Chapter 6 : The Journal
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My days began to blur, one into another. Endless days of lounging around, eating anything I could find, and reading, so much reading. Mrs. Weasley had recently given me her copy of "Your Wizard Baby and You" and after reading the first few chapters, all of which covered labor, I put it down. Life sure can be ironic sometimes because I never really expected to have children. I considered adoption because my mother had oh so graciously informed me of the pains of birth, and the pain she described was something I vowed I would never experience, and look at me now.
It was almost six which meant Fred would be done with work soon and I could finally do something with my time. We had been planning it for the last two weeks, we were finally going to go shopping for the baby. Since the baby was a surprise we decided on buying gender neutral items. I very slowly got up from the couch and waddled over to the mirror at the far end of the room. My face didn't look any different, maybe a little more rested now that I spent the majority of my time sleeping but just the same apart from that. I took a brush to my hair until I was satisfied and then I set to putting on my shoes. I tried for as long as I could to put them on myself but reaching below my pregnant belly was nearly impossible now. I pulled out my wand and uttered a simple spell Mrs. Weasley had taught me and then I was ready to go.
Fred and George came up the stairs in a rush and threw themselves on the couch, clearly worn out. I sighed in frustration. I hadn't been out of this flat in nearly 3 weeks, I was ready to go. Better yet, for my sanity I needed to go. I grabbed my coat off the rack and marched over to Fred, his eyes suddenly lit up and I knew that he had only just remembered the trip he promised me. He looked like he might argue but instead went to the coat rack and slipped on a light jacket. We bid a simple goodbye to George and then walked out of the flat in silence. I found it odd, Fred was never silent. I coughed once and he cast a quick glance at me.
"How was your day?" I questioned, trying to lighten the awkward air between us.
"Same as any other day I suppose," he ran a hand through his long hair, "business has picked up these last couple months. George and I are about in over our heads trying to keep up with it all." I nodded silently and kept walking forward. We were heading towards a small shop that had recently opened up in Diagon Alley that sold all sorts of muggle items, I hoped that we could find what we needed there seeing as going back to my father house wasn't quite an option any longer, save for my doctors visits.
My father had finally succumbed into worried parent mode, in which he was constantly sending letters and using any other means of effective communication available to find out anything he could about my... delicate condition, as he put it. I know that the thought of me having a child at such a young age bothers him, he and my mother both went to school and established themselves as dentists well before marrying and then eventually having me. If the choice had been mine, I would have done the same.
Not to mention, on top of everything else I hadn't seen or spoken to Ron or Harry in at least a month. They came by the flat once a week or so after I first told everyone the news but the air was awkward and the tension too thick for any of us to enjoy the others presence. Ron hated me, I knew it to the core of my being. I wished I could tell Ron the truth multiple times, but I've come to realize that the truth would do nothing for him at this point. It might actually hurt him more, so I've stuck to writing my thoughts down. A small journal that stays by my side day and night, with so many thoughts going through my head I can't possibly keep them all straight.
Several minutes passed with more silence between Fred and I, everything about the trip had become uncomfortable and I could feel the baby moving around; maybe he could feel it too. I chanced a glance at Fred, he looked...strange. The confidence that he usually strode around with had all but vanished from this man and it concerned me. From the little I did know about him I knew that he was not anything if not confident, I could see the shop approaching just down the street. I breathed in deep to steady my nerves and lightly touched his shoulder, he stopped and gazed down at me curiously.
"Is everything all right," I questioned lightly, "you seem a bit off." Fred took my hand from my shoulder and gave it a light squeeze.
"I'm fine, just tired," he shrugged and looked out ahead of himself, "just a lot going on, you know?"
"Yeah," I said as I laid a hand over my swollen abdomen, "I know."
"Let's just get through this shopping trip and head back home," he looked like he might say something more but he stopped short. His words ran circles in my head, let's just get through this...Had spending any amount of time with me really become that unbearable? I chided myself; it was this pregnancy, it had my hormones flying off the handle. I shook off the thought and headed into the store, Fred a few steps behind me. We strode through the store until finally we saw a section with assorted cribs, blankets, and toys. The whole trip just seemed strange, we barely spoke or acknowledged one another unless it was to talk about the things we still needed for the baby.
"The last thing we need to do is look for some clothes for the baby," I said as I checked over my list.
"No, my Mum's making his clothes," Fred said with a wave of his hand as he looked at some of the toys strewn across the back wall of the shop. I placed a hand on my hip to steady myself, this extra weight always sent me wildly off balance.
"Fred we can't possibly rely on your mother to make the babies clothes," I said indifferently. I knew as soon as it came out of my mouth that I had said something wrong because Fred whipped his head around at me and stared.
"Are you saying my mother's clothes aren't good enough?" My mouth fell open, where in the world was he getting this from? Never in my life had I been ashamed of anything relating to the Weasley's. On the contrary I loved everything about them. So what if I had grown up in a different life style? I couldn't believe the side of Fred that I was seeing, this judgmental man in front of me was a complete stranger.
"Fred of course not, I love the sweaters your mother makes. I just," I paused a moment to collect my thoughts, "feel like that's a lot of pressure to put on your mother." Fred groaned a stepped closer to me.
"Look Hermione, I know what you've been thinking lately," he nodded toward the small purse that hung over my shoulder," You leave that stupid journal open everywhere. I can't help but read it Hermione, think about who you're living with. When have George or I ever not been curious." A sinking feeling passed through me, I prayed that he hadn't read everything because if he had everything that I had been hoping and planning would happen between us would be gone with hardly any chance of returning.
"Fred, I...I don't know that to say," I said as my eyes filled with tears.
"See, Hermione the journal isn't the problem," Fred paced for a moment before returning his attention to me, "The problem is that you aren't willing to admit that the problem in our relationship isn't me, it's you. It's always been you. I've been more than willing to give you everything you want and need and in return you leave that for me to read." I sucked in a quick breath, rage pulsing through my veins. I wanted to scream that he was wrong and shout about how much I had put into our relationship, but I couldn't. If I was being honest, the fault was mine and he knew exactly why.
"Fred, I can't help how I feel." I said as I lowered my head. He folded his arms across his chest.
"Hermione, this baby is coming whether we like or not," he sighed heavily and continued, "and before he comes I want you to know what you want, or who you want. I can't have you raising my child secretly wishing it was someone else's."
"Fred-" I tried to start but he put a hand up.
"A while back I told myself that I could deal with it, that you being in love with Ron was just something I would have to deal with. Then I read that you wished the baby was his, and Hermione, that was it for me. What happened between us was a mistake, I've always known that, but I know you will be a great mother and I have never once wished my baby was someone else's." The tears flowed freely down my cheeks. I couldn't say anything, I was too shocked and ashamed to speak.
"What do you want me to do?" Fred shifted his weight and looked me straight in the eye.
"I want what's best for you," he said with his eyes full of sincerity, "and I want you to figure out whether being with me and having a family with me is what's best."
"Fred we can't, we've already told everyone," I pleaded with him to understand," it would be too hard."
"Hermione," he came to me and placed gentle hands around my face, "don't think about yourself, think about the baby and what's best for him." I nodded slowly.
"Okay," I said meekly, letting my defenses fall.
"I'll be at the flat when you're ready to tell me," he said with a small wave and just like that he was gone. I stood in the middle of the store, alone and cold. I knew where I needed to go. I needed to see the one person who had gotten me through the most. The one who would always be there to help me sort out my mess of a life, the way I had always been there for him. My best friend, Harry Potter.
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