Chapter 8 : The Name Game
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After making sure his “Mistress Ginny” had all the care she needed, Kreacher happily popped away to begin his assignment. Years ago, Harry had offered the house-elf his freedom, but had been adamantly refused. The pride Kreacher took in belonging to the Potters stood strong. Still, Harry and Ginny took care to see that the ancient creature took a day off each week to do as he pleased. Those days found him in his little room off of the kitchen polishing his locket or away at Hogwarts visiting Winky. Occasionally, he could be found weeding the flower beds around Dobby’s grave at Shell Cottage. Always, however, Kreacher returned by dinnertime to the warmth and acceptance of his home with Ginny and Harry. His excitement could not have been greater when he learned that they were expecting a child. In his eyes, that added another Potter for him to serve. Serving the Potters rose head and shoulders above any other joy the elf ever experienced, and so this news simply compounded the satisfaction in his creaky old soul.
Ginny, however, found no satisfaction in being cooped up in her old bedroom, staring at the faded Holyhead Harpies posters and the glimpse of the garden she could see through the window. She told Harry after her first day enduring her mother’s ‘hospitality’, that she finally understood the old saying, “you can’t go home again”.
“That had to be written by a pregnant woman being forced to stay in her mother’s home,” Ginny whined. “My mother, God love her, cleaned my room six times today. She brought me seven meals, fourteen cups of tea, and a large vat of chocolate ice cream. That was good, by the way. But if I don’t get out of this bed soon, I don’t know what I’ll do!”
Harry, knowing his active wife would react to such confinement, had brought her a gift the second day into her forced imprisonment. At first, the slim, silver rectangle had confused her. Harry deftly flipped it open to reveal a small screen, and put a shiny round disk into a slot in the machine’s side. Instantly, moving pictures appeared on the surface.
“Now you can watch movies, and you won’t be so bored. It’s a Muggle device that plays stories out for you, Gin. Just don’t let your dad muck with it. I brought you a few of my favorites I watched through the crack in Dudley’s door when I was a kid. I think this one will make you laugh.”
He’d been right. The imaginative little film contained a tale of a “good” witch dressed in a horrid pink gown, and a “bad” witch that had the wardrobe a bit closer to the truth but possessed green skin! Ginny thought she actually preferred the bad witch. While the song the little people sang with such joy about the witch being dead disturbed her a little, she did find herself singing “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” under her breath for the rest of the day. That evening, Harry, her parents, and George and Angelina all piled on her bed to watch a sweet movie about an alien that landed in a young boy’s back garden. Ginny got a bit misty at the end, but snorted with laughter at the vision of her poor father with tears streaming down his face as the little creature clamored into a large flying machine and left the boy in the forest.
“These movies are simply ingenious, they are! Who would have thought Muggles could create such wonderful things! It is almost a form of magic, itself!” Arthur exclaimed, as he and Molly gave their goodnights and departed for the evening.
George lay with his head in Angelina’s lap and looked inquisitively at the movie player sitting on top of Ginny’s old dresser. “I wonder if there’s a market for those things in Diagon Alley. I’d have to find a Muggle distributor, but that’s not an issue. I think I could sell a load of those in the shops, don’t you Ang?”
Absently, Angie nodded as she played with George’s hair. At first, the couple had been shocked when Harry revealed their secret affair. Harry, however, let them in on how he figured it out.
“Geez, Angelina, how many times have I heard your voice yelling at me to get off my lazy Seeker’s arse and catch the bloody Snitch? I would’ve had to have been a pure idiot not to know it was you hiding out in George’s loo last time I visited!”
Of course, the Weasley Clan had been overjoyed to discover that George was dating anyone. The fact that the person putting a smile back on his face was Angelina Johnson was simply icing on the cake. The simple matter of altering Ginny’s bridesmaid dress accomplished, she was welcomed with open arms into the chaos of the Burrow the week before the wedding would finally take place. Molly could focus on nothing else now, and soon roped Angelina into using her beautiful handwriting to create place cards for the dinner tables.
Ginny, unable to participate in any of the preparations, developed an obsession of a different sort. Baby names. Now each evening when Harry climbed the staircase to the bedroom they were sharing while awaiting for her sentence to be lifted, Ginny would await him with a sheaf of parchment and a quill. Together, they would sift through dozens of names that she had jotted during the breaks she took between movies. Often, Harry chuckled at her choices, as they were an indication of which shows she watched while he was away. As they credits rolled, Ginny pulled the latest list from the nightstand near the bed.
“Elliott and Michael for a boy, Gertie or Dorothy for a girl. Gin, love, I think you may be watching too much television!” Harry snickered. Ginny shoved the parchment toward him. “Fine, you come up with some names then! We still haven’t found one to agree on, and this baby is coming in about three weeks. We can’t call it “Baby” forever, and it will be hard to register a “Hey You Potter” at Hogwarts. So, what are your suggestions?”
Really, Harry didn’t have a clue as to what name to choose. Glancing at George, he said, "What about a family name like Fred?” A soft smile crossed Ginny’s face, but George shook his head. “Nope, sorry mate. That name’s taken. I promised my brother that I’d name my firstborn after him. You know if I have a daughter, she’s going to look pretty stupid walking around with the name Fred. I probably should have thought of that before I made the promise, huh Angie?”
Angelina rolled her eyes. “Heaven help us if we have a daughter at all, George. I cannot imagine you when boys start sniffing around your child, knowing how you were when you were their age. She’ll be lucky if you let her out of the house before she’s thirty.”
So, the name game continued the rest of the week. By Thursday, a pile of tried and discarded names lay two feet thick on the table beside her bed. Hermione brought ten baby name books with her when she came for her final fitting of her wedding dress, and Harry pored over each one in order to bring at least ten new suggestions to his fixated wife each afternoon. By the morning of the wedding, she was driving everyone quite mad with her constant quizzing.
“There’s Howard, but I can’t imagine looking at a poor, defenceless child and calling it Howie. And there’s Alistair, but I always see Mad-Eye when I say that name. Forgive me, I know he was a hero and all, but he was scary as hell. That’s out. What do you think of….:” and away she’d go down her list until only Harry hung around to hear the litany of monikers she called out. Nothing she’d found struck them as the perfect name, and because she had no other focus for her energies, Ginny’s frustration levels grew.
Harry discovered that he did not know how tightly his incarcerated wife’s nerves were wound until the moment she’d looked at the windows at the gathering crowd in the garden and noticed Cho Chang among the guests. Normally, the arrival of their school friend would not cause any amount of anxiety in Ginny. Normally, she felt quite secure in Harry’s devotion to her. Normally. But today, she felt anything but normal. Turning to take in her husband in his black dress robes, she felt a rush of desire for the handsome figure he cut. Damn, that man cleaned up well! Glancing back out the window as the slim, black haired woman found her seat, the teeth and claws of insecurity lashed out inside her. Jealousy reared its head, and she looked down at her large form covered in blankets. Her feet were swollen, she needed her hair brushed, and she couldn’t remember the last time she’d changed her gown. Cho fancied Harry in school, and Ginny knew she was still single. If she had a mind, couldn’t she turn her charms on Harry again? What would keep him interested in the cow that lay before him, dressed in a floral nightie? Without warning, she dissolved into tears.
Harry stepped back, completely taken aback in the sudden outburst. The thought that kept recurring in his mind over the last few weeks had been that he gladly would’ve exchanged some of the more useless classes at Hogwarts, like Divination and Arithmancy, for something he could apply today. A class on How to Deal with a Pregnant Witch sounded like a winner to him.
“Ginny? What is it now, hon? I know you would like to be able to come to the wedding, but Astoria said you can’t get up. Would you like me to move you closer to the window?” Harry, knowing he would have to leave her soon in order to fulfill his best man duties, risked stepping a little closer.
“What is it now? What does that mean? Are you so tired of dealing with me? Well, go then. Go on downstairs where all the sane people are! Maybe you and Cho can have a laugh together while I’m stuck up here by myself. Go on, get out!”
“WHAT? Now I know pregnancy affects your brain, because you and I both know I have no interest whatsoever in Cho Chang, of all people. I made that choice a long time ago, Ginny. Why on earth would you even consider that?”
The color in Ginny’s face deepened, as well as her anger. They stared at each other, the emotion crackling between them. Suddenly, the movie player on the dresser slammed shut and flew at Harry. He ducked it, and then turned to spot a hairbrush and a mirror hovering, ready to follow the same trajectory toward his head. Rounding on Ginny, he saw his look of disbelief reflected on her face.
“That wasn’t me, I promise!” Ginny shook her head, the red in her cheeks drained away to reveal a pale look of worry. “I didn’t even think it! I have no idea how that happened.” They both scanned the room for the source of the spell, but found nothing. A slight movement of the sheets stretched across Ginny’s abdomen gave Harry a thought.
