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Expecting Otherwise by majamariamaja
Chapter 26 : Three Words
 
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CI by the brilliant misericorde. @ TDA.




Chapter 26. Three Words






"So... How are we going about this?"

Chase and Deuce stood there helplessly on either side of me, hands flailing about, scratching their chins and pulling frantic fingers through their hair. Their eyes were showing distress and terror, added with a bucket of confusion.

"No idea," admittet Chase in a strained voice. His hair looked as if a friendly hamster had burrowed in it.

"What if I lift her head, and-and you lift her feet?" Deuce suggested. "We could carry her to Pomfrey?"

I rolled my eyes while taking deep breaths. The contractions weren't deadly quite yet, but they were painful enough.

"What about her...ehm...middle? That's where all the weight is," Chase wondered aloud, eyebrows pulled together in concentration.

"Good point," Deuce growled under his breath, and started circling me, restlessly having to put one foot ahead of the other. I swear, that boy needed to be checked for ADHD.

"Levicorpus?" Deuce said, and looked up at his brother hopefully. Chase slowly lifted his head and stared dumbly at his twin with a grimace.

"You really want to hang a pregnant woman upside-down from her ankle?" he asked, eyes wide with shock at his brother's stupidity. "The kids are going to come shooting out of her nostrils! You know, sometimes your idiocy astounds me."

"Oi!" Deuce called, ending his voyage around my hunched-over body. "Pardon me for not being a bloody expert on women in labour! And I seriously doubt that the twins are going to come out of her nose if we hang her upside-down - who's the idiot now, huh?!"

At that moment, another contraction grabbed ahold of my insides, and I let out a yelp.

"Hey, lads!" I panted. "Quit bickering! Sort of in a situation over here!"

"Oh, right!" Chase said, startled. He was looking around for any ideas, but when I groaned once more, he strode over to me and put his hands on either side of my face. I looked up at him, feeling how his rough hands held me so gentle yet firm. Suddenly everything else seemed to fade into the background - the pain, the panic, the dread. When I looked up into Chase'sbig brown eyes, he closed the distance and kissed me on the mouth. My body, that was mere seconds ago in complete uproar, relaxed immediately.

He pulled away again, and the look on his face renewed my strenght. No words were needed. I knew what he meant.

He would be here for me - through it all.

And I trusted him. So I exhaled while nodding.

"I know what to do now," Chase whispered, still holding my face in his hands. "You ready?"

I nodded again.

"Wingardium Leviosa," I heard Chase mutter, and the sensation of being lifted into the air filled my senses. Being weightless was disturbing though oddly comforting. I didn't feel so heavy up there.

It didn't help dampen the pain of those damned contractions though, and now that Chase's eyes weren't around to lull me into a hypnotic state, I was doomed.

I was groaning and writhing in the middle of the air as we passed through the corridors, up the stairs and floating over the heads of a blur of students. I bet they were staring up at the pregnant girl twisting and turning in the air with wide eyes.

Dear god... I really was a planet now, wasn't I?

I cried out as an especially bad contraction cut through me like a knife, tearing me up from my navel and down.

The feel of being lowered down caught my attention, and I managed to focus on something outside my own body. Madam Pomfrey was already in full swing - flicking her wand at every crevice of my body, taking my temperature, checking my heart rate, pouring viles of gunk into my mouth.

And after what felt like seconds, I found myself in a blue hospital gown with a cold cloth on my forehead, weird tubes connected to my stomach and my feet were elevated.

"Blimey, you work fast!"

I turned my head and found Deuce staring wide eyed at Madam Pomfrey.

Chase was at my side, holding onto my hand and smiling at me.

"You're doing great," he whispered.

"Miss Adella," Madam Pomfrey said, gathering my attention, "you are already seven centimeters dilated."

"Wh-What? Already?! I can't be!" I shrieked. I was officially panicking. This was moving way too fast for me to comprehend.

"Seven centimeters? What does that mean?" asked Chase all innocent and confused. I would probably have found him cute if I wasn't, you know, about to push people out of my private parts.

Madam Pomfrey turned to him calmly and cleared her throat. "It's when she reaches ten centimeters that she has to start pushing." I heard Chase gulp on my behalf and he visibly paled. "So her contractions are going to intensify, and because of that," she turned to me again, "we're not going to have the time to transfer you over to St Mungo's. But I'll send for Healer Laurie immediately."

