|SIYE Time:11:35 on 22nd February 2018|
The Bravest Person
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Genres: Angst, Drama
Story is Complete
Summary: How does a father feel while he's waiting?
Hitcount: Story Total: 9618
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Written for the prompt 'What happened to Harry when Ginny went into labour?' in the PotterFicWeekly Valentine's Day fic challenge.
“But at home?” asked Harry incredulously. He stared at Ginny helplessly. “Why?”
“Everything went so well with James,” Ginny said patiently, as if she had been saying this for weeks, which she had. “There is no reason for us to go to St Mungo’s.”
“But James was born there,” Harry argued weakly. He didn’t know how to put into words how the very idea of having a baby at home scared him silly. He paced around the bedroom nervously.
“Things will be so much better at home,” insisted Ginny. “I don’t want to go to the hospital. I want to be at home with you and James and just be … at home.”
“But what if something goes wrong?”
“There will be a midwife,” Ginny said patiently. “She will know what to do. Besides it will be so much more private.”
“I’ll think about it,” groused Harry moodily as he grabbed a towel and opened the door to their bathroom.
“I still think you are mad.”
“I’m not mad,” said Ginny patiently. “This is how I want to do it. I don’t want to be in the hospital and I don’t want to have any potions.”
“But you’ll be in pain,” protested Harry. “And what if something goes wrong?”
“Why would anything go wrong? I’m perfectly healthy, the baby is healthy,” Ginny insisted. “Potion free is better for the baby and my recovery. There are other ways to deal with the pain. Nothing will go wrong.”
“I don’t want you to be in pain.”
“Well it’s not your pain is it?” Ginny finally snapped. Harry just sat numbly and shook his head. Of course it wasn’t, she was the one having this baby. She was right, of course she was.
“You can’t just stay at home anyway, Ginny.”
“Why not? I’m the one having this baby, not him. Why don’t I get to say where he’s born?”
“Could be a girl,” said Ron, wandering in from the kitchen with a biscuit.
“I’m a Weasley,” retorted Ginny. Ron shook his head at her.
“Is being knocked up addling your brains?” he asked. “Mum and dad have got six grandkids and four of them are girls! Weasley girls being rare are a thing of the past little sister!” Ron puffed out his own chest importantly, the way he had when Rose was born. Only Ginny and George had given Molly and Arthur grandsons and their sons took great pleasure in presenting their mother with each new pink bundle.
“Well, it’s a fine thing that the only male to carry on the Weasley name is Little Fred,” muttered Ginny grumpily.
“Is someone moody about losing their special status?” teased Ron, pulling her ponytail as he passed to throw himself on the couch.
“Hey, get your feet off my couch!” she grouched. Ron swung his feet off the couch and onto the coffee table. Ginny leaned over with a great deal off effort and managed to swipe at his feet about three metres from her target.
“It is amusing that so far none of the Weasley grandchildren have red hair,” Hermione mused as she settled next to Ron with little brown haired Rose and began to feed her.
Bill’s two daughters had inherited their mother’s fair hair. It could only be called red if you looked at it in the sun with your eyes squinted and your head titled sideways. Percy’s little Molly was completely bald so far but from what anyone could tell she would have mousy brown hair like her mother. Young Fred Weasley was his mother’s son all over and Lee Jordan was trying to convince George and Angelina to give the three year old dreadlocks. No one had been surprised that James Sirius Potter had been born with a mop of messy black hair to rival his father’s.
“Maybe this one will have red hair,” murmured Ginny, smoothing her hand over her belly. “If he ever gets here.”
“She’s only a week late,” said Ron, stroking his daughter’s downy head as her mother nursed her. “And she’ll be worth the wait.” Hermione smiled up at her husband and Ron pressed a kiss to her lips.
“Oh stop it,” groaned Ginny. “I’m trapped in this chair until Harry comes back down to haul me out, don’t make me watch you!”
“Harry will be just as sickening with you,” retorted Ron. “I swear he gets more touchy feely when you look like you’ve got a Quaffle up your shirt.”
“You are all class and sensitivity, Ron,” snapped Ginny.
“But I don’t mind,” added Ron, speaking softly. “He’s happy. Being a dad makes him happy. You make him happy. Thank you.” Ginny smiled at Ron.
“You’re welcome,” she whispered.
“Fine,” Harry sighed, with not a little trepidation. “You can have the baby here.”
