She was snoring. Again. You’d have thought all the time he’d spent listening to Ron’s chainsaw snore rattle through the dormitory at Hogwarts would have prepared him for this, but no. Harry sat up, exhaustion pushing him to the point of lunacy. For a brief moment, he contemplated placing his pillow over the offending sleeper’s nose and mouth, but held himself in check. Really, having The Boy Who Lived murder his extremely pregnant wife as she slept in their bed would only give Rita Skeeter fodder for that gossip rag she ran. Harry hated that paper. Best to avoid that.
Frustrated, he sat up. Looking down at Ginny’s peaceful face, his heart melted. The snoring wasn’t so bad actually. She had been having trouble getting comfortable all week as the child within her belly wiggled and elbowed for space. It was running out of that quickly. Ginny shifted in her sleep, rolling toward Harry and bumping him with her almost-nine-months-pregnant stomach. Gingerly, Harry placed his palm on her rounded side. In response to his light pressure, something pressed back. A foot? A knee? It amazed him that there was actually a tiny person in there, and he chuckled softly as he played a gentle pushing game for a moment with the infant. Finally, it changed position and was gone from the place Harry’s hand rested.
The dim light from the bathroom, left on due to Ginny’s frequent nightly visits, illuminated her profile and made her hair shine darkly against the white pillowcase. Harry studied her face, and a feeling of immense gratitude filled him. He never believed he would have this sort of happiness after the terrors of his childhood. Now, this woman’s light chased the darkness from his soul. He’d gained a family, and quite a large one, when he’d married her. His best mate became his brother, and her parents filled that empty, aching spot his mother and father left when he’d lost them. The thought of Lily and James stirred a sorrow in his heart. He wished they could see him now, about to be a father. A father! The very idea floored him. Settling down under the covers again, he wrapped an arm around Ginny, thinking of the day they’d discovered that their world was about to change forever.
“Hurry up, Ginny! When I told Ron that we’d meet him and Hermione I said for lunch, not for dinner! What is taking you so long?
Harry had been standing at in front of the small fireplace in the living room, checking his watch, for the last twenty minutes. Hearing no response, he sighed deeply. What could she be doing in there? Ginny never took this long to get ready. Her beauty took very little preparation, and she was not all that into being fancy, anyway. A light coat of lipstick, a ribbon in her coppery hair, and she was done.
The door opened, and Harry turned expectantly, but the vision that met him was not the radiant face of his wife. Green to the gills, her face put Harry in the mind of Hermione after riding a thestral. She clutched the door frame, knuckles white, and the color drained from her face like water from a bathtub. Panic lit her eyes, and she whirled around and slammed the bathroom door again.
“Gin, are you alright?”
Harry knocked carefully on the door, listening to his poor wife retch into the toilet. God, he hoped she hadn’t gotten that stomach bug going about. Ron had told him that when Victoire had it last week, Bill and Fleur thought that they were going to have to take her to St. Mungo’s. Ginny stayed pretty healthy, though; working out with the Harpies on a daily basis kept her in top form. Harry’s mind drifted to that nice form, and he felt a little guilty as the flushing sound of the commode brought him back to the issue at hand.
Slowly the door opened again. Looking pale, Ginny stepped out of the bathroom and collapsed onto the couch.
“Send a message to Ron and Hermione. I can’t go anywhere today. I feel like hell!”
Harry flicked his wand, and a glass of water and a washcloth appeared. Kneeling beside her, he placed the cool, damp cloth on Ginny’s forehead. Then he stepped to the window of the small room and called in their owl, Hercules. They had given the small, gray owl the name when he’d come flying from the Burrow one evening carrying a care package from Mrs. Weasley. The enormous box filled with meat pies and puddings hung down like a lead weight, and Hercules had struggled heroically to get it in to the table before collapsing. Molly’s note had included the owl as part of her housewarming gift upon their return from their honeymoon. Impressed by his strength, Ginny dubbed him Hercules. A soft whooshing sound announced the owl’s arrival, and Harry quickly scrawled a note to his brother-in-law, regretting that they would not make it for their lunch date. A soft nip from the owl reminded him vaguely of Hedwig, endearing him even further to Harry. He fastened the note and sent Herc on his way.
