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Cracks in the Pavement by Roots in Water
Chapter 6 : Birth
 
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“Have you decided on a name for him?” Molly was bustling about the small bedroom, fluffing Angelina’s pillows and straightening her sheets. Angelina was ensconced in George’s old room, all traces of half-made prank toys and explosions gone wrong wiped away, as her pregnancy neared its end. After realizing that she was pregnant George and Angelina had decided that the loft above the shop wasn’t big nor comfortable enough to raise their children in and so had set to looking for a new house.

The house they had purchased was a nice house, comfortable, with three bedrooms and a yard laced with flowers and room to fly a broomstick. They had bought it long enough ago that their boxes were unpacked, blankets placed on beds and dishes stored in the cupboards. It just didn’t feel like home yet and so, with Molly’s urging, Angelina stayed at the Burrow during the day while George worked at Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes and left for her new house at night. Molly adored this, pampering her daughter-in-law. She was excited, awaiting the arrival of her newest grandchild.

In Molly’s opinion there were never too many children to love.
Angelina’s hair stuck to her neck but she didn’t remove the blankets causing the heat. “George wanted George Junior. Or Elvendork. I said no.”

There was a brief pause and then “We decided on Fred.” Angelina fiddled nervously with the edge of her sheet.

“Oh—that’s… lovely dear.”

“Is that alright? Are you alright?”

Molly touched Angelina’s hand and smiled. “Yes, yes of course dear. Forgive me—I was just a little… startled.”

The subject was dropped as Angelina mentioned the uncertainties she was having about giving birth.

Arthur took it better when he heard about it from Molly that night. Molly was anything but calm, pacing around the room and tossing out her whirlwind thoughts.

“I don’t know what to think. I know that they believe they’re doing something good, but he won’t be Fred.”

Arthur moved behind Molly, hugging her close. “It’s their decision and we can’t force them to change their minds.”

“But he was my son.”

“And he was his brother. Molly, you’ve always told George to be more responsible, to be the respectable one. This is just his way of honouring his brother.”

Molly was biting her lip, hesitant to agree but unwilling to fight. She didn’t want to fight, not with Arthur and most definitely not with George and Angelina. Not with the baby’s due date so close.

She settled on saying “It is a good name.”

Arthur kissed her head.

*

It was just over two weeks later when George’s head poked frantically through the fireplace, coals spilling onto the rug. Though it was past midnight and they had long since fallen asleep, it wasn’t long before he could hear the sounds of slippered feet pattering down the stairs.

“Is it happening?” Molly’s eyes were shining, a dressing robe thrown carelessly over her nightshirt. Arthur trailed behind her, tying a more suitable robe over his sleepwear. George only had to nod his head once before Molly was grasping for floo powder and sailing through the fire.

George was pacing anxiously on the other end, still in his nightwear. His red hair was tousled from fingers being raked through it and he glanced over at the hall leading to his bedroom every few seconds.

“They kicked me out. Well, Angelina kicked me out. The healer backed her up. Said I was being ‘unhelpful’.”

Arthur could easily remember being in this very same position, worried for his wife and excited for his child.

“Have you notified Angelina’s parents?” Molly was smiling as she watched her son.

George froze, eyes flicking between the fireplace and Molly.

“Have you flooed anyone besides us?” There was a slight tremor in her voice that Arthur knew meant that she was trying to keep herself from laughing. Arthur decided to release his son from the obligation of spending anymore time away from his pregnant wife.

Knees on the floor in front of the fireplace (thanking Merlin Angelina had insisted on putting a plush rug there) he called out the address of Cassandra and Darius, Angelina’s parents.

The room he saw as he opened his eyes was black, the curtains drawn with no moonlight seeping through. The door leading out to the rest of the house was opened just a crack, from which he could see the torches lining the hallway. Though he disliked the need to disturb them from their sleep he knew that they would hate to miss the moment their daughter became a mother and so called out their names. The sound echoed oddly in the room.

The gong of a grandfather clock chiming out the hour was all that answered him and so he called out their names once again. If this time his shouts failed to rouse them he would have to step through the fire and into their home, something he wasn’t comfortable with doing.

This time as the echoes faded away he was able to hear the rustle of silk pants and the murmur of whispering. Just before the lights in the greeting room flicked on the shadowy figures of an elderly man and woman blocked Arthur’s view of the hallway. Tall and wide Angelina’s father was an impressive figure and in that moment he looked like a grizzly bear just awoken from a winter’s slumber.

Arthur smiled. “I have good news. Your daughter’s giving birth.”
Then, like Molly and Arthur had just twenty minutes before, their eyes lightened as they reached for the floo powder. Arthur quickly slid backwards out of the fire to allow them the space to come through.

It would just be them, expectant grandparents and father, waiting in the room for Angelina to give birth. Everyone else would be told after the fact, since the anticipation was too much to allow for more in the room.

It was just under three hours later that the healer allowed George back into his bedroom to see his sweaty and exhausted wife and newborn son.

It was just three minutes later that Arthur followed Molly into the room, watching as she held his grandson.

It was just thirty seconds later that Arthur was holding his grandson in his own arms and a feeling of pride swirled in his stomach. George, beaming, was unable to stop looking at his son.

Angelina had fallen asleep, assured that her son was alive and well.
“This is Fred.”

And then the little boy nestled in his arms opened his wide eyes and wailed, just like his namesake had when he was born almost thirty years ago.

*

There is no such thing as the perfect family.

But there are those that come close.


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