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UnVeiled by Snapegirl
Chapter 38 : Boxing Day Blues
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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38

Boxing Day Blues

The day after Christmas was Boxing Day, one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the UK. It was also the day when people gave clothes and other items to the less fortunate. Harry donated to several charities throughout the year, but he always had clothes and toys to give away on Boxing Day. Ginny also made up a food basket and donated it to the local vicarage, which was right in Godric's Hollow.

Right after breakfast, which Ginny didn't eat because she felt too queasy, they gathered several boxes of clothes that Alby had outgrown and that Ginny and Harry no longer wanted and also toys that Alby no longer played with and they shrunk them and Flooed to Diagon Alley, where they dropped them off at Gladrags, which always hosted the Boxing Day shopping spree and give away. There the Potters met the Longbottoms, as they usually did for the holidays.

"So, how was your Christmas, Harry?"Neville asked, handing Harry a basket filled with magical plants, and herbal remedies. "Sorry it's late, but I wanted to put a Christmas cactus in there and it didn't bloom in time."

"Thanks, Nev. Did you get my present?"

"Yes. Arrived right on Christmas morning. We all enjoyed the breakfast, especially those waffles and the sausage. They were delicious!"

"You're welcome! The syrup came from America, pure Vermont maple, courtesy of George's new girlfriend, Beth."

"How's that working out?"

"So far, so good. They really seem to hit it off. She's his new partner in the joke shop and he looks happier than he had since Fred passed the Veil."

"That's good. He deserves to find someone who'll make him happy."

"Don't we all?"

Meanwhile, the two witches were hugging anddiscussing Ginny's pregnancy. "You're almost there, Gin. Only a few more weeks!" Luna said excitedly.

"I know, but those last few weeks . . . time seems to drag. I feel like an overripe watermelon about to explode. My feet are all swollen and they ache and my back . . .well, you know how it is."

"Yes, with Frankie I was so swollen I felt like a balloon, and my bladder was the size of a pea," Luna sympathized. "Everytime I coughed, I had to run to the loo."

"Tell me about it," Ginny grimaced. "Sometimes, I wish the men had to go through part of pregnancy too!"

"Is Harry not being supportive then?" Luna arched her eyebrow. "Neville was hovering so much I got claustrophobic."

"No, it's not that. Harry will do anything for me, it's just . . . I'm tired of carrying around this baby, Luna. I can't wait till it gets born. Then I can lose the twenty-five pounds I've gained, or whatever it is."

"Why don't you com shopping with me and Astoria later?" Luna suggested.

"I don't know . . . I'll have to think about it. I don't know if I'm really up to it, lately I feel so drained, I want to sleep all day . . . and the past two days have been so busy."

"Maybe you'd better have a rest then," Luna said softly, her blue eyes filled with understanding.

Just then Alby and Frankie ran up to them. "Mum, can Frankie come over? I asked Dad and he said he didn't mind, but then he said to ask you." Alby cried, looking up at her with pleading green eyes.

Ginny looked down at her son, who reminded her eerily of his father sometimes, and said, "Alby, I'm not feeling all that great right now . . ."

"Please, Mum! Please! We'll play quietly."

"I want to see Alby's owl, Aunt Gin. And play that new game he got from Lily." Frankie said. She turned to her mother. "Mummy, if I promise to be good, can I go? Uncle Harry said he wouldn't mind."

Luna hesitated. "Frankie . . . I'm going shopping with Aunt Tori. Wouldn't you like to come with me, maybe get a new jumper or robe?"

"No . . . I'm sick of shopping. I wanna stay with Alby and Sevvy. Uncle Harry promised me a ride on his new broom too." Frankie also turned on the charm, reminding Luna of herself at that age. "If Aunt Ginny feels up to it. And if not, then you can stay home with your dad."

Ginny considered. She hated saying no, because they rarely got to spend time with the Longbottoms and she knew how much Frankie and Alby liked each other, and Severus too. Maybe if she took a potion when they got home she would feel better. "All right . . . as long as Harry's watching them, I don't mind."

"Yay! Thanks, Mum!"

"Thanks, Aunt Ginny!"

They both tried to hug her, but their skinny arms could only reach part way around her belly.

"Gin, if she gets too much or you feel sick, just call Nev and he'll come get her," Luna told her friend.

"I don't think that will be necessary," Ginny said.