“We will have the baby here,” said Ginny, winding her arms around his waist. She winced and leant her head on Harry’s shoulder. Harry rubbed her lower back.
“Dirty trick,” Harry murmured, pressing a kiss to her hair. “How am I supposed to refuse you anything while you are in labour?” Ginny’s laugh turned into a sob as pain rippled through her.
“You’re not,” she said. “You are supposed to promise me the world and buy me diamonds and let me name the baby.”
“I’ll buy you diamonds,” Harry murmured. “I already gave you the world.”
“Prat,” said Ginny, smacking his arm. She straightened up, the pain having eased. “What about naming the baby?” Harry shrugged.
“Well, we’ve got a first name,” he said. “Only need a middle name.” Ginny picked up the baby name book from the coffee table.
“Here, you spend some time picking one for him,” she said, tossing him the book. “I’m going to, oh I don’t know, distract myself. I might make some muffins.” She waddled off into the kitchen and Harry clutched the book, staring after her distractedly.
“Might be a girl,” he murmured to no one.
“I want diamonds and rubies for this,” growled Ginny clutching the back of the couch. “This is the worst pain I have ever been in.”
“I know, I’m sorry,” said Harry helplessly, reaching out to rub Ginny’s back.
“Don’t touch me,” his wife ground out. Harry let his hand drop uselessly to his side. “And why are you sorry? It’s not your fault.” She straightened up a little, still rocking slightly from side to side.
“Well, I got you pregnant,” Harry started.
“Oh, I recall me being a willing participant in that,” said Ginny with a trace of the seduction that got them into this predicament in the first place.
“Look we can still go to the hospital if you want to,” Harry said, moving towards Ginny and taking her in his arms, rocking the both of them. “You can get a potion.” Ginny shook her head wordlessly as another wave of pain rolled over her. Harry held her as she gripped his shirt and let out a low moan.
“Don’t let go of me,” she whimpered in complete contrast to her earlier admonition. Harry shook his head, trying to swallow the lump in his throat. “Don’t let go. I don’t need any potion; I can do anything as long as I’m with you.”
Harry didn’t know how to tell her he was falling apart.
“Whe re’s James?” Ginny mumbled, her face buried in Harry’s chest.
“He’s with Ron,” said Harry as he smoothed her hair back from her face and wiped the sweat away. “He’s fine, don’t worry about James. Just worry about Lily.”
“Albus,” said Ginny through gritted teeth as another wave of pain gripped her.
“Yeah, Albus,” said Harry as he rubbed his wife’s back, trying to ignore the tears dripping down his own cheeks, “just worry about Albus.”
Ginn y had decided that she’d like some space and had been in the shower for half an hour and had not let anyone touch her more than to check the baby’s heartbeat. Deciding suddenly, twenty minutes ago, she couldn’t have the baby until he had a middle name, she had refused to let Harry near her and shoved the baby name book at him before throwing a handful of Floo powder into the fireplace erratically between contractions and fire-called Hermione to come and hold her hand.
“I’ll just name the kid after myself,” muttered Harry throwing the book across the room as Ginny let out another groan from the shower.
“Lily Harry, nice ring to it,” grinned Ron from the doorway where he had just ducked the flying book. Harry dropped his head into his hands.
“Where’s James?” he muttered as Ginny moaned again.
“Mum came over, she’s got him and Rose,” answered Ron. “She sent me over here, to help.”
“And how exactly are you helping, Ron?” Hermione asked pointedly as she stuck her head out from the bathroom doorway. Ginny shouted in pain and Harry gripped the arm of the chair he was sitting in.
“I think she sent me over to help Harry,” Ron answered quietly as Harry darted into the bathroom.
“Where did you go?” whimpered Ginny pitifully as Harry reached into the shower to push the hair back from her eyes.
“Nowhere,” whispered Harry. “I’m right here.” Ginny clutched his arm, rocking back and forth under the streaming water.
“What is his name?” she rasped as she leaned against the wall and let out another wail that rose in pitch the longer it went on.
“I don’t know,” said Harry, stepping into the shower, fully dressed and sliding his arms around Ginny to support her weight. “I don’t know his name.” His tears mingled with the water running down both their faces as he cried while his wife leaned against him and screamed.
