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Chapter 1 : Auburn
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Inspired by Meeting Aragog, composed by John Williams for the soundtrack of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Harry and Ginny’s cottage was much more structurally sound than the home Ginny grew up in. Sometimes, late at night, she had trouble falling asleep without any creaking instability beneath her. Nights that Harry was gone were considerably worse. Ginny had never had the luxury of sleeping in anything close to silence. As a child, there was always another child awake and making noise, or her own fantasies to keep the haunting silence at bay. Hogwarts was never truly silent, either. At the very least, there was always a dorm mate snoring or rolling over in their bed.
Tonight was one of the nights that Ginny was laying in bed in complete and utter silence… alone. She turned her head to where Harry would normally slumbering easily to see an empty bed. He was gone. She knew that, but loneliness trickled into her veins still. He did make an effort to avoid going on any trips, but as he climbed the ladder at the Auror office, he couldn’t always avoid it.
Ginny was alone.
Well, no. Not really. She was never completely alone.
Ginny rolled onto her side with a groan and rubbed her hands over her stomach, which these days seemed to be growing at an exponential rate. It was a boy. Harry wanted the gender of their baby to remain a surprise, and Ginny was somehow more than satisfied with knowing something Harry didn’t.
“It’s our little secret,” she whispered to her son, shocking herself with just how loud her faint voice sounded in the cold, empty cottage. She felt him move freely in her womb, and the young mother was simultaneously enamored with the small life and intensely disturbed by the sensation.
“Our little secret,” she repeated, hoisting herself into a seated position. She maneuvered her legs over the edge of the bed and her feet found the slippers that she left in precisely the same place every night so that she could put them on even without being able to see over her belly.
Ginny stood up, bracing herself on the bed until she was balanced. Her robe was swung over the bedpost, but Ginny decided to leave it, opting instead to enjoy what was sure to be one of the last warm summer nights before fall rolled in. Taking a few slow steps, Ginny made her way across the bedroom and leaned up against the windowsill. The night was breezy; she could feel the air starting to grow cooler as it blew into the room. The night was silent, apart from the slightly bustle of the leaves on the large oak trees. Not far from her, three large wooden hoops rose out of the ground.
“I love you, baby,” she said softly, rubbing her belly, “but I’ll always miss Quidditch.”
She and Harry had decided that after the baby was born, she wouldn’t go back to playing professionally. She and Harry had made the decision, together, as a team.They were two parts of one marriage, and that marriage had produced a child.
They’d agreed that it would be best for their marriage and for their growing family that she take on the primary role as parent.They’d made the decision together.
Ginny knew that most women weren’t able to play again professionally after having children, but… would she have been able to?
The ache in her back, which had become a constant in her life, became sharper and she felt her abdomen tighten, as if there was a corset under her skin that was being yanked by a traditional pureblood mother, getting her daugher ready for dinner with her courter. Ginny groaned and turned around, leaning on the wall for support while she let the uncomfortable sensation intensify and, eventually, fade completely.
After making her way downstairs, Ginny set the kettle and the stove and settled into one of the chairs around the kitchen table, leaning back and taking a few deep breaths. In a few years, there would be a toddler, either with Weasley red hair or Potter black, sitting across from her. Maybe he would coloring while Ginny made lunch, or telling Daddy about the funny joke Uncle Charlie made when he was over for breakfast. He'd hopefully love brooms, and Ginny would take him on rides, holding him tight to her while they flew close to the ground. As he grew up, she'd take him to Diagon Alley to pick out his first broom and he'd join in the family games.
Could she do all that and still develop get career?
Memories of begging her Mum to let her stay up late until Daddy came home from work said "no", but Ginny also cherished the moments that her father spent taking the all the kids on hikes around the Burrow. Ginny’s loved and respected the choices that her mother made regarding her career. Ginny’s mother raised sons that were, one by one, becoming fantastic fathers that held the mothers of their children with utmost respect. Obviously, the development of Ginny and her brothers had a large part to do with the sacrifices that her mother made.
Ginny thought about the word… sacrifice. Did her mother consider giving up a career to raise children a sacrifice, or was Mother all she ever aspired to be? Angelina’s flying career had been cut abruptly short, but that was due to injury rather than decision.
If Ginny ever had a daughter, did she want her to think that the only way to be a good mother is to give up any professional aspirations? That’s certainly not the opinion that Ginny grew up with, but was it possible to be as natural a mother as hers? And what about her son? What could Ginny do that would guarantee that he would love and respect the mother of his children?
Ginny picked at her light blue nail polish (Fleur insisted on taking Angelina, Audrey, and Ginny on a “Mommy day”, which included manicures) while she had to laugh at herself. Physically, it would be difficult for Ginny to be in well enough shape to continue flying at the same level she’d been able to before her pregnancy.
As the kettle started to squeal, a loud pop in the kitchen informed Ginny of Harry’s arrival.
“Ginny?” he said, walking briskly through the kitchen to turn off the stove and pour the boiling water. “What are you doing up? Is the baby okay?”
His hair was more messy than usual, and his eyes were strained.
