Chapter 20 : Chapter Twenty
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Rose became extremely pale. “She’s going into labor. She’s going into labor. She needs St. Mungos!”
I became extremely focused on the cramps I had been having. Why didn’t I notice they weren’t normal? They were signs. It’d been happening for at least an hour.
“Louis, do something!” Scorpius yelled, pulling out his wand and looking helpless.
“What do we do?! Where’s JAMES?! I’m not prepared for this!” Louis started screeching, his arms flailing around like a madman.
“YOUR SISTER’S BEEN PREGNANT BEFORE!” Albus shouted indignantly.
Louis roared back, “THAT DOESN’T MEAN I KNOW WHAT TO DO!”
“HELP HER!” Lucy screamed, attempting to siphon the water with her wand.
If my thoughts weren’t preoccupied by my going into labor, I would have found the fact that Rose started to recite unhelpful things from books and pamphlets she read, Lucy dancing around me as if it would help, and the boys shouting at one another to do something hilarious.
But when none of them really knew what to do, I was thankful for Professor Longbottom’s intervention. I barely registered him getting everyone to calm down as I tried to focus on my breathing.
Honestly, there should have been some lessons for this. None of the breathing exercises that I had tried with Healer Wright was working.
Before I knew what was happening, I was being carted off (with magical help) towards the nearest fireplace in one of the teachers’ classroom.
I vaguely heard Albus voicing his concerns about whether I was able to Floo in my state, and Professor Sinclair replying that the Hospital Wing was no place for anyone to give birth.
“Someone needs to go with her,” Professor Sinclair stated calmly. “This is the fastest mode of transportation to St. Mungos but we have to make sure someone’s there.”
“I’ll go,” Rose immediately offered as she put her arms around me. I leaned onto her for support and concentrated on doing what I was told.
Of all the times, where the hell was James?
Louis shook his head and took me from Rose. “I’m stronger; I’ll take Bella.”
“Seeing as the baby’s going to be my niece, I’ll go,” Albus stated as I felt myself being taken by yet another person.
“SOMEONE JUST TAKE ME!” I screeched loudly. “Albus, go!”
With help, Albus heaved me into the fireplace and took a handful of Floo Powder. In a clear voice, he said, “St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.”
I felt myself almost getting sick as we zoomed past numerous other fireplaces but focused on breathing. This was such a mess. Why did I have to give birth early?
As soon as we landed, Albus shouted out, “HELP! She’s giving birth!”
“Way to announce it to everyone!” I screeched at Albus as the contractions started getting worse. It was all I could do to hope that nothing was going wrong.
Immediately, several Healers came by, magically levitating me away from Albus and towards the Maternity Wing.
Third Person’s POV
Albus watched as Bella got carried away by Healers in green robes, groaning in pain along the way.
If this was what giving birth was like, then he wasn’t sure he wanted to be present for another one. When Victoire had started going into labor, he and the others were at Hogwarts. By the time they had arrived at St. Mungo’s, they didn’t have to wait long before Victoire had actually given birth. Albus had never been present for a birthing process from the beginning to end.
He reflected on everything that had happened this past year with a twinge of melancholy. He hadn’t let it show but finding out that Bella hadn’t trusted him with her secret had hurt.
Not to mention, Albus felt he had been majorly sidelined when it came to being at Bella’s side. Scorpius and Bella, though good friends, were never extremely close. Albus had been there for Bella in the times that not even Rose and Lucy knew about.
Albus didn’t have too long to reflect on his own thoughts when the others started filing out of the fireplace one by one.
“What happened? Where’s Bella?” James panted breathlessly.
“I dunno. They carted her off to the Maternity place. I was waiting for you lot to get here because I’m technically not family and I don’t know how that sort of stuff works,” Albus replied, gesturing to the direction in which the Healers and Bella had gone.
Immediately, James took off. He obviously knew the place well, having been here several times before with Bella.
“Well come on, Al,” Rose said they all started trailing after James. “I told your parents about what’s happened and they should be getting in touch with everyone else.”
“What about Bella’s family?” Albus asked, climbing into the lifts with his family.
Ethan shook his head. “I don’t know how to get in contact. And they’re not magical, so I’m not sure how that would work, whether they would be able to get to St. Mungo’s or not. I was hoping your parents could help with that when they got here.”
“Where’s Bella?” James asked the receptionist in the Maternity Wing, glancing around him as if he’d spot her.
