Chapter 58 : Year 6: James Sirius
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The Potters had no close neighbours, and the few Muggles in the village a couple of miles away never walked to the very end of the gravel road where this certain house was situated – whenever someone was heading that way, they suddenly remembered that there was something else they needed to do or someplace else they needed to be, and so things were always quiet outside Harry and Ginny’s house. This day, however, was an exception.
That morning, the screams of a woman in pain had been heard even outside the house she was laying in. They had sometimes changed into the yells of rage, and then, sometime after lunch, there had been another sort of cry: that of a baby, taking his first breath of air in this world.
A few hours later, those sounds had been exchanged for loud voices and laughter and cooing and sobbing, and before the light snowfall would have time to fill up the little path across the frontyard, things would become quieter again, and those same feet that had trampled up the snow in the first place would redo the same thing on their way home.
It had begun that night, nine days later than it was supposed to; nine very long days, most of which Harry had spent apologizing for the fact that he was a man and could not do the whole pregnancy thing in Ginny’s place, and all of which Ginny spent being in a very bad mood.
Harry had sent a message to Healer Pemperton at three a.m., after Ginny had been having contractions for a couple of hours already. She had been pacing back and forth, sometimes stopping and bending over, moaning in pain until Harry felt like covering his ears, because hearing it and knowing there was nothing he could do to help was absolutely horrible.
“Why don’t you try to breathe slowly, like you practiced doing?” he had suggested.
“Why don’t you try to shut your mouth?” she had spat back, suddenly making Harry feel calmer – because at least the pain wasn’t bad enough to make her lose her feiry temper.
Healer Pemperton didn’t show up until they had had breakfast, and she took her time preparing the bed in the guestroom and setting up her different instruments and potions on the little dresser under the window. A little while later found her examining Ginny and, when deeming that it was not time to push just yet, making the mother-to-be yell:
“Why has no witch found a spell to make the men do this instead? Why aren’t we using magic for things like that?”
Meanwhile, Harry was standing by the foot of the bed, feeling slightly dizzy. He had faced things that would have broken most people; at eleven, he had stood in front of the man who had murdered both his parents, and he had escaped him. At twelve, he had killed a giant basilisk with a sword. At fourteen, he had survived a dragon – and yet he felt that dragons and Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort had never been half as scary as the prospect of his wife giving birth.
He did not voice his fear, because he suspected he would have to endure the Bogey-Bat Hex (or something worse) if he complained, but desperately looked around for something to take his mind off of it. His eyes paused on the Trainee Healer, who had introduced himself as Tommy Birtwistle when stumbling out of the fireplace a little while earlier. Harry admitted that the young man simply had an unfortunate first name, but even so, was he not acting a little suspicious? Harry was not sure he liked the way Tommy kept scratching his hair – was it a sign of nervousness? Was he hiding something?
“Are you sure it’s a good idea to have him in the room?” Harry blurted out, pointing at Tommy, whose jaws dropped in surprise. “How do we know we can trust him?”
“With all due respect, Mr Potter, Tommy is a good kid,” Healer Pemperton assured him. “And an even better Healer. This will be his first homebirth–“
“Do we have some Veritaserum left, love?” Harry interrupted her, looking over his shoulder at Ginny, who was between contractions and had time to give him a strange look with one of her eyebrows raised. “I’m not taking any risks when it comes to my baby.”
“Oh, shut it, Harry,” Ginny sighed. “I trust him. Woman’s intuition.”
Just then, she had another contraction that made her scream so loudly that Harry didn’t dare protest, but settled for shooting distrustful looks in Tommy’s direction every other minute or so. The lanky young man, who looked like he must be fresh out of Hogwarts, increased his hair-scracthing and also took up fiddling with the seam of his lime green robes.
Just when Ginny thought she couldn’t stand another second of just waiting, because her energy was about to run out completely, and she felt like she was going to burst into tears any second, Healer Pemperton called Tommy over to the bed to evaluate the situation.
“What do you think?” asked Pemperton, crooking her head to the side.
“Time to push?” said Tommy unsurely, and to Ginny’s immense relief, his teacher nodded with a smile.
Pushing was even more energy-draining, but it was better than just waiting around in pain, and Ginny was filled with new strength when the Healer suggested Harry leaned over to see the baby’s head, and Harry turned to Ginny with tears streaming down his cheeks and said,
“He looks perfect, Gin.”
“Can you actually see anything?”
Harry grinned. “He’s got lots of hair.”
And Ginny, desperately wanting to see him too, had pushed even harder during the next two contractions, and then she had felt something slide out of her, and a split second later, the most beautiful sound in the world filled the room – it was James, and he was crying. Pemperton held him up to show Ginny, and he was more beautiful than she had ever imagined, covered in blood, purple-ish and wrinkly like a little old man, but absolutely beautiful.
She burst into tears, and Harry reached for her hands and suddenly Pemperton was turning away and Ginny wanted to scream, because she didn’t want to let James out of her sight, but then he was back, cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket, and Tommy was the one to place him on her chest, and she sobbed loudly when she felt the weight of him on top of her. She lifted her finger to touch his head, his soft cheeks and his tiny chin and those thin little lips, and she could feel Harry next to her, shaking from crying, his one hand still on her back and the other stroking the baby’s head. It was indeed covered in hair – black hair, like Harry’s.
Suddenly, she remembered what the Healer who had examined her and discovered she was pregnant had told her – that some babies wanted to live enough that contraceptive spells stopped working. It’s quite the miracle, don’t you think? Ginny started sobbing even more loudly, because James had wanted to be born, and though she hadn’t known it back then, there was nothing she had ever wanted more than just that. Just a few months ago, she had wanted to get him out so that she could heal and start working her way back to the Quidditch pitch – and she still wanted that, but in that moment she wasn’t so sure that she would ever want to let her son out of her sight long enough to ever play again.
James yelped suddenly, and Ginny bent her head even closer to his, and said: “It’s okay, James. I know it’s a little colder out here, but we just couldn’t wait any longer to be with you.”
Though her arms and body was screaming for her to keep holding him forever, she allowed Harry to take him from her arms and watched as he held the little bundle to his chest, his lower lip trembling as he sat down next to Ginny on the bed, both of them just staring at the tiny little person who was there with them because of how much they loved each other.
Ginny reached over and touched all ten of his fingers and all ten of his toes. “Should we send out a letter?” she said. “Mum will have told everyone that I went into labour, so I bet they’re all ready to come as soon as we say they can.”
“Soon,” Harry promised. “I just don’t want to let go of him just yet.”
A cough startled both new parents; they had forgotten that they weren’t alone in the room, and they reluctantly tore their eyes away from James to find that Tommy was smiling at them from the doorway.
“Would you like me to write to your family?” he said. “That way, you can both stay up here with your son.”
“That would be brilliant,” Ginny said, and Harry blurted out:
“Did I tell you what a great bloke I think you are?”
Tommy laughed, shook his head and disappeared. A little while later, he returned with a small tray of scones and tea (“We bring some for all new parents,” he said when Ginny almost started crying in gratitude) and when Mr and Mrs Weasley showed up only about a half hour later, the two Healers retreated downstairs to give them some family time.
Both grandparents were crying. Mr Weasley went over to kiss Ginny’s head before he turned to Harry, who was still holding James, just staring at him in awe.
“There’s really no way to describe that feeling, is it?” said Mr Weasley knowingly, just as a sobbing Mrs Weasley took her daughter into her embrace.
“You’re a mother!” she sniffed. “Oh, you’ve done so well, darling. Let me look at him, Harry. Ooh, he looks like you, Gin, doesn’t he? Remember how her nose looked just like that? But that looks like your chin, Harry, and definitely your hair…”
Ron and Hermione came only a few minutes after Mr and Mrs Weasley. They too were crying – even Ron, though he was trying to hide it by keeping his head down and not meeting anyone’s eyes. That was, until Ginny grabbed his arm and said:
“Do you want to be the first to hold your godson?”
Ron looked up, his eyes flooded and his nose a little red. “My… my what?”
“We’d love it for you and Hermione to be James’ godparents,” Ginny said, and Hermione wrapped one arm around Harry’s waist and rested her chin on his shoulder, looking down at the newest member of the family with a teary smile on her face.
“Hi, James,” she whispered. “I’m so happy to finally meet you.”
Bill and Fleur sent a message with George and Angelina, saying that both Victoire and Dominique were in bed with a cold, and so they would have to come see their new cousin a little later. Percy sat by Ginny for almost an hour, just telling her how amazing he thought she was, and Teddy and Andromeda came when all the others had left, bringing a little teddybear and Teddy’s old toy rattle.
“Where is he?” Teddy demanded as soon as he entered the room.
“Over here, buddy,” Harry said, making room for Teddy in the bed next to Ginny. “Come up and have a look.”
James was lying on Ginny’s chest again, sleeping very quietly, his tiny nostrils fluttering a little bit for each breath he took. Teddy, his mouth shaped like a little ‘o,’ crawled up next to Ginny and placed a very careful hand on James’ back.
“He’s so tiny,” he grinned, and Ginny nodded.
“That’s because he’s not even a day old,” she said softly.
“Wow. That’s very young,” Teddy said.
“Isn’t he cute, Ted?” said Andromeda, who was standing on the other side of the bed, her long, grey locks swaying as she bent her head sideways to look at the baby.
“Yeah,” Teddy agreed. “He’s super-duper cute. Is he really my brother, Uncle Harry?”
Harry wrapped his arms around Teddy and kissed the top of his head. “He really is your brother.”
“Well,” Teddy said, “I know I only just met him, but I think I love him already.”
It snowed again the night that followed. Ginny was awfully tired, but she couldn’t sleep. Both she and Harry stayed in the nursery all night, watching James in his cot, just to make sure he was still breathing. It was a starry night, and from their spot on the floor of the heavenly soft rug, where they were sitting with their arms around each other just watching their son, they could see the half moon shining amongst the twinkling diamonds far up above.
Harry wondered if his own parents had done the same thing when he had been born, and he was quite sure he knew the answer: yes, they had, and they were still watching over him. Perhaps they were watching James too, watching his tiny little chest expand and shrink back down as he breathed in and out. When he finally felt his eyelids grow heavy, Harry was suddenly not as worried that something awful might happen if he fell asleep; because whenever he wasn’t watching James, his parents would be doing it, and he would never be alone in the world thanks to them.
A/N: It feels like Harry and Ginny were practically babies themselves when I started writing this story. And now James is here and they are parents! I think I'm freaking out almost as much as they will, once this little bubble of happiness breaks and they realise what a huge deal this is.
Speaking of huge deals, it means a huge, if not giant, deal to me that you are still reading and reviewing this far down the line, and I know it's been years now, but I still haven't found a way to thank you enough. I'm sorry. But thank you xxx
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