“Are you okay?” Ginny asked, ignoring his question and pulling him down for a quick kiss before inspecting his face, which was oily and slightly grimy. “I thought you’d be working mostly in an office.”
He’d been gone for slightly more than a week, consulting with Swedish wizards about a group of criminals taking advantage of the international floos to embezzle money.
“We ended up tracking them through some mountains,” he said, bringing over their tea. “Most of the others are staying another night, but I wanted to get home to you.”
“That’s sweet,” she said softly, trying to force herself to not be jealous of 168 hour workweek.
Her husband sat down at the table and rubbed his eyes before groaning. “This week was exhausting, Ginny. Were you waiting up for me? If it’s okay with you, I think I might take a warm shower and get some sleep before going in for a review in the morning. I’ll be up, so I’ll make you eggs and toast to have in bed?”
Ginny nodded and Harry rose from his chair, spreading his arms wide, stretching with a yawn. He muttered an ‘I love you’ before turning to head up the stairs.
Ginny furrowed her eyebrows and considered letting him carry on as normal, but she felt a kick from within and murmured, “Harry…”
He paused and returned to the table, concern flashing across his face. “Ginny? Are you okay?”
“I’m…” She hesitated, not sure if she should disrupt the routines that their marriage had adjusted to. She took a deep breath and said with slightly more confidence, “Harry, I’m not sure if I want to give up my career.”
He sat down, his eyes wide. “I thought we’d decided together that it would be the best for our family.”
“We did, Harry. That doesn’t mean I’m sure about it. I love quidditch, and I don’t think I want to give it up.”
“Ginny,” Harry said, frowning, “ I don’t know where this is coming from.”
“I just don’t want to be your wife,” she said with a sigh.
“What?” Harry said, his voice turning frantic. “We can sort it out, Ginny.”
“No, that’s not what I mean,” she said quickly. “I want to be married to you. But I want to be more than your wife and our children’s mother. I want to be Ginny. You and Ron and rising in the Auror office, and Hermione just got promoted, and then there’s me. Just Ginny. It’s always been like that. People think that you married me just so that you could all be family for real.”
“I did not marry you because I wanted to be Ron’s brother. I’ll admit that it was an added bonus, but you could’ve belonged to any family and I would’ve had the same decision. You’re my wife because I want to be your husband.”
“I know, Harry, fuck! That’s not the problem!”
“What is the problem?”
“I don’t know. I’m sorry.”
She started to cry. Damn pregnancy.
“Ginny, I’m sorry,” he said, walking behind her and rubbing her shoulders. “Why don’t we go on up to bed and we can talk about this in the morning? I’ll support you if you want to keep playing. We’ll figure it out.”
“I can’t keep playing, Harry,” she snapped. “Even if my skill level didn’t drop, I wouldn’t be able to do that to our family. The long hours and weekends away… I can’t be a good Mum and a professional Quidditch player.”
That was the first time she’d thought it, let alone vocalized it. Those two things weren’t compatible.
“You’ll be a great Mum, Ginny. I see you with Teddy and I don’t have any doubts.”
“Harry,” Ginny said meekly, “I think I resent the baby for making me quit quidditch. What if I hate the baby?”
“Come on.” Harry put his hands under each of her elbows and helped out up out of the chair. He led her up the stairs and into the room across from theirs: the baby’s room.
Harry sat her down in the plush rocking chair and kneeled in front of her. “Ginny, you will be a wonderful mother. I’m not going to leave you cooped up in the house all day with no help or support. I’ve already spoken to my department head about getting time off after the baby is born, and I won’t be going away on these trips unless it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation.”
Ginny wiped a tear from her eye. “What if I hate the baby for making me sacrifice my career?”
“What if you don’t have to sacrifice your career?”
“I can’t keep flying. I don’t want to send the kids to Fleur’s so often that they think she’s their Mum.”
“No,” Harry said, absentmindedly running his hand over her belly. “You could work in broom sales, or team management, or you could work in journalism, or even get into broom design.”
Ginny nodded. “I don’t have to be a Mum?”
Harry smiled a reached up to kiss her forehead. “You do have to a Mum. I have to be a Dad. That’s not all we have to be, though.”
Ginny finally smiled, feeling the silliness that had become too familiar to her since her pregnancy starting to creep up. She blushed. “I’m sorry I got so emotional.”
“It’s okay,” he said, helping her out of the rocking chair. “You’re very pregnant. You’re supposed to cry all the time.”
“Shut up,” she said with a yawn. She crossed the hall and slid back into their bed. Harry kissed her lightly and stripped before heading to the shower.
Ginny pulled the covers back up to her chin and snuggled into the pillows. With Harry being home, the cottage seemed warmer. The sound of the shower echoed through the bathroom and bled into the bedroom, banishing the lonely silence.
She picked up the soft yellow booties that she’d been attempting to crochet when her back pain left her in bed all day. While she still was undecided about her future, she could see how whatever losses her career felt, the gains would more than compensate. With a house full of children, she’d never have to cope with the silence.
Thanks for reading! I'd love it if you could take the time to leave a quick review. Each one-shot will be inspired by a different song composed for the HP movies. Up next: Ron's chapter, inspired by A Window to the Past.
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