“Mr. Potter, please calm down,” the receptionist said, obviously having done this before. “She is fine. She’s with the Healers inside. You can go see her, but please be calm. Ms. Hart needs support, not frantic worrying.”
James nodded and practically ran through the door that the receptionist pointed him to.
While everyone else was preoccupied in their own thoughts, Rose turned to Scorpius and whispered, “How did it go? You said your father said Mr. Hart still refused to see her.”
“No one else in their family is happy. Ethan knows that my father have been talking to Mr. Hart because Charlie had told him. My father did talk Mr. Hart into helping them out with money and stuff, but Mr. Hart hated the scandal that it had caused on their company,” Scorpius shook his head disappointedly.
“So he’s more worried about his company than his own daughter,” Rose replied furiously.
Scorpius sighed and said, “It’s not easy. He didn’t like hearing advice from my father. They’re business partners, not friends. But from what my father could gather, it’s causing a divide within the family. It’s like all of the adults are taking sides on whether to support Bella or not and all of the kids are outraged at their parents.”
“Are her family even going to show up, even if they can get into St. Mungo’s?” Rose asked worriedly, glancing around and wondering why her Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny still weren’t here yet.
“Charlie, Bella’s mum, and Ethan’s mum will. The others aren’t allowed to know about magic so they are assuming Bella’s giving birth in Scotland,” Scorpius explained, shaking his head. “I think it’s horrible that Bella’s cousins aren’t allowed to know. Apparently, there are two of them that she’s close with but she could never keep in close contact because of the Statute.”
Rose said furiously, “It’s those laws that ought to be changed! Family, no matter what family, should have precedence to know about Magic without being thought of as a security risk. I mean, people these days are just willy-nilly telling their significant others and causing the Obliviators a lot of headaches with the causes they have to go through because people break up.”
“Well honey, before you become Minister for Magic, let’s leave law-making to the professionals,” a voice said behind her.
Rose whirled around and cried with relief. “Mum, Aunt Ginny, thank Merlin you’re all here.”
“Where’s Dad? And Uncle Ron?” Albus immediately asked, giving his mum a hug.
“Like you, dear, they didn’t think it’s fair for Bella’s family not to be here,” Hermione said kindly. “The two of them went to go sort out how they could get them here.”
“Mrs. Weasley, Mrs. Potter, you two are brilliant,” Ethan collapsed with relief. “Charlie would kill me if I told him after Bella had given birth.”
Hermione rolled her eyes affectionately. “Because, of course, sending an owl isn’t reasonable at all. Sometimes I wonder whether all teenage boys are the same. Back in the days, Harry and Ron also didn’t think to use an owl when they couldn’t get on the Hogwarts Express one time.”
Ethan grinned sheepishly at Hermione, realizing his mistake.
“Is Grandmum and Granddad going to be here?” Lily asked curiously, standing with her mother. “Is anyone else going to be here?”
“Your other aunts and uncles will be coming separately when Bella has actually given birth. We learned with Victoire that all of us waiting didn’t work out. Grandmum and Granddad should be here as soon,” Ginny replied as she checked her watch.
It hadn’t been more than half an hour before loud voices could be heard.
“Bloody hell, this place is even better than the Platform!”
“Honestly Charlie, you’re like a little boy. We’re here for your sister,” another voice reprimanded.
Ethan immediately jumped to his feet as his family and Rachel came into view with Harry and Ron.
Several people around gaped at the sight in front of them. Muggles in St. MUngo’s!
The introduction took longer than expected. As usual, Bella’s mum found Mrs. Weasley’s presence comforting. Whilst everyone else was socializing, talking, worrying, Ethan slipped away with Charlie and Rachel to show them around St. Mungo’s.
“Arianna, I hope you do not find me inconsiderate. Seeing as our children literally don’t see us for months at a time, I usually have to find out most of James’s decisions through one of my other children or nephews or nieces,” Ginny Potter started, trying to dispel the discomfort out of her voice. As much as Ginny Potter tried, she was still unsure how to act around a woman that she had met only a few times (briefly) before.
“Please go on. Say whatever it is that you’re thinking of,” Arianna Hart said as earnestly as she could. She already felt odd in a magical hospital and needed to trouble Harry. She didn’t want to make things worse.
Ginny smiled and continued, “James and Bella apparently were thinking of moving in together, which makes sense. The two of them also had discussions about their future, which is good. I had already told Bella that Hermione, any of my other sisters-in-law, my mum, and I would be more than willing to help with the baby. My mum loves having to take care of people, so this is literally right up her alley. Bella knows she has that option, but I just don’t know if she’s told you about her decision to return to Hogwarts next year.”