I nodded frantically, too scared out of my wits to respond verbally. Chase's hand closed around mine and I gripped it tightly.

Madam Pomfrey checked my heart rate, ordered me to chug down a tiny vial of blue gunk and then marched out of the room to summon Healer Laurie.

Just as Madam Pomfrey's robes had disappeared behind the door to her office, another door at the other end of the room opened and in ran Mum and Dad.

"Del?!" Dad cried out before even scanning the room first. He and Mum were holding onto each other and when they saw me on the bed they rushed over to me, words gushing out of their mouths like lava.

"Mum! Dad!" I called, successfully silencing them for a second. "Breathe."

They both gave a little start, then glanced at each other before actually doing as I said. Their shoulders fell down a bit and the colour returned to their faces. Well, Mum's face at least. Dad was always pale, and there was just nothing one could do about that.

Even during our holiday in Thailand Dad didn't get a tan, or anything resembling any colour. Now that I think back, Heath had the short-lived fear that our father was really a vampire. I, of course, contributed to that fear by feeding him stories about Dad's suspicious bevaviour, like only wanting raw meat and things like that.

It was hilarious.

"To think that our teenage daughter is more collected than we are is pretty embarrassing," Dad mumbled. "And she's the one in labour."

Mum's forehead was scrunched up, and the worried wrinkle was more prominent than ever.

"How's it going?" she asked as she took my left hand. The right one was still clutching Chase's hand tightly, but it didn't seem like my parents had even noticed the other two people in the room.

"Ehm, I'm fine," I said lamely. Out the corner of my eye I noticed Chase looking more awkward than ever, with redness in his cheeks and clearing his throat.

Deuce was picking at his nails and didn't seem bothered at all.

"So..." I looked from Mum and Dad to Chase. "Have you met Chase and Deuce?"

They looked up with an air of surprise. Had they really not seen the two overly handsome boys next to me?

"Yes," Dad said and nodded at Chase. "We met briefly when Del was... Ehm..."

"Yes, yes, we-we did," Chase stammered and they both glanced away. Nobody wanted to talk about my not-so-brief visit at the hospital a while back.

The tension was almost tangible. This would actually be an ok time for another contraction.

But speak of the devil and he shall appear.

"Oh, shit," I growled and put both my hands on either side of my belly. Chase moved his hand up to my arm, and rubbed it gently.

It was over in a few minutes, but I tell you, those minutes last a lifetime.

When I once again resurfaced from the wave of pain, more people were surrounding my bed.

Clover, Heathcliffe, Ronnie, Albus and Lily were now also standing over me, all of them out of breath.

"We came as quickly as we could," Clo panted, hands on her knees and stopping mid-sentence to catch her breath. "I was worried they might've transported you to St Mungo's already, but-"

"Yeah, apparently it's too late for that," I said bitterly.

"What are you saying?" Mum asked, and I sighed.

"I'm already seven centimeters dilated," I grudgingly answered her. And as I thought, both Mum and Dad gasped.

"But-but that means-"

"No time to go to St Mungo's like we planned? Correct."

"How did -?" Madam Pomfrey had just walked into the room again and stopped in her tracks with surprise at the sudden rise of people greeting her. She frowned disapprovingly before continuing to walk up to us. "Why is it that whenever a Weasley, Potter or Malfoy in here, an entire herd of family members follow? You very well know only a limited amount of visitors are allowed in here at a time."

Pomfrey made her way through the mass of people surrounding me, hushing them away as she went.

"I guess we'll have to wait outside," Clo muttered sourly, eyeing Pomfrey evilly as her experienced wand swung over my body.

The blonde had to punch Al in the shoulder to get him to come with her, but Lily, Ronnie and Deuce went along with a few words of support before leaving me to my inevitable doom.

And then there were only Mum, Dad, me and Chase in the room. Oh, and the woman probing my belly with her cold fingers.

The silence was unnerving. Chase had stepped away to give Madam Pomfrey some space to do her thing. I missed his reassuring hands on mine, and the tension in my stomach was rapidly making its way upwards and was effectively causing my heart rate to increase drastically.

"Breathe deeply, child," Madam Pomfrey reminded me softly, yet sternly. "You're doing great."

I tried doing as she said, but it was so hard with everyone staring at me.

"Where's Healer Laurie?" Mum asked, stressed. Her tone didn't help at all, and it only made it harder to relax.

Madam Pomfrey sent my mother a look that clearly said she needed to chill.