And so it was that Frankie came over for Boxing Day.

Ginny, upon arriving home, went to the potions cabinet and took a Stomach Calming potion, then she told Harry she was going to take a nap on the couch.

"That's fine. Alby, why don't you take Honeygold and show her to Frankie and then we can go flying." Harry suggested.

Alby went and let Honeygold out of her cage, usually the door was left open so the owl could come and go as she pleased. The little owl was very gentle and almost never scratched the child when she perched on him.

"Oooh! She's so cute!" Frankie squealed when she saw the barn owl. "Can I pet her?"

"Sure. Honeygold, meet Frankie, one of my best friends." Alby introduced the owl to her.

Honeygold trilled and let Frankie stroke her chest.

While Alby was showing Frankie the owl, Severus had found his journal and began to write an entry in it for Lily at the coffee table.

December 26th, 2006:

Dear Lily,

How was your Christmas? Did you have fun with the Malfoys? After we opened presents, we went to the Burrow. I got a new self-stirring cauldron! I can't wait to try it out! But I'll wait till you come over to do it. Grammy gave me a special jumper, it's green with my initials in silver on it, a potion vial and my Patronus—a doe—and is very nice looking. What was your favorite gift? At the Burrow, Rose and Vickie were having a tea party. Rosie's getting to be as good a baker as her grammy.

What did you do for Christmas Day dinner? We had roasted turkey with all the trimmings, only I was so full I barely ate it . . .

Just as he finished writing the entry, Harry called, "Sev, do you want to ride the Shadow Streak with me?"

"No, thanks! Maybe later, I'm writing." Severus called.

"Okay, we'll be back in a bit."

Severus heard the back door slam. Then he looked to see if Lily had responded to his first entry yet. While he was waiting for her to reply, he began to draw with his new art supplies.

He drew Honeygold, careful to get the shading on her wings and face correct, drawing the owl flying. He spent a while on that drawing, because he couldn't seem to get the feet and wings the right way. Finally, after fifteen minutes, he set it aside and saw that Lily had written back.

December 26, 2006:

Dear Sev,

Christmas morning was wonderful. Jinxy made us crepes with strawberries and whipped cream, and you know how I love strawberries and cream. We also had crispy potatoes and muffins, ham, chives and eggs, and spicy sausage links and tea.

I couldn't believe how many presents were under the tree. I even got some from Father Christmas . . . even though I remember not believing in him anymore. My favorite present was the set of practical charms books! Even though I don't have magic enough to cast them yet, I can still read them over and practice the gestures with a practice wand. That self-stirring cauldron sounds wicked and I can't wait to use it!

I wish I'd been at the tea party with Rose and Vickie. We went to Aunt Andromeda's for supper and all the Lupins were there too. Thank goodness all the boys behaved. By that I mean they didn't prank me or Cory. Or any of the adults. They did, however, prank each other a little. Jamie put something in Sirius' drink that made his hair turn green for an hour, then Sirius pranked Jamie back by sprinkling Belching Powder on his dinner. So we all got to listen to burps as we tried to eat our ham and green beans Almondine and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and mashed potatoes. Then they played a joke on Teddy, making his ears grow, and he got them back by making their tongues turn blue. Boys! They're so silly sometimes.

After we opened presents from Aunt Andromeda, she gave me a very pretty locket with my initial on it, it matches my charm bracelet, we sang Christmas carols. Hope to see you during the week!

Love,

Your friend

Lily

Severus smiled when he read what she had written. He chewed a bit on his quill and thought about what he should write next. Then he decided he was hungry and went to get himself a snack.

The biscuits weren't hard to reach, they were right out on the counter and so were the plastic plates. He helped himself to three of them, but when he tried to get the milk, it was very heavy, and by mistake his hand moved while he was pouring it into the glass and it spilled all over.

Horrified, he drew back, as milk made a puddle all over the floor. He quickly put the milk away and searched for a rag to mop up the spill. He found a Christmas towel and started to mop up the mess when Ginny came into the kitchen.

"Severus! What in Merlin's name have you done?"

Severus was so startled that he knocked the glass over and it rolled off the table and shattered on the floor. The little boy jumped like a startled deer. "I . . . I didn't mean to! It was an accident!"

Ginny scowled. "Why didn't you come and ask me?"

"You were sleeping. I didn't want to wake you."

"And now look at the mess you made!"

"I'll clean it up. I'm sorry, Ginny!" Severus said, feeling like a clumsy oaf.

"Forget it. I'll do it," Ginny growled, and she cleaned up the mess. "You just sit there and don't move."

Severus sat, feeling stupid and ashamed. "Can I . . . have some more milk?"

Ginny went and poured him a new glass. "Here. And no more biscuits until after dinner."

"Yes, ma'am," he said. He didn't know why Ginny was snapping at him, normally such an accident wouldn't have ruffled her feathers at all, since Alby spilled something all the time. He felt like it was rather unfair, but he knew better than to say so. Talking back to an angry adult led to but one thing in his experience, more trouble. Best to just keep his mouth shut.

Ginny felt her headache spike to new heights of pain. It was that which made her have zero tolerance for loud noises and messes this day. After putting the glass of milk on the table, she said sharply, "When you're finished drawing, Sev, make sure you put all your art supplies and your journal away. I don't want to see them here when it's time for lunch."

"Yes, ma'am," Severus murmured.

Ginny went back into the den and Summoned a Headache Remedy. Once she had taken it, she lay down on the couch again with a wet cool cloth over her eyes. She was in such pain that she gave no thought to how she had treated Severus.

Frankie and Alby came into the house flushed and excited about their ride on the Shadow Streak. Sirius, Teddy, and Jamie had spotted them flying and begged Harry for a turn, so Harry agreed to take each of them flying. Frankie wanted to play Marble Shooter with Alby, so they had opted not to have a third time on the broom.

At first, the children played Marble Shooter quietly at one end of the kitchen table, but after ten minutes, Frankie grew restless and suggested they play something else.

Recalling the other present they'd gotten from his grandparents, Alby said, "Why don't we play cooking school? Then you can see the new grill Mum and Dad got . . . it talks! Grandpa made it special for them."

Severus looked up and said softly, "Albus, you'd better not try and turn that grill on, it's not a toy."

"I wasn't. I just wanna show Frankie how it talks. We're pretending, Sevvy!"

"Yeah, we know not to play with matches," Frankie added. "C'mon, Alby!"

Alby let himself be dragged out of the room.

The grill was out on the back deck, the sliding glass door was across from the couch Ginny was napping on. The two intrepid youngsters opened the door and Alby lifted the lid of the grill.

"Hiya, shugah! What would you like to cook?"

Alby slammed the lid down. "See? Isn't it the funniest thing?"

Frankie was giggling. "Oh, it's hilarious!" she gasped. "Let's do it again!"

The grill cover banged up and down two more times, and each time it was accompanied by gales of giggles.

The grill banging up and down aggravated Ginny's headache until she sat up and glared at the two children. "Albus Severus, you stop banging that grill right now! It's your dad's and you could break it. Now leave it be and go play!"

"But Mum . . . we were playing!" Alby objected.

"We were playing cooking school, Aunt Ginny," Frankie explained.

"That game's over, now find another one," Ginny ordered wearily, then she lay back down again.

So Alby and Frankie went down into the yard and watched the Lupin boys flying with Harry. But pretty soon Alby was playing tag with Frankie and he ran and hid behind the grill.

Frankie thundered up the stairs and picked up the grill cover again. "I don't need to cook anything yet!" she said, giggling.

"Okay, y'all come back now!" the grill crooned.

Both Alby and Frankie burst out laughing and shut the grill cover, but it was too heavy and it clanged down.

The sound was like a death knell and Ginny woke and was furious. "Albus Severus Potter, how many times must I tell you don't play with your father's grill?"

"Frankie played with it first."

"Come in here right now!"

Alby could tell he was in big trouble, and the last thing he wanted was to go inside by his mother. "No . . . I don't want to!"

"Excuse me?" Ginny cried. "Now, young man!"

Alby stubbornly remained where he was.

By then Ginny had had it. She walked over to the sliding door and reached out and dragged her disobedient child inside. "When I say to come here, Albus Severus, you listen!"

Severus turned to see what was going on. He had heard Ginny yelling at Frankie and Alby for touching the grill and figured they would stop doing it. Only they hadn't. He winced when he saw Ginny turn Alby around , bend him over, and give him four stinging smacks on the bottom.

Alby bawled loudly. "Sorry, Mummy!"

Ginny released him and pointed to his room. "Go to your room, young man! You have five minutes to think about what you did."

Still crying, Alby went to his room, one hand over his now sore backside.