A small crease appeared on Arianna Hart’s face as she turned to Emma. “Did Ethan say anything about Bella’s plans for the future?”
Emma nearly snorted. “Ethan’s letters have thinned out over the years. He talks more to Charlie than anybody else. But no, I haven’t heard anything. If Bella were to say something, I’d guess she’d tell her friends.”
“Rose, darling, can you, Lucy and Grace come here for a moment?” Ginny asked to the four girls, including Lily, in the corner.
“Yes, Aunt Ginny?” Rose asked, wondering why she was needed in an adults’ conversation.
Arianna Hart asked, “Did Bella mention anything to you about returning to Hogwarts next year? I know that you girls tell each other everything.”
Rose, Lucy and Grace shared a significant look with each other.
“I mean… she might have said the other day that she probably wasn’t returning next year, but we didn’t really talk about it because we were discussing her baby name and she felt all weird so we went to get dinner,” Rose answered, feeling completely unsure whether she should be telling this to the adults. “That’s when she started going into labor.”
“Oh! Bella hadn’t told me she decided on a name,” Ginny said, raising her eyebrows.
“You’ll find out soon enough, Mum. No need to hurry. James and Bella like to take their time,” Lily chimed in, having been let in on the secret of the baby name.
“Wait, hold up! Are you saying that you four know the name of my future niece before I did?!” Albus interrupted indignantly.
Lucy rolled her eyes at her cousin and said, “It’s not our fault that James didn’t seem to want to tell anyone.”
“Goddamn him. Doesn’t bloody tell us anything these days,” Louis muttered bad-temperedly. “It’s not fair you four get to know.”
“Then take that up with him! It’s not our problem James didn’t tell you what the baby name is!” Lily shot back.
“KIDS! We will find out soon enough, so there’s no reason for squabbling,” Hermione interrupted, gazing firmly at her squabbling daughter, nieces, and nephews. “Our concern right now isn’t what the baby name is, it’s whether Bella’s going to return to Hogwarts. We don’t want to overwhelm her, but sooner or later, this is the sort of thing that we’d like to know.”
“Are you guys talking about whether Bella? She told me everything,” Charlie said, feeling just a little bit smug as he walked back into the waiting room.
“Charlie Garret Hart! Where have you been?” Arianna scolded.
Charlie exclaimed, “Touring this brilliant hospital! They’ve got lifts too!”
“Honey, what did Bella say about returning to Hogwarts next year?”
“Oh, she said in her last letter she’s probably not going to. There’s no point of returning to Hogwarts if James was going to be off with the Quidditch team a lot,” Charlie said casually.
Arianna raised an eyebrow at her son, unsure of how she’s supposed to feel. On one hand, her daughter wasn’t going to finish her education. On the other hand, she never thought the day would come when Charlie and Bella would get along without adult-intervention.
Eagerly, Hugo asked, “Do you know what the baby name is?”
“Of course! But…” Charlie’s eyes glanced towards Ginny a second too long, an action that both Harry and Ron had caught. “I mean, you’ll find out soon enough. It’s a surprise.”
“Everyone says it’s a surprise. I don’t see how it’s a surprise having to keep waiting for a bloody name,” Albus muttered bad-temperedly.
Harry and Ron exchanged meaningful looks as Harry thought to himself, it’s probably a surprise for Ginny. Smiling, Harry patted his younger son on his back good-naturedly.
Garret Hart sat at his office desk, unable to concentrate.
His daughter was giving birth today.
In fact, she was giving birth right now. Sooner or later, he would be a grandfather. When that happened, he would also be the only important family member that Aurora would not see in her first hours of life.
He had asked his secretary that he was not to be disturbed because he had an important contract to plan, yet all he did was sit there by the phone as he stared at the picture of him and his family.
Garret couldn’t get the long and detailed text message that Arianna had sent him regarding how to reach (and see) the magical hospital out of his head.
Was Garret Hart angry at his daughter? Absolutely.
Did that mean Bella didn’t deserve his blessing and care? No.
Did he hate hearing Draco Malfoy, of all people, try to lecture him? Of course.
Was Draco Malfoy right when he said this wasn’t the right way to handle things? Yes.