Striding across the room, he placed his hand upon the large mound under the sheets. Ginny’s belly felt abnormally warm to his touch, and his brain picked through all the books they’d read about magical pregnancies. A slight guilt washed over him as he realized the source of the magic. He leaned over, pressed his lips to Ginny’s side, and whispered, “Sorry little one. Mummy and I aren’t fighting anymore. I swear it.”
The mirror and brush dropped to the floor, and the young parents’ eyes met. Ginny giggled, rubbing her stomach gently. “Well, at least we know it’s not a Squib,” she whispered. Harry nodded. “And we will have to make sure we keep all of our ‘heated discussions’ out of ear shot of this one. I don’t think it likes to hear us argue.”
Ginny sighed. “Really, Harry, I don’t know why we argued in the first place. I was just being stupid. It’s just…I can’t stand this much longer! But, you need to go. Go help my brother get married. Send him my love.”
“Give it to me yourself, Gin.” Ron’s voice came from the doorway. His face stood pale and sweaty above the collar of his new dress robes, and she could hear the slight tremor in his voice. She held out her arms, and Ron crossed the room in three strides to bury his face in her shoulder. Harry stepped out, allowing them their moment of privacy before Ron was to take his place at the end of the aisle beside Harry to wait for Hermione to join him.
Releasing him, Ginny straightened the tie Ron wore and fought the tears that threatened to fall. “You look absolutely smashing. Hermione is one lucky girl, Ron.”
Ron dipped his head sheepishly. “I think you got that the wrong way around, Ginny. I lucked out when I got her. I still can’t believe this is happening. All through school, all I ever wanted was to be good enough for her to notice me. It amazes me that she finally did. I wish you could be down there with me today, Gin. I’m so nervous, I feel like I’ve eaten a dozen of Hagrid’s rock cakes and now they’re just sitting in my stomach.”
“Oh, Ron. I am with you. I’m going to see every moment through that window right there. Open it before you go so I can hear the ceremony.” Ron stood and pointed his wand at the glass pane, causing it to slide upward. Sounds of musicians warming up and people greeting each other floated in on the afternoon breeze. Harry poked his head back in.
“The time has come, mate. Wish him luck and send him down, Gin. The show is about to begin!”
Ginny kissed Ron on the nose, just as she did when she was a little girl and her big brother came to wish her goodnight each evening. “Go on then. Go get married.”
Ron stood and joined Harry, leaving the room feeling cold and empty as they descended the stairs to the garden. Feeling the baby within her kick, she shifted in the bed. Really, she wasn’t alone. She and the baby could watch Uncle Ron get married right where they were. She still hated the fact that she had to call him “the baby”. In her mind, the conviction that the child was male could not be shaken. As she perused the lists of baby names, she only half-heartedly looked over the girl names. On delivery day, if Astoria announced “It’s a girl”, Ginny would probably faint from shock. She picked up her list from the stand again.
“Gregory? No. That was Crabbe. Garrett? Meh. Harry, Jr? Too confusing. Aloysius? I don’t even know how to pronounce that. AAAH! This is so frustrating!”
As Ginny’s little outburst rang through the quiet room, Kreacher popped up beside her bed. Bowing until his ears touched the floor, his bullfrog voice interrupted her thoughts.
“Mistress Ginny, Kreacher has finished moving the boxes to the new house Master Harry bought. Would Mistress Ginny tell Kreacher the room she would like the child’s things put in? There are several choices upstairs, but Masters James and Sirius believed Kreacher should ask the lady before putting the cot up in the room next to hers.”
Ginny opened her mouth to answer, but stopped abruptly. “Say that again, Kreacher.” The elf peered at her curiously, but repeated his question slowly and patiently. A slow smile spread across Ginny’s face. The name had a ring to it, but she had to put it to the ultimate test. Quickly, she cast a Silencing Charm around herself, tilted her head back and shouted in her best Molly Weasley voice, “James Sirius Potter, stop that this instant!” Yes, the name worked. It was a keeper. “Finally,” she thought, “that’s taken care of. We have a place, we have a name, now all we need is the baby!”
Author's Note: Recognizable characters come from the movies E.T. (1982) and The Wizard of Oz (1939). "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" is a song from the Wizard of Oz, as well. I own neither, sadly.
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