Frankie was looking at Ginny in alarm, wondering if she was next, but all Ginny said was, "Go and sit on the couch, Frances, for five minutes."

Frankie obeyed, sitting quietly on the sofa.

Ginny half-turned away from her, putting a hand to her face. Now not only was her headache worse, she felt unaccountably guilty about punishing her son. All of the anger drained out of her and now she felt tears well up in her eyes and she closed them as tears suddenly trickled down her face.

Severus watched and struggled to understand why Ginny would be crying over giving Alby a deserved spanking. Or maybe it was something else she was crying over? "Ginny . . . are you all right?"

"Yes . . . it's just . . . I'm just . . . damn hormones!" she sniffled. "Where's Harry got to?"

"He's outside, letting Sirius, Teddy, and Jamie take turns on his broom with him," Frankie said.

"Oh." Ginny groaned. "Sev, please go and tell him he needs to come inside and watch Alby and Frankie." Then she went to lay down again.

Severus ran to do as he was told.

Harry came in a moment later, hung up the Shadow Streak, and made sure the wards were activated so no little child could remove the broom from the wall. "What's wrong, Gin?" he asked gently.

Ginny sat up and growled at her husband. "Where were you? You promised to watch them, not give rides to every kid in the neighborhood, Harry James! I have a terrible headache and they kept banging the grill cover up and down even after I told them not to two times already! Then your son refused to come when I said to and I . . . I had to spank him! And I put Frankie in time out too!"

Suddenly she was leaking tears again, as her emotions swung like a pendulum from anger and indignation to guilt and sorrow.

"Hey, don't cry," Harry soothed, hugging her and giving her a handkerchief. "I'm sorry, but I thought they were going to play a game till I came back in." He looked over at Frankie. "Frankie, what happened to playing Marble Shooter?"

"We played it, but then I got bored and we wanted to play cooking school . . ." Her lower lip trembled. "Please don't send me home, Uncle Harry! I didn't mean to get in trouble."

Harry sighed. "You get one more chance. Now, where's Alby?"

"In his room," Ginny replied.

Harry turned and went down the hall.

He found his son curled on his side on the bed, sniffling.

"Albus, why were you playing with my grill?" asked Harry quietly.

Alby turned around and said, "I don't know, Daddy! I just . . . wanted to show Frankie how it talked. Mummy spanked me."

"I know. Why didn't you listen to her when she told you to come inside?"

"Umm . . .because I didn't want her to spank me."

"Did she say she was?"

"No."

"And instead you disobeyed her and got a spanking anyway," Harry sighed.

Alby nodded miserably. "I'm sorry, Daddy."

Harry went and hugged him. "I know, son. Just don't do it again."

"Is Mummy still mad at me?"

"No. Your mum's not been feeling well lately, that's why she gets cross so easily." Harry said. "Why don't you come in the kitchen with me and we'll make lunch? How does grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches sound?"

"Good." Alby threw his arms about his father's neck. "Can you hold me a little longer?"

"Sure I can," Harry said, and he carried his son into the kitchen. "Frankie, would you like to help make lunch?"

"Okay!" she called, before remembering she was supposed to talk quietly. "Oops! Sorry, Aunt Ginny,' she whispered contritely.

He had Frankie bring him the bread and tomatoes and cheese, and Alby buttered the slices and got the little griddle out. Then Harry sliced the tomatoes.

Severus was writing in his journal again, telling how cross Ginny had been today and how she had yelled at him for spilling a glass of milk and how Alby had gotten in trouble as well.

. . . she's been horribly grouchy and cross, and the next minute she's crying. I don't get it,Lil. Why are pregnant women boiling mad one minute and the next they're crying all over the place?

Sev

Harry and his two helpers started making the grilled cheese sandwiches while Severus waited for a reply from Lily. Soon he had her answer.

Sev,

A lot of times expecting women are cross because they're in pain and sometimes they cry a lot because their hormones are all out of whack. Or so my mum told me when I asked her about it in my first life. So try and forgive her, okay? It's tough carrying a baby around for nine months.

Looks like it's the day for everybody to get in trouble. Cory and I went to feed the koi in the pond and we accidentally gave them too much food. Grandpa Luc said it was an accident, but Daddy was mad, he yelled at us for not asking permission first and said we could have killed his fish by overfeeding them. But he managed to get all the extra food out. Then he made me and Cory go sit in our rooms for ten minutes. I felt really bad about almost killing his fish. I'd never deliberately hurt an animal. When he came in to tell me I was done with my time out, I told him so and I cried a little. But he said it was all right and he forgave me.