(He hadn’t even known that Draco Malfoy was magical, much less that his entire family had been what they called the “pureblood families”. All things considered, it also explained why Draco Malfoy never seemed to be in the public eye. The media called him the most exclusive out of all important Managing Directors.)
Garret Hart felt extremely divided in his feelings. All he wanted to do was call his wife and ask how Bella is progressing, but at the same time, he didn’t want to receive the confirmation that his little girl was all grown up, making her own mistakes and replacing him.
Arianna can say otherwise and she can say that he was being silly all she wanted, but the truth was that at the end of the day, no matter how angry he was at Bella, she was still his Bella. She was his little girl, and he hated feeling replaced.
Garret could never understand how Arianna didn’t feel replaced when she had met Rachel; just knowing that Bella had a boyfriend was enough to make Garret queasy in the stomach.
To find out that Bella was already starting a family (without finishing school, too) with a bloke that Garret only knew as one of Ethan’s best friend was something no father should have to experience.
To lose your daughter in two ways in one day had been too hard for Garret to process, and it was still too difficult for Garret to accept.
But he knew what he had to do, regardless of whether he approved of Bella’s choices or not.
She was still his little girl, and she was his first.
Without delay, Garret Hart grabbed his cell phone and jacket, rushing out of his office. Yelling to his secretary to not interrupt him with any business calls unless the building was burning down, Garret Hart started dialing his wife’s number.
Several hours and lots of screaming later, I finally heard the first cry of my daughter.
All of the energy that I had exhausted and all of the drama that I had went through suddenly was worth it when Healer Wright handed my baby daughter to me, tears still swelling in her tiny eyes.
James kissed the top of my sweaty head and smiled.
“She’s beautiful,” James murmured. “I’ve never seen a baby’s blue eyes before.”
“I can’t believe she has black hair,” I said quietly, only able to tear my eyes away for a second to smile at James. “She has the Potter hair.”
“She’s still beautiful.”
I smiled and nodded. As Aurora and I locked eyes, I said, “She is the most beautiful.”
As Healer Wright performed several routine post-birth spells on both me and Aurora, I said to James, “Who do you think we should name as godmother?”
“Love, like I said before, that’s for you to decide,” James told me, brushing his fingers lightly on Aurora’s small tuft of hair.
I shook my head. “I can’t decide. I can’t choose Rose over Lucy or Lucy over Rose, and what about Grace? Then there’s Lily, and I just can’t choose.”
“Should we not name any? We’ve already decided on Aurora’s godfather,” James pointed out.
“I don’t think it’s right. Alright, pick a number one through… seven,” I said, listing out each of my options in my head and attempting to scatter them up. Looking up at James, I waited for him expectantly as he raised his eyebrows.
“Really? This is how we’re going to do it?”
I shrugged, looking back down at Aurora. “No reason why not.”
“Four is Rose.”
“Rose it is then.”
“Are you sure?” I looked up skeptically at James. “What am I going to tell Lucy?”
James snorted. “She can have the next one. They’re both going to spoil Rory rotten so there’s no point in debating which one. And as for Grace, she’ll understand. And Lily’s already the aunt. That’s enough privileges for now.”
Before I could answer, Aurora started squirming around in my arms and crying.
Immediately, I paled. I had not been prepared for her crying. I had been so anxious to think about what the next step is, I hadn’t even considered what I would do when Aurora started crying. “What does she need?”
“Is she too hot? Can she not breathe?” James asked anxiously, looking up at Healer Wright who was cleaning up quietly.
“I think she’s hungry,” Healer Wright suggested with a smile.
Suddenly, the realization that I was actually a mother dawned onto me. It was a thought I couldn’t quite process when I attempted to maneuver out of my part of my hospital shirt off.
I had once been told by my mother that breastfeeding connected her to Charlie and I like no other way, and at the moment, watching Aurora feed herself, I understood.
Though the feeling was extremely foreign, I felt satisfaction that I was able to provide for my daughter in the way that she needed, and nothing else at the moment mattered.
It was just me and my daughter.
A/N: Two more chapters left! (The next one is far longer... and looking back, that wasn't very good editting on my part.) There are a lot of unanswered questions that I'm sure you guys are wanting to be answered before the end, but rest assured! I won't leave you with nothing!
A sequel is also in the works! It will be uploaded after I have finished this (obviously), and once I have finished some other projects that I've been wanting to work on. The sequel won't be 20+ chapters, but it'll be a good amount!
Thanks to everyone who has been reading (who are still reading despite my lapse in updates previously). Please leave a review! (:
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