“Y ou’re dong wonderfully Ginny,” soothed the midwife as she wiped Ginny’s sweat-covered forehead. “Almost there.” Harry grabbed a towel as he left the bathroom, having changed his soaked clothes. Ginny lay curled on their bed, her wet hair draped across the pillows as she clung to Hermione’s hand. Harry slid down onto the bed and began to dry Ginny’s hair, combing through it with his fingers, stroking her scalp. Her eyes were closed and her face was pale. Harry felt helpless but he knew she hated lying down with wet hair so he focussed on her hair, his hands shaking as Ginny groaned almost silently.
“Nearly there,” Ginny breathed suddenly. Her eyes shot open. “Don’t give me any potions. I don’t want them. Even if I say I do, don’t give them to me. Promise?” Harry nodded grimly.
“I promise,” he whispered leaning down to press a kiss to her pale and clammy forehead. “I promise.”
“Pleas e?” Ginny begged as she gasped for breath. “I do want a potion. I really do.” Harry’s heart broke.
“No, you can do it,” he said brokenly. “You don’t want any potions.”
“Yes I do,” she insisted. “Please?” And a screamed ripped from Ginny’s throat. It was the third one in as many minutes and Harry could only stroke her scalp helplessly as Ginny kneeled on the bed leaning against him. Of all the things he had ever seen, watching Ginny suffer like this for hours was the worst. Ginny’s scream died to a whimper.
“I want my mum,” she sobbed. “Get mum.” Harry looked at the midwife who nodded silently at him.
“Go and get her,” she mouthed over Ginny’s head. Harry got up reluctantly just as Ginny clutched at his hand and groaned in agony.
“I’ve got her, get her mum,” the midwife said expertly, disengaging Ginny’s hand from Harry’s. He had only just made it to the door when Ginny let out another scream before collapsing onto the bed. He started back to her.
“No, go,” said the midwife firmly. “Get her mother, now.” Harry tore his gaze from his wife and stumbled blindly down the stairs. He blinked at the sudden brightness in the kitchen where the lights were on, a contrast to the black night outside the window. Ron was sitting at the table, Rose slumbering in the crook of one arm while he fed James one of the muffins Ginny had made earlier.
“Harry!” exclaimed Hermione, dropping the dish she was washing by hand. “Has she had-” A piercing screech ripped through the air and the dog whimpered outside.
“That’d be a no,” mumbled Ron, looking pale and nervous.
“Molly,” Harry rasped. “She wants Mum.”
“She’s pacing in the lounge room,” said Hermione. “Harry, sit down you look dreadful. I’ll send Molly up.” Harry shook his head and turned to go but Ron was blocking his way.
“Let Mum go,” he said. “Take a break. Eat.” He thrust a muffin at Harry. It was a little squashed; as though James had discarded it and the raspberries perched on the edge of it were threatening to drop off of it and onto the floor.
Distantly, Harry heard Molly clatter up the stairs he had just come down and he sank into a chair at the kitchen table.
“Daddy!” cried James suddenly, as if he had just noticed his father in the kitchen. The toddler banged his fist on the tray of his highchair. “Daddy!”
“Hi sport,” said Harry mustering a smile for his son. “Having fun with Uncle Ron?”
“Gampa,” insisted James solemnly.
“Ah, you were with Grandpa,” murmured Harry, watching the pudgy fingers squash the raspberries out of another muffin. Ginny’s eyes looked back at him from his son’s face as Harry heard his wife again. The scream sounded desperate and he knew she needed him.
“Mummy?” asked the child. “Mummy cry?” Harry picked James up and held him close. He swallowed the gigantic ball of worry lodged in his throat.
“Mummy will be alright,” he whispered, a tear sliding down his cheek. James’s bottom lip quivered.
“Mummy?” he said plaintively. Then hands took James from him and he dimly heard Ron saying something about flying a broom. Absently, as he was pushed into a chair, Harry thought that he should not tell Ginny that Ron took their son on a broom, in the dark - if she made it through this. The thought hit him like a bludger to the stomach, knocking all the wind out of him. He began to gasp, great gulping breaths of air, as Ginny still laboured upstairs trying to birth their second child.
“Harry,” said a quiet, calm voice. “Harry, look at me.” It was like swimming against a tide to push down his fears and look up to face his father-in-law, but Harry managed it until he was looking into those blue eyes, the same eyes that taught him everything he knew about being a husband, a father.
“What if she dies?” he blurted suddenly. “She can’t die. But this … it’s — it’s … oh Merlin.” And then he was crying, great wracking sobs that shook his whole body. Arthur put his arms around him and held him until the shