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Actions Speak Louder than Words by Veritaserum27
Chapter 44 : Bottles and Blankets: Rose POV
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1

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The first month home with the baby was busy and chaotic. Actually, exhausting was a better word. Even pulling all-nighters at the hospital and studying endlessly for final exams wasn’t as tiring as having a newborn; because after my shift or exams were over, I could sleep. I quickly learned that there wasn’t a ‘final exam’ with a baby. There was always another feeding or washing or changing. And it seemed as if I was just guessing at what she wanted most of the time. I’d check to see if she was wet or messy and then to see if she was hungry and sometimes it seemed she was simply tired and nothing I did could soothe her until she fell asleep on her own.

The days and nights were filled with getting everything sorted out, but for some reason, I still felt like something was missing. Nana Molly said that you bond with your baby right away and while I loved her with all my heart, I was afraid that something was wrong with me. I was supposed to be ecstatic and happy and overjoyed to finally have a healthy, lovely baby — but I just couldn’t make myself feel elated. Mostly I was just going through the motions because I was so tired. I found myself simply guessing at what she wanted when she cried or fussed.

Her second and third months got a little bit easier in the respect that we’d finally gotten ourselves into a routine. The holidays offered a little bit of distraction and I did notice that having Carina around lifted everyone’s spirits. We were all feeling the loss of Selenia during that time, but Scorpius and I made sure that Albus had a lot of healthy ‘god-daughter’ time whenever he got melancholy. And Carina started to smile and coo right about Christmas time, which made Al giggle. It was very heartwarming.

The entire family went way overboard buying her all sorts of gifts for her first Christmas. She got several new outfits—including her very first Weasley sweater from Nana Molly. Scorpius got one too, and I think it actually meant more to him than anyone. He immediately put it on, and dressed Carina in her matching one. The whole family smiled warmly at the two of them in their father and daughter sweaters. Mum said it reminded her of me and Dad on my first Christmas.

Speaking of, Dad told Mum that she absolutely had to stop buying stuff for Carina—he said she’d practically filled an entire spare bedroom in their house with toys and clothes and items for her.

Dom and Albus went in together as their very first godparent gift and designed a one-of-a-kind baby magical playset. It was an elaborate contraption that took up nearly half the parlor. There were numerous enchantments and charms on it, as it was constructed to grow with her as she got bigger and more mobile.

It had one level where she could lie on a soft blanket on the floor and enchanted toys would dance around for her to grab at. They twinkled and flashed with charms that set off sparks, changed colors and made silly sounds. When she got older and could sit up, there was a little seat for her to snuggle into. From there, she could reach onto a tray and feel all different types of animal skins. There was soft niffler fur, dragonhide, and even the spiny bumps of a blast-ended skrewt. Dom had enlisted Hagrid to help design that section.

The most intricate part by far, was a climbing set. It was made of smooth wood that twisted and turned and looked like a knotty tree trunk that crept and stretched almost to the ceiling. Mine and Scorpius’s eyes nearly popped out of our heads when we first saw it. It didn’t look incredibly safe and I was just opening my mouth to express my concern when Dom cut in.

“I enchanted it with a dual spell,” she explained, giggling at the horror on my face. As she climbs up, there’s a detection spell, kinda like hominum revelo, except it knows there’s a baby on it. That way, if she falls, it sets off the aresto momentum spell so she won’t actually get hurt. Albus happily demonstrated as he climbed up and pretended to slip off. He proceeded to ‘test it out’ several times for everyone to see.

“Isn’t it brilliant?” Al said breathlessly after his six or seventh fall. “And here’s the best part! The tree knots are also buttons that make sounds of various magical beasts!” He pushed in the first one and we heard the roar of a dragon, then Al’s voice came on identifying it as a Common Welsh Green, giving some facts about where it lives and what it eats.

“Wow. You lot are amazing,” I was close to tears, as was the norm since Carina had been born. I cleared my throat. “If you two ever decide not to be Aurors, I think you could make a very decent living in the magical toy business.”

We celebrated the holidays at Uncle Harry’s house. It was, along with my parents’ house, the only place Carina and I were permitted, with the exception of St. Mungo’s for our regular check ups—complete with half the Auror department as guards.