Later tonight I'm going to read another mythology story to Cory before bedtime. So far I've read about Zeus and the Greek Gods fighting the Titans. I think tonight I'm going to read about the adventures of Loki.

Gotta go, Mum just came back from shopping and she wants to show me something. Hope you have a better evening.

Lily

"Severus, lunch is ready," Harry said.

Severus carefully set his quill and journal aside and took the plate with the grilled cheese sandwich Harry handed him. With it were crisps and another glass of milk. "Thanks."

Alby and Frankie joined him at the table along with Harry. For several minutes, no one spoke, they were too busy enjoying their sandwiches. Finally, Frankie asked, "Whatcha drawing, Sevvy?"

Severus shrugged. "Right now I'm drawing Honeygold."

"Are you going to paint her too?"

"Maybe. When I get good enough." Severus said.

"Can I draw too?"

Severus hesitated, He wasn't sure he wanted little kids touching his new art supplies. He bit his lip. "Well . . ."

"Why don't I get you your own pad and pencils to draw with?" Harry said, understanding Severus' reluctance. "You can all draw a picture for someone here at the table." He summoned extra drawing pads and Alby's set of pencils and crayons. "There you go!"

He cleaned up the dishes with a quick cleaning charm and went out to see how Ginny was doing.

"Gin? You feeling any better?" he asked softly.

His wife shook her head. "I feel like dragon dung. I'm so achy and my head feels like I took a Bludger to it."

Harry winced. Then he sat down on the arm of the couch and asked, "Would you like me to massage it for you?"

"Please."

"All right. Sit up so I can get over here." He waited until she was sitting before moving into the space she had vacated and then putting her head in his lap. He began to massage very gently along her temples and the back of her neck. "Merlin, but you're tight back here," he murmured, pressing firmly. Ginny gasped. "Sorry, am I hurting you?"

"No. It feels so good. Please, don't stop."

Harry gladly obliged her by continuing to massage her temples, working his way across her forehead and gently massaging by her eyes. "How's that? Better?"

"Much. I owe Alby an apology for losing my temper with him. And Severus too. I screamed at him from dropping a glass of milk on the floor. I don't know what's wrong with me, Harry. I feel like I can't control myself. One minute I'm smiling, the next I want to tear someone apart and then I'm bawling my eyes out."

"It's the hormones. Maybe you need a Draught of Peace?"

"I wish I could take that, but Poppy said that's too strong for me when I'm pregnant."

"How about a regular Calming Draught?"

"Yes, that I can have. I should have thought about it before."

"Let me get it for you."

After she had taken the Calming Draught, she felt more like herself. But she was still tired, so she let Harry continued massaging until she fell asleep.

Harry tucked a blanket about her and went into the kitchen to see what the kids had drawn.

Frankie had drawn a fantastic beast with a lion's head and a horse's body and eagle wings. When he asked her what it was called she said it was leogriff. Alby had drawn himself on a broom, catching a Snitch. Severus had just finished coloring in his picture of Honeygold.

"Very nice, all of you. Now, why don't we go into the TV Room and watch something, or I can read a story to you?"

The kids all voted on a story, and Severus cleaned up his art supplies and put them away. Then he joined the others on the couch and listened to Harry read The Elephant's Child, by Rudyard Kipling. Despite the quick pace of the story, Alby and Frankie soon fell asleep. Only Severus stayed up to hear the story to the end, then he too succumbed to an urge to nap.

Neville came to pick up Frankie soon afterwards, taking his child and her artwork home.

Harry went and made sure all the doors were locked and Honeygold was on her perch before he also took a nap.

By the time dinner rolled around, the whole family was rested and in a better mood. Ginny apologized to both her sons and they forgave her for her crabbiness. Harry cooked steaks on the new grill and everyone laughed at the grill's witty comments.

"You need to add a little more spice on your meat, shug! Don't cha like it hot? I do!"

Dinner was delicious, and they had plenty of dessert left over from Christmas. Afterwards, they all sat in the den and tried to come up with names for the baby. Everyone had to put in five girl names and five boy names and then Harry and Ginny would pick the one they liked best.

