oh, this comes from the man who made me call one of my kids Albus Severus?” she scowled at him.
“What’s wrong with Al’s name? You know how much I wanted to name him after those men, who were the bravest men I’ve ever…”
“Yeah, yeah, okay, I’ve heard that speech a thousand times”, she said. “I still don’t know how you convinced me to do it”.
“Oh, you don’t?” Harry grinned and leaned to kiss her neck tenderly.
She giggled but pushed him away.
“I don’t think that a hospital room with our baby in your arms is the right place for you to remind me”, she laughed. “Please focus on finding a name; we’ll have time for this later”.
“At your orders ma’am” he smiled but kissed her neck again.
A small knock on the door made them look up.
“Can we come in?” Lily’s voice came from outside. “Please?”
“Yes, come in”, Ginny said as Harry chuckled with the impatient tone in Lily’s voice.
James, Albus and Lily all walked in, all three of them looking excited.
Harry knew that Ron, Hermione and Ginny’s mum were waiting to get in too, but that they had decided to give the family some time alone first; though he couldn't help but wonder what Ron and Hermione did or say to convince Molly to wait a while longer before she sees her new grand daughter.
“Hey, be quiet guys, our baby girl is sleeping”, Ginny said as her other kids rushed next to their father, who held the baby in his arms.
“Hey, she looks like dad, like Al does”, Lily said looking down at the baby.
“Don’t look so confused, Lily”, James laughed. “Who told you she would look like mum like you do?”
“I just thought…” Lily started but then shook her head. “Never mind”, she said and Harry realized that there was some resentment in her voice.
It was weird, but Lily's excitement went out of the window just like that, surprising her father. Before he could say something though, James spoke.
“So, have you guys decided on a name yet?”
“No and it’s rather hard to do so”, Ginny said. “We had some ideas, but…hey! What about Gabrielle?” Ginny said.
“No, she’s not a Gabrielle”, Albus said looking down at her.
“Yeah, plus one of my mate’s name is Gabriel; could be a bit weird”, James said and Ginny sighed.
“So, I guess we’re back at baby-girl”, she said.
“Maybe you should call her that”, Albus said. “What? It’s so original”, he shrugged when Ginny rolled her eyes at him.
“Well, I’ve got an idea”, James said.
“Of course you do!” Albus said ironically shaking his head and then turned at his parents again. “Can I…can I hold her?”
Harry grinned at him and then stood up with the baby still sleeping in his arms and then he slowly passed her to Albus. The boy looked rather frightened and yet excited to hold the baby.
“Wow, she’s small”, James commented looking down at her over Albus’ shoulder.
“Of course she is Jamie”, Harry smiled. “She’s barely two hours old”.
“I really do have an idea of a name”, James said sitting at the other side of his mother’s bed than the one his father was sitting on.
“Okay then, honey, tell us, we might like it”, Ginny said as Albus gave the baby back at her.
James looked down at the baby and then at his mum.
“Aunt Hermione, Uncle Ron and Nana were telling us about what happened to you when you gave birth at Lily”, James started and Harry and Ginny exchanged a worried look.
“Why did they…? We didn’t want you to….” Harry mumbled.
“Anyway…” James said hastily before anyone else could say anything more. “So Aunt Hermione told us how the healers had said that there was no hope for mum and Lily…”
“Oh, God!” Ginny exclaimed. “I’m so killing Hermione!”
“…and then I thought how many times I lost hope that I won’t die during this summer…”
“Are you getting anywhere with this?” Albus asked his brother seeing the bitterness at his parent’s faces.
“Yes, Albus, I am”, James nodded. “So then I thought that this is what this family needs!”
“What?” Ginny asked confused.
“Hope!” James said. “You should name her Hope!”
Ginny and Harry stared at their son stunned for a moment and then they looked at each other. Ginny raised her eyebrows, Harry nodded at her and they started laughing. As Albus and Lily joined them James frowned.
“You don’t like it?” he asked.
“Well, it’s a bit too dramatic, don’t you think, Jamie?” Harry laughed.
“Only an artist could have come up with something like that!” Ginny said ironically and James’ frown became an irritated expression.
“Okay, fine!” he said. “It was just an idea! Do whatever you want. You can name her Apostollo for all I care!”
“Apostollo, huh?” Harry said thinking about it. “That’s a good idea but I think Artemis has the copyright”.
“Yeah, thank God we already have a name!” Ginny put in.
“I don’t understand”, James said confused. “You said you didn’t find a name”.
“Oh, Jamie, try to keep up”, Harry said mockingly rolling his eyes.
“Didn’t you just say that all we need is a hope?” Ginny asked him.