"She'll be here shortly," Pomfrey answered curtly, focusing on some vials in her cart. She started mumbling to herself, and then sighed. "I'll be right back, I need to get something from my office. Excuse me."

It didn't take a second before Chase was back at my side, holding my hand and kissing my forehead. He seemed to have forgotten that my parents were right there, watching.

Or maybe he just didn't care anymore?

"Darling, do you want anything? Is there anything I can get for you? Something to eat, maybe?" I guess Dad was feeling useless, and wanted something to do.

I smiled at him.

"Pumpkin juice would've been great, if it's not too much troub-"

"Pumpkin juice! On it!" Dad almost saluted me soldier-style, and was just about to skedaddle when he stopped abruptly and turned to Chase. "Would you like to help me? I, ehm, don't quite remember the way to the kitchens..."

It was a lie. Dad knew this castle inside-out.

I guess he wanted a little man to man chat.

Chase swallowed hard. I think he understood what Dad wanted, and he was visibly nervous. I mean, my father was an ex Death Eater - not just your usual father-in-law...

"Oh, yeah, I mean, of course, I'll help," Chase stammered, and then looked at me with wide eyes. "You'll be o-okay?"

I nodded. "I'll be fine. Just hurry."

Chase gave my hand a final squeeze before letting go of me and following my dad out of the Hospital Wing.

It was as if the universe took this opportunity to show me I was its bitch.

"Bloody hell!" I growled, pressing my eyes shut as my body convulsed into another session of pain. "Mum! It hurts so bad - make it stop!"

She was right there, beside me on the bed, allowing me to clutch onto her hand like it was a lifeline.

"Breathe, darling," she repeated, and I was glad of it, because it seemed I actually did forget to take breath from time to time.

Pain does strange things to people.

Finally, the searing sensations in my pelvic area slowly decreased. My lower back was throbbing so bad, it couldn't even be described.

"You did great, dearest!" Mum assured me, brushing the hair away from my sweaty face.

"Mum," I said in a strained whisper, "I'm not ready for this."

"Aw," Mum patted my hand while smiling apologetically. "It's sweet the way you say that like you've got a choice."

I sent my mother a glaring look, but just as I was about to retaliate Madam Pomfrey walked back to us, this time followed by Hr Laurie.

"Laurie!" Mum exclaimed, and I saw her face lost some of its desperation. "It's s good to see you."

Laurie and Mum hugged for a second before she made her way towards me. After a quick exam, and a few routine questions, she smiled down at me with both hands on her hips.

"It's coming along nicely, Adella," she told me. "This might all be over and done with within a few hours. Maybe even less."

"Maybe less?" I squealed. "I can't become a mother that quickly! It-it's just not natural!"

"Del, calm d-"

"No!" I cut my mother off. "I'm freaking out! And I have no intention of calming down!"

I could feel my heart thumping unhealthily in my chest, and I'd started hyperventilating - but there was nothing I could do.

I was only a teenager! I wasn't ready for this - for giving birth, for motherhood, for responsibility or acting mature. Maturity wasn't for me - I knew this after I managed to vacuum up the hamster Grandad Arthur bought for my seventh birthday!

Poor Mr Squealerton.

Oh no, what if I vacuum up my kids? Can kids fit in that tube?

I didn't even know what size my children would be! I should definitely not be a mother.

"I can't handle this," I wheezed out, feeling the sweat dribble down from my forehead. Breathing was an art soon forgotten, and I had no intention to remember - I was too busy going out of my mind.

"Of course you can," Hr Laurie assured me and put the cold cloth back on my forehead. It was a nice feeling. "It's natural that you feel some doubt in your last hour. It's finally hitting you that this is real, and that you're going to be a mum."

Thump! Thump! Thump! Thump!

"But you need to breathe, Adella." Laurie looked at me sternly. "I know this is difficult to do now, but it's essential that you stay focused and as calm as possible."

"But I-" and I wasn't able to finish my sentence because of another contraction. "Oh, arse!"

I clenched my teeth, and tried my best to concentrate on a steady breath.

Safe to say, it didn't help much.

"Good, Adella - just another ten seconds and it's over," Hr Laurie told me. I let out a tiny yelp of exhaustion at the very end, and when my ten seconds were up, my head fell down on the pillows.

How this happened I am not sure. But it did happen. Hr Laurie said it's because the body is so exhausted, and for once I was glad that my body was calling the shots sometimes.