All of them still hoped for a girl, but one never knew if one's prayers would be answered.

Page~*~*~*~Break

Three weeks later:

Alby and Severus' birthday had been celebrated quietly, the boys wanted to have a party at the end of the month with Lily rather than two separate ones, so just family celebrated their actual birthday on January 9th. Severus turned six and Alby five. Severus received his own training broom and Alby got tickets to the wizard zoo Paws and Claws, he had always wanted to go there.

Classes had resumed after New Years, and all the students were studying hard. January was an extremely cold month, it snowed almost everyday, and the professors had to cast Warming Charms on some students before they went outside for class in the greenhouse.

Ginny took maternity leave, there was no way she could run flying class now. There was a constant pressure in her lower back and abdomen, and she was getting check-ups daily by Poppy now. The mediwitch reassured her that the baby was doing well and slowly getting into position to be born. The baby was active and kicking Ginny every chance it got, until Ginny marveled that she wasn't bruised inside all over.

Hermione too was showing, and she said she feared her husband was right and she was having twins. "Poppy says it's too early to tell yet, but it's possible. I'm not sure I want to know." She told Ginny after one of her routine checkups.

"I'm glad I'm not having twins," Ginny said. "Three's about all I can handle right now."

"I don't blame you. I could never do what your mum did."

"Me neither!" Ginny said.

They had enrolled Severus in Miss Patil's class, which meant Alby had only Cory, Rose, Lily, and Frankie to play with. At least until Lily and Frankie turned six.

On January 20th, Ginny woke feeling out of sorts. She ate her usual breakfast of toast, a hardboiled egg, and some fruit. She took her potions for the day, then decided to go back to bed. Her back was killing her.

Harry had a meeting with his Gryffindors after supper that night, a supper that Ginny didn't attend because she felt too tired. When he got back to his quarters he found his wife tossing and turning. He gave her a massage and had her drink some tea and eat some toast.

Severus and Alby, sensing Ginny was ill, were very quiet that night. Severus did his homework and read for awhile before falling asleep early. Alby played with Honeygold and then he too went to sleep.

Harry graded papers until his eyes were crossing, then he went to sleep.

Around one in the morning, Ginny was woken by a sudden cresting wave of intense pressure. She sat up as a contraction rippled through her and began counting. They were only ten minutes apart. As she stood up, she felt something gush out of her and she looked down and saw a puddle of water. "Harry!" she called. "Harry!"

Harry woke almost instantly. "Ginny, what is it? Is the baby coming?"

"Oh, yes. The baby's coming. This one's going even faster, Harry." Ginny panted.

Harry used magic to dress himself and helped Ginny into a clean nightgown. "How far apart are the contractions?"

"About . . . ten minutes, I think."

"Okay, let me call a house elf to watch the boys while I bring you to the Hospital Wing. I sure hope Poppy remembers how to deliver a baby." Harry said, letting Ginny lean on his arm.

"Harry! You ought to be glad she didn't hear you say that, she'd box your ears," Ginny chuckled weakly. She trusted Poppy, but she was getting anxious. She tried doing her breathing exercises. "Stay put, baby, until your mama gets to the Hospital Wing. I don't want to have you in the middle of the corridor. It might cause a panic."

More contractions rippled through her, coming stronger and faster. "Oohh! Harry, let's go. Before you end up delivering the baby right here!"

"No way! Come on, love. Tessa will look after the boys. Hopefully by the time they wake up, they'll have a new brother or sister." He gently took Ginny's arm and they left the suite and walked down the hall towards the infirmary. "One twenty AM," he said, looking at his watch. "Looks like this baby's a night owl."

"Or a really early riser!" Ginny said through gritted teeth. The walk down to the Hospital Wing had never seemed so long.

Harry drew his wand and sent out his Patronus to alert Poppy that they were on their way. Then he half-carried and half-levitated his wife down the hall. "You're doing fine, Gin. Just keep breathing like that. Great! We're almost there."

Ginny turned, sweat beading on her brow, and said hoarsely, "Harry, dear, do me a favor?"

"Anything."

"Shut up. I need to concentrate."

Harry obeyed. Finally they entered the Hospital Wing, where Poppy awaited them in medical scrubs, a birthing chair prepped and ready. She gave them an encouraging smile. "Looks like someone picked a fine night to be born."

A/N: What do you think the baby will be-a boy or girl?
 


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