“Wait a minute”, Albus said. “You’re gonna do it?”
“You’re gonna name her Hope?” James asked his parents confused. “But I thought you didn’t like it!”
“When did we say that? Gin, do you remember us saying that?”
“No, we only said it’s a bit too dramatic”, Ginny said grinning. “Too bad we love our drama!”
“I think it’s a good name”, Albus said.
“You were just laughing with it!” James protested. “You all were!”
“So? You’re the only one in this family that can mock?” Albus said and the rest of them chuckled as James grunted.
“So, I guess, it’s official then”, Ginny smiled.
“Yep, guys meet Hope Potter”, Harry nodded.
“Well, dad, I guess you’re not the only H. P. around here anymore”, Albus pointed out.
“I guess not”, Harry nodded.
“Hope Potter; I think it kind of rimes too!” Albus said.
“Wait, what about a middle name?” James asked.
“Well, actually I think I have an idea about that”, Ginny said turning to look at him. “You know your dad always calls you Jamie…?”
“Oh, don’t remind me”.
“Hey!” Harry protested as James stung his tongue out at him; Harry leaned over Ginny and smacked him and then turned his attention back to her. “What about it, love?”
“Well, we can use it as the baby’s middle name”, Ginny said. “Hope Jamie Potter”.
“Hey, that’s not fair!” Albus said.
“Hello, I don’t like that nickname!” James protested.
“Why does the baby gets to have two names inspired by and from James?” Albus went on.
“I hate that nickname!”
“Oi!” Harry said. “Stop yelling or you’ll wake up the baby! I agree with Ginny. It’s going to be Hope Jamie Potter, because I like calling you like that and no matter what you say I know you like me calling you like that and because it will remind us that we almost lost you this year…twice…and that we’re not losing you again”.
James and Albus both sighed and after looking at each other, they gave up. Harry however looked at Lily. He expected that she would have a list of names ready and that she would participate in all the discussions on the baby’s name but Lilly was only looking at the baby, who slept in her mother’s arms, with the same resentful look Harry saw on her face before.
“Lills, what…?” Harry started but before he could ask the door opened and about a thousand of Weasleys burst in.
Harry had returned home with Molly to drop off the kids. She will be staying with them during the night just in case while Harry would be at the hospital with Ginny because they weren’t releasing her and Hope just yet. After stopping Albus and James from fighting about whom the baby would like more, he went to Lily’s room.
“Hey”, he said walking in.
The girl was already undercover even if it was too early to go to sleep, especially for Lily, who usually had to get dragged to bed and away from her teenage, romance novels. Harry rather thought she was trying to avoid him.
“Hey”, she replied casually.
Harry sat next to her.
“Okay, Lills, what’s wrong?” he asked her.
“Come on, Lills, you think I can’t sense it when my little girl is upset?” Harry smiled.
Lily only glared at him; it reminded Harry so much of angry Ginny, that he almost flattered.
“I’m fine”, she replied.
“Right”, Harry said ironically. “Lily you were so thrilled when we went to the hospital and while we were waiting for the baby and then you look at her and you become all…”
“She looks like you!” Lily snapped.
“Okay”, Harry nodded. “Can’t say that my pride isn’t a little hurt now…”
“She looks like you!” Lily repeated ignoring his comment. “She doesn’t look like mum and me. She has your eyes and your hair and you’re gonna like her better because she’s a real Potter, aren’t you?”
Harry was left speechless for a minute by that. He finally realized what was this all about. Lily was jealous.
“Lily”, he said trying to suppress a grin.
“It just…it never occurred to me until I saw her that…that…that I’m not gonna be the only girl anymore”, she said blushing.
“Lily, do you honestly think that just because the baby would be around, me and your mum are gonna stop loving you?”
“I didn’t say that”, Lily said. “I just…”
“Lil, I love you, okay?” Harry said hugging his daughter’s shoulders with his hands. “I love you just like I’m gonna love your sister. Yes, she has my hair and my eyes but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna like her more nor does it mean that you are less of a Potter just because you don’t. Lily, you took after one of the people that I love most in this world, your mum, and I think you’re both beautiful and amazing. And just think that with another girl in the house, James and Albus won’t do whatever they want”.
Lily looked at her father and then sighed.
“Fine, but you’d better not like her more!” she said warningly and Harry laughed, hugging his daughter.
“I promise”, he said and Lily kissed his cheek.
“Sorry, daddy”, she said as Harry got up. “It will just be hard sharing you with my sister”.
Harry grinned at her and then scooped down to kiss her forehead.
“Don’t worry”, Harry laughed. “I’m enough for both of you”.
“Love you dad”.
“Love you Lills”.
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