But the excitement of the holidays was short lived. After the new year, we’d settled into the same mind-numbing schedule of naps, feedings, baths and more feedings.

She ate frequently, but was at least consistent about the times. Her sleeping pattern was also starting to become more regular and reliable. But in some ways, the routine made it worse. Most days were the same and I often found myself going through the motions without thinking about them. It all came to a head one day when she was just over three months old.

“Goodbye, my beautiful girls,” Scorpius sang as he put his traveling cloak on, getting ready to leave for the Ministry.

My heart hung heavy with jealousy, but I plastered a smile on my face and kissed him goodbye, hoping that it didn’t seem obvious I was very close to tears. I held my breath, and he didn’t notice my lip trembling. He dipped down and kissed Carina, whispering a loving goodbye to our daughter and gently rubbing her fuzzy white-blonde hair. I held the frozen smile as he walked out of the room, knowing he’d turn and give the two of us one last wave.

My breath was tight until I heard the whoosh of the floo as he took the passage to Uncle Harry’s office.

Carina was asleep, so I laid her in the cot in her room and quietly closed the door. As soon as I put her down, I realized I didn’t have anything to do. The house was clean, the laundry was done, and work…

Work. I didn’t have any work. Everyone else had left early to the ministry. Even Albus was back full time, working on cases and busy, busy, busy with everything. I usually got up early to feed and change Carina. Then we snuggled and I got breakfast ready for Scorp, Dom and Al. The latter two usually left first and Scorp hung around a little bit to hold the baby while I got dressed. Then they were off until close to dinner time.

I breathed out a strangled sob and let the tears stream down my face. The act was becoming part of my daily routine and I couldn’t stop the dread and guilt that built up along with it. There was only so much to clean in a house with five people, when one of them was too small to make big messes and three of them weren’t even home long enough to do any damage. I was so envious of all of them, and then the envy spread to guilt. I wasn’t supposed to miss going to work. I was supposed to want to be with my baby.

It was beyond lonely. The house used to have so much activity and chatter. It seemed someone was always coming to visit or at the very least, there was much to get done. But slowly, the liveliness chipped away and the emptiness creeped in. The first and most devastating loss was Selenia. But then James moved out and with the new Fidelius Charm, my other relatives couldn’t come over, nor Jax nor even Samara. Mum, Dad and Uncle Harry didn’t visit that often either, as they all had so many responsibilities to tend to.

Everyone had a job to do, except me. I missed working. I even missed school. I’d always loved studying and writing papers and making revision schedules. I never ever thought of how much I’d miss just going to work and seeing other people and using my wand for something other than a Scourgify Charm or to chop vegetables and stir the soup for dinner.

I thought my brain was about to explode, so I did the only thing I could think of. I bundled Carina up in her warmest clothes, added a few extra blankets (it was January, after all), and put her in her traveling basket. We flooed to Aunt Ginny’s house. I knew that she didn’t work on Thursdays, so I hoped she’d be at home and not running errands in Diagon Alley. I was technically breaking the rules by visiting her without an Auror guard, but I didn’t think anything really serious could happen between Grimmauld Place and the house of the Head Auror.

“Hello Rose, what a lovely surprise! Ooo! Give me that baby!” Aunt Ginny squealed, as the scooped up Carina and snuggled her dearly against her bosom. She didn’t bat an eye or question my unannounced visit in the least. “Oh she smells so lovely. It’s been such a long time since we had a baby around here.” Aunt Ginny sniffed deeply at the top of Carina’s head.

I pulled a tight smile across my face as my insides twisted with shame. Of course I held my baby and kissed her and talked to her, but I wasn’t quite so excited to be around her and I knew it was because I was a bad mother. I let myself sink into the chair across the room from Aunt Ginny and felt myself relax by the tiniest amount.

“Rose dear, would you mind if I invited Nana Molly over? She misses you and Carina so much and I know she’d love to see the two of you?” my aunt’s voice had the smallest bit of trepidation as she looked up briefly from the baby to ask me.

“Of course, Aunt Ginny. That’d be lovely.” Suddenly the idea of seeing my grandmother made my spirits lift. Maybe I just needed to be around some people who were mums.

Aunt Ginny and Nana Molly were serious experts when it came to handling babies. From the tone of their voices to the soft caresses they placed on her cheeks to the way they played with her fingers and toes. Carnia was equally excited to see them and giggled and cooed at all of the attention she was getting. Nana Molly sang some old Wizarding lullabye that I vaguely remembered. As I watched them, more and more doubts started creeping in about all the things I wasn’t doing right.

I realized that I didn’t sing to Carina very often. I’d made up a silly song about Amortentia, saying that it smelled like Carina and Scorpius and Mungo’s and Hogwarts, but I usually ended up crying when I tried to finish it up.

Just then, Carina started to fuss. I picked her up to check and see if she needed a new nappy, but Nana Molly gently took her from me and put her over her shoulder, patting her on the back. The bubble came up and she stopped her squawking. I bit my lip at my own idiocy.

“How’d you know, Nana?” I asked around the lump in my throat. I knew I was struggling at being a good mum, but I really didn’t want Aunt Ginny and Nana to know just how terrible I was. I couldn’t even figure out what my own baby needed when it was obvious to everyone else.

“Oh, you just start to know the different types of cries they have after a bit,” she shrugged.

A bit? It had been nearly four months. I was with her everyday. I should know all her sounds and what they mean. Clearly, I was no good at mothering.

“Rose darling, are you alright?” Aunt Ginny could see the clear anguish on my face that I was desperately trying to hide.


“Dear…” Nana Molly started, but she was interrupted by the whoosh of the floo.

“Ginny? Hello? I brought some fresh scones from the Ministry cafe. You know, the ones you love to eat when they’re just out of the oven?” It was Mum’s voice. “Oh.” She stopped short when she entered the kitchen and saw Nana Molly and me sitting at the table. “I didn’t know you had—Rose! What a l-lovely surprise.” Her slight stammer didn’t escape my notice. “I didn’t know you’d be joining us. Hello Molly,” she said sweetly to my grandmother.

“Joining you?” I tried to keep the bite and hurt out of my voice as Mum gave Nana Molly a hug and scooped the baby up from her arms. It was Nana Molly’s rule that the baby’s grandmother was always first in line for holding and no one was allowed to step in until she was done. I felt my ire softening, but the pang and loneliness was taking over my emotions. “Do you have a standing date on Thursdays?” I asked, surprised. I’d been at home for more than three months, bored out of my mind and stuck within the same awful four walls. Mum and Dad visited on weekends mostly, but she’d never come over alone. “I thought you had to work.”

“Well, I’ve been taking half days on Thursdays to get a few things done here and there. And since Ginny also doesn’t work on Thursdays, we just started meeting up for lunch.”

“Oh,” was all I could say. The room got really awkward and Carina started to twist in Mum’s arms, looking around for me.

“She’s hungry,” I snapped, trying to make myself sound confident. I picked her up and went into the living room to nurse her. I wasn’t super thrilled with the idea of feeding her in front of everyone, mostly because I couldn’t completely hide my scars when I was nursing and I didn’t want people to look at them. No one followed me and I could hear them talking quietly from my spot on the couch.

After a few minutes, their voices got louder and I heard Mum talking about one of the cases she was working on in the Magical Law Enforcement office. I craned my neck to hear more of the specifics. I’d never been overly interested in her type of job, but I was desperate to concentrate on… something.

When Carina was done eating, she’d fallen asleep as usual, but I knew my family would still want to hold her and pass her around. She wasn’t a very light sleeper, so she stayed asleep as they each took a turn snuggling her. I made my way back to the kitchen, trying to catch what Mum was talking about, but they all stopped abruptly when I walked in.

“What were you talking about?”

“Oh,” Mum waved her hand in dismissal, “Just some boring work details. Oooh! She’s just so sweet when she’s sleeping!” she gently took the baby from my arms.

“It wasn’t about Stannous, was it?” I asked warily.

“What? No!” Mum looked shocked. “Rose, it was about werewolf rights and protection from needless discrimination. I’ve been adding to my research on the topic, going back about four hundred years to gather empirical evidence and augment my proposed legislation.”

I looked over at Nana Molly and Aunt Ginny, who were nodding a little bit and trying not to look so bored. That told me everything I needed. Mum was telling the truth and the others were just being polite. Normally, I’d have been feigning interest along with them, but I was so desperate to have some sort of connection to the outside world, I found myself asking her questions about her research.

The conversation slowly turned to the family and what everyone was up to. They passed Carina around between the three of them, cooing at her and catching up on all the family news. Victoire and Fleur were working hard on their magical witch fashion shoppe in Diagon Alley. It was going so well, they were thinking of opening one up in Hogsmeade as well. I was thinking about when Selenia and I’d had our weekend away the year before and how much I missed going places with her. Or going places at all.

Molly and Wolfram Longbottom were getting very serious and were expected to get a place together once he finished up with his Healing apprenticeship this spring. I realized I hadn’t seen him in ages either—since before I’d been working at the ministry. I sighed when it dawned on me I had no idea when I would be finishing up my apprenticeship, as I’d left partway through.

Hugo and Lily were graduating the following June and the family was planning the traditional big bash at the Burrow—and that was what did it. I wouldn’t be able to attend the party, as the Burrow wasn’t one of the three places I was authorized.

“I-I wwwon’t be able to go,” I sobbed, sounding far more pathetic than I’d ever intended. But the tears were streaming down my face without any control from me and I was reduced to blubbering incoherently. “I c-can’t even see-ee my own brother’s Hogwartssss G-G-Graduation!” I hiccoughed and held my head in shame.

I heard a chair scoot out and warm hands wrapped around my arms, rubbing reassurance into me. Nana Molly was always the first to comfort her grandchildren—or anyone for that matter.

“I’m sure we can work something out with the Ministry for the party,” Aunt Ginny said from her spot at the table. “They managed to put extra protections on the Burrow during the Second Wizarding War, I’m sure they can do it now. Besides, half the Auror department will be at the party anyway, that shouldn’t be a problem.”

I shook my head, but didn’t move my hands. I couldn’t bear to look up at them and see their disappointment. “I don’t think so. They were all very clear at the meeting that I have to be careful at least until they know where Stannous is. I know Scorpius won’t go for it.” I didn’t want to tell them that the graduation party wasn’t the only thing bothering me. They were all such natural parents and I knew there was something wrong with me. I didn’t want them to know what a bad mother I was.

The hands on my shoulders kept up their massage and pressed down my arms.

“Nonsense!” Aunt Ginny said. “You need to be with the family for such an important occasion.”

I shook my head and the words leaked out before I knew what I was saying, “It’s more than that,” I cried. “I-I-I’m absolutely miserable! I’m a horrendous m-mother and I feel so completely rot-rot-ten but I mmmmisssss work… wwworking…” I faded out to total embarrassment at the end of my outburst in sobs of shame.

It took several minutes for me to calm down to a state where I was breathing somewhat regularly and no one said a word. Oh. Merlin. It was worse that I’d imagined. Now they all knew what a horrid person I was. The only thing on my mind was getting out of there as fast as I could, a task not so easily done when one is carting a three month old and all the paraphernalia that comes with.

I made to lift myself out of my seat, but the comforting arms wrapped themselves around me and kissed the top of my head.

“Rose, love,” I stopped at the sound of Mum’s voice in my ear. I thought Nana Molly had been the one embracing me. “You’ve nothing to be ashamed of. You’re doing beautifully and plenty of new mums go through this.” She shifted herself around and kneeled in front of me.

I looked at her doubtfully. Sure, there were new mums who didn’t adjust right away, but I was certain it wasn’t anyone in my family. Just looking at how they interacted with Carina, and all the babies we’ve had in our family over the years. I began shaking my head from side to side.

“I cried every day for for six months after Bill was born,” Nana Molly piped up from behind Mum.

Aunt Ginny gently laid a sleeping Carina in her travel basket. “I missed flying and playing Quidditch so much after James was born that Harry built the pitch in the back garden. He said he was building it for James to play when he was older, but I knew it was to give me a few minutes of playing each day while James was taking a nap.”

“Really?” The pitch had always been in my aunt and uncle’s back garden, and I just assumed it was for us kids to play, but I never knew that’s why it’d been constructed.

My eyes fell on my Mum and I raised my eyebrows in question. Mum was positively brilliant at everything she did—and so sure of herself. She was the youngest department head at the Ministry in over two hundred years and the smartest witch of her age. Mum always knew what she was doing.

“I—” she lowered her head and cleared her throat. Then she sniffed deeply and looked me straight in the eye. “I went back to work,” she blinked one time and then said a bit quieter, “and I felt it made me a better mum.” She dropped her head a bit—a rare sign of insecurity in Hermione Weasley.

Nana Molly squeezed her shoulder and that was all I needed to see.

I was shocked and could read her emotions straight away. My mood suddenly changed and I didn’t feel completely alone.

“Mum… I didn’t ever think you were anything else, but… my Mum. It didn’t matter to me that I got to spend some days with Nana Molly or at the ministry nursery. I made loads of friends there.”

“You know, your Mum was the force behind setting up the Ministry Nursery,” Aunt Ginny piped in. “She made it more accessible for women to return to work.”

“And it wasn’t just that,” Nana Molly added. “She sorted it all out so that Wizarding families that needed both parents to work could still afford the child care program.”

My eyebrows raised up in surprise, and then I sighed. Of course Mum organized it all. She isn’t one for sitting around and waiting for things to happen. I was about to say as much when Nana Molly cut in, “Like mother like daughter. You both set up new, more progressive, and much needed departments at the Ministry.

I opened my mouth to object. The Healer office at the Auror Department couldn’t possibly be compared with the Ministry Nursery. I was merely aiding Uncle Harry with a department he’d basically set up to keep me from wandering around St. Mungo’s and having to put them all on active duty for the rest of eternity.

“Before you try to denigrate yourself, Rose,” Nana Molly cut in sternly. It was a voice I’d rarely heard her use, but if the reaction of my Aunt and mother were any indication, I knew well enough to shut up. “I want you to remember that your main responsibility is to keep our boys healthy enough to come back to us each night. That’s not something to be taken lightly. Or to pass off as an obligation bestowed upon you because you’re the Head Auror’s godchild. Harry chose you because you’re the best person for the job. End of story.”

“You mean, I was the best person for the job. I haven’t worked in nearly four months.”

“Rose, love,” Mum started. “If you want to go back to work, you definitely should. You can choose to work part time, even, if that’s the best fit for you.”

“But why—” I started, not knowing exactly how I was going to finish my question. “W-why haven’t you come to see me? At Number Twelve. I th-thought you didn’t want — that you weren’t interested.”

Her face told me everything. I knew her answer before she started to speak and I fell into her embrace. “Oh Rose, I’m so sorry I didn’t notice. But you seemed to be doing so well on your own. A-and I didn’t want to influence… but of course you felt… and I just—” she stopped and looked at me. Even though I understood everything she was trying to say, I felt close to tears. Again.

My mum took a deep breath and blew it out, shaking her head. “I-I wanted you to make your own choice. And I didn’t want what I—or any other witch—had done in the past to sway you. Everyone has to do what’s best for their family and their own needs. It’s really a decision—”

“I want to go back to work.” I’d cut her off, but it was the very first time I was completely certain about anything since Carina had been born. “I mean, I don’t think I want to go back full time, but I definitely want to do this.” I felt my resolve wavering a bit. What if others thought I was being selfish?

“Rose… Rose!” I heard Mum say. “You and Scorpius can talk about this together. I’m sure the two of you will come up with a solution that is best for everyone. And I highly recommend the Ministry Day Nursery. That way, Carina will be in the same building as you and Scorpius and you could go and visit her during your break times.”

Another thought had slammed into my brain at that very moment. The prophecy and my safety. “Oh dear. Mum, do you think Uncle Harry and the Auror department will allow it? I mean, I’m not even technically supposed to be here right now.”

“He’ll allow it,” all three women said simultaneously. Aunt Ginny added, “If he knows what’s good for him,” with a knowing grin.

I smiled for the first time in ages.

Well hello there! So it would appear that I... erm... have taken over a year to update this story. I'm so very sorry for that and I promise that I won't be taking that long again. I'm very close to finishing and I should have most of it worked out soon! Part of the reason I took so long is that I feel like this chapter isn't very plot heavy, and I hope it doesn't disappoint anyone too much. I really wanted to convey the conflicting emotions of a new mum. I hope it came through.

A very special thanks to my lovely beta merlins beard, who has put up with my endless questions, insecurities, and 'what-ifs' for this story so far.

And I'd also like to give a shout out to CambAngst who has been a gentle, constant form of encouragement for this. Not to mention incredibly patient! Thanks Dan!

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