“Do you think it was something you ate, or could you have that stomach thing that Vicky had last week?” Harry asked, removing the cloth, tapping it with his wand to cool it again, and replacing it on her pallid skin.
“I don’t know, Harry. I was fine until I went into the kitchen for a drink. When I opened the icebox, the leftovers from last night just made me want to vomit. So I did.”
“The leftovers? You mean the pizza? Why would that make you sick? It’s just pizza. It’s not like it was something disgusting.”
arry’s black eyebrows drew together in confusion. Ginny actually loved cold pizza, and ate it for breakfast on the mornings after they’d ordered in for dinner. Something strange was happening here.
“The smell just got to me, Harry. That’s happened a couple of times in the last few days. Oh, I hope I’m not getting that virus! We’re playing Chudley this Wednesday and I’ve got to help beat them, just to see the look on Ron’s face.”
Carefully sitting up, Ginny paused to take stock of her symptoms. Nausea, vomiting, and weirdly enough, frequent bathroom breaks. An idea crept into her head, and the shock of it sent her flying toward the loo once again.
Harry sat helplessly on the floor, listening to her battle with the porcelain god, and looking for something he could do to aid her.
“Do you want me to get you anything? A ginger beer, or crackers, or something? It might settle your stomach.”
He was grasping at anything he’d ever heard Mrs. Weasley do when her children or grandchildren became ill. Not having any motherly care as a kid, this was all new to him. Desperate after hearing Ginny’s third round, he even began going through Madame Pomfrey’s remedies in his mind, but came up empty. Blessedly, Ginny flushed and cracked the door enough for Harry to see her ghostly appearance. The freckles on her cheeks stood out vividly against the pallor of her flesh. She looked as though someone had taken a quill and rust colored ink to her skin.
“Harry, would you go to the kitchen and look in the cabinet by the sink? I think I have some unicorn root, cinnamon, and astragalus in there. Bring a cup, too,” she said, weakly.
Thinking that she’d gone mental, Harry stared at Ginny in confusion.
“What in God’s name do you want that for? Unicorn root? I’ve never heard of that making anything to calm your stomach. Cinnamon, maybe, but astragalus? Are you making tea with it, or what?”
“Stop talking and just bring it, Potter!” She snarled, losing patience with her husband. He was cute, but infuriatingly thick at times.
Jumping at the abrupt change in her voice, Harry stepped into the kitchen and gathered the herbs she requested. The entire time, he muttered under his breath about not being her house-elf. But he only muttered. He knew the Weasley temper well enough not to say it loud enough to be heard. She may be sick, but he’d be willing to bet she could jinx him before he could even reach for his wand. A rueful snicker escaped him. With a wry smile, he wondered how anyone who had defeated Voldemort could worry about angering a small, red-headed witch. But then, Tom Riddle had not had any power over his sex life.
Upon returning to the single bathroom in their tiny little house, Harry handed the items over to Ginny’s outstretched hand. He noticed the slight tremble, and considered sending for her mum. If she really was ill, he would need someone who knew what the hell they were doing. In four years of marriage she’d never had more than a head cold, and she was the one with the Healer’s touch, not him.
“Do you need any help with…..what are you doing, anyway?”
He watched with growing confusion as she snapped pieces of the roots into the cup sitting on the tile counter, stuck the cinnamon stick in, and tapped the whole jumbled mixture with her wand. She turned to close the door in his face. Through the flimsy wood, he heard her reply.
“I’m peeing on this pregnancy test. If this mess turns green, I don’t think I’ll be playing Chudley on Wednesday.”