I had falled asleep. A dreamless, instant sleep that made me desoriented when I woke up again. Of course, the thing that woke me up was the very reason I fell asleep in the first place; labour pains.

"What kind of sadistic way is this to wake up!" I growled as I went through the intense stages of a contraction again.

"Breathe," Laurie reminded me, and I listened to her. "Come on, another few seconds... Aaand it's over."

My muscles were trembling, my lower back and hips felt unaligned, and I felt my feet cramping.

"I need to get out of this bed. I have to stand up," I said while blowing away strands of hair from my damp face. While pushing away the blanket someone had put over me, I carefully swung my feet to the ground, and Mum and Hr Laurie helped me descend.

Now that I was standing, some of the pressure from my back had eased away - not that the state I was in was anywhere near pleasant, but it was less excruciating.

I walked around, both hands on my back, trying to match my breathing to each of my footsteps.

Step and inhale, step and exhale, step and inhale... Etc.

"We've got pumpkin juice!" someone exclaimed behind me, and I turned my head. Chase and Dad had just gotten back, and they were struggling to carry at least ten bottles of pumpkin juice each without dropping them.

Bit if an overkill, if you ask me. But it's the thought that counts.

I smiled at Chase, whose face when he found me hunched over a random chair was showing peril.

"Are you okay?" he asked as he dropped the bottles on a nearby bed and hurried over to me. "Can I-?"

And just as I was about to wave him away and say I was fine, another pulsating torture-session was beginning. I grasped a tight hold on the back of the chair, and whimpered as I did my best to try to stay focused. Suddenly, when the pain was at its worst, I felt Chase's hands massaging my lower back in calm, strong circles.

To my surprise, this act helped, and I got through the suffering with much less whimpering than usual.

"Thank you," I breathed after it was over. Chase lightly kissed my shoulder, and then escorted me over to the mountain of pumpkin juice bottles. Dad handed me one, and I gulped down all the contents.

This pacing and frequent hunched over breathing rituals went on for about another thirty minutes, and then Hr Laurie asked me to get back on the bed.

"But it's so uncomfortable!" I whined and stuck my bottom lip out.

But she would have none of it, and ushered me into it without wavering. I crossed my arms over my chest, and pouted. My joints were aching, my back was throbbing now that I wasn't constantly moving around anymore, and was sitting still, I had the embarrassingly strong urge to use the loo.

"Uhm, Laurie?" I said awkwardly.

"No, you cannot get out of the bed. I need to examine -"

"Er, it's not that. Sort of." I looked around. Mum, Dad and Chase were seated around me, and I felt wholly uncomfortable having this conversation in front of them.

Hr Laurie's wand-waving stopped for a second as she looked at me. She then put her wand in the pocket of her white overalls and started probing my belly with her fingers.

"I-I sort of have to go to...ehm, the loo," I tried to say under my breath. "If you know what I mean." I gave her a not-so-subtle wink.

"I see..." was Laurie's only response. This annoyed me. The urge to go was growing stronger by the second, and I was sure that I couldn't hold it much longer.

"No, I don't think you do." I cleared my throat and propped myself up closer to her. "I really, really have to go."

"You have to go?" Dad asked dumbly. "You can't go anywhere, Del. you're sort of in the middle of something."

"That's not what I meant, Dad," I said through gritted teeth. "Besides, I was talking to Hr Laurie. Not you."

"What did you mean then?" Mum questioned next. I pinched the bridge of my nose in exasperation. "Like your father said, you can't go any-"

"I need to poop!" I called out. And it was immediately regretted. I didn't even want to look at how Chase was reacting to my little outburst.

Oh, god.

What the hell was wrong with me?

"Adella," Laurie cut in, and I dared raise my head to meet her serious(though slightly amused) face. "The need you're experiencing -" Oh, the awkwardness! "- is not what you think it is."

"Then what is it?" I croaked.

"You're crowning."

All air escaped me.

"Pardon me?" I managed to wheeze out.

Hr Laurie waved her wand at my bed, and stirrups appeared right by my legs. To keep them elevated and spread while I... Dear lord, no. Not yet.

"It's about that time where you have to push," Laurie explained further.

"P-Push?" I repeated, eyes wide with horror. "N-No, I-I need to, I-I just have to go to the loo for j-just a bit."

Laurie and Mum exchanged looks, and I swallowed hard. My heart was beating so hard that I feared it would break my ribs. My entire body was shaking. And on top of that, another contraction was on its way.

"Mr Malfoy, if you could step out with Mr Zabini-"

"Not bloody likely!" Chase and I yelled simultaneously. Laurie grudgingly let Chase stay, but my father didn't need telling twice. I bet he didn't want to see his little girl with her legs in stirrups, exposing...well, everything.

Dad kissed my forehead while I was battling with the current wave of pain destroying my insides.

"You can do this," he whispered as he looked into my eyes. "I love you, and I'm so proud of you." And with that, he walked out of the Hospital Wing and joined the people waiting right on the other side of the room. I would have bet good money that Clover was even pressing her ear up to the door and hogging the keyhole to get a peek.

The contraction was different now, and I felt this weird convulsion happening, like my body was pushing for me.

Laurie helped me put my feet up, and then positioned herself between my legs. Madam Pomfrey was standing right next to her, holding some very scary and middle age-looking contraptions.

Chase and Mum were up on either side of my face, holding one hand each and exchanging glances. Chase's palm was sweaty, and when I looked at him, he was almost trembling.

"Adella." Laurie gathered my attention while putting on a pair of latex gloves. "When the next contraction starts I need you to push when I tell you. Do you understand? And remember to breathe."

No. No, this wasn't happening. It couldn't be real. I could not just be about to push a baby out of me, it was too insane.

But then the millionth contraction of the day began, and Laurie called "Push!" it was as if I wasn't me anymore. I wasn't in control. My concious self was being pushed into the background by this primal instinct that had awakened in my body.

"The head is out," Laurie informed me. "You're doing great! Now, push again in three, two, one - now."

And I pushed. And pushed. And groaned, sweated, cursed, and pushed some more.

"Yes! Just one more now, and you're there. One, two, three - push!"

A small scream escaped my lips, but I quickly shut up when my scream was interrupted by another. A small, fragile voice crying out.

"It's the girl," Laurie told me happily as she quickly cut the umbilical cord and wrapped the tiny being in a pink blanket.

"Where is she?" I asked with a shaky voice. "Where is my daughter? Is she okay?"

"She's perfect," Laurie responded while carrying her over to me and showing me the little pink bundle. It was making these small creaking noises, making it clear how she felt about being pulled out of my warm, safe belly.

I held out my hands to hold her, but just as my fingers toucked the fabric of the blanket, I groaned in pain again. Oh, that's right. I wasn't done yet.

"Hr Laurie," Madam Pomfrey warned, and Laurie nodded.

"Chase, will you hold her for a minute?" Laurie asked, but didn't wait for the answer before putting the newborn in his arms. He and I shared a look, and I saw tears in his eyes as he gazed from me to the tiny baby he was embracing.

"All right, Adella. One down, one to go," Laurie said while getting back in position. "I know you're tired, but this one will be quicker. So just summon up the last of your strenght, and we'll have this baby boy out in no time."

I gave a curt nod while breathing deeply.

"Ready? In three, two, one - and push!"

"You're doing great, dear!" Mum reassured me, holding onto my hand and allowing me to squeeze to my heart's content.

"The head and shoulders are out - one more now, Adella!"

I let out an animalistic growl as I used up my final strength to push once more - and I all of a sudden felt...emptied. It was a strange but good feeling. And what topped it all off was the tiny squeals of a baby boy.

"How is he? How is he?" I kept asking, my head heavy on the pillow and my eyes threatening to shut any minute. "Is he okay?"

"Ten fingers and ten toes," Hr Laurie said, but I couldn't believe her until I could look for myself. And when Laurie finally brought him over to me, and I looked into that tiny, wrinkly face, I finally relaxed. He was perfectly fine. My daughter and my son were okay. They were out and they were healthy.

And all the worry, dread and nervousness I'd carried around for the past six months suddenly disappeared.

But then Chase ruined all that.

He looked at me through tender and tearful eyes, holding the newly born baby girl and then said in a voice shaking with emotion three words that brought me back to a state of stress.

"Let's get married."



---------
A/N:

I know! I know! I feel terrible! It's been FOREVER since I've updated, but my life has been crazy, and... Well, I haven't really had the time nor the inspiration to write.

But here is(finally) the latest chapter. And it even has a twist at the end ^^

I really hope you like it!!!!!

Love you all, and I hope you haven't given up on me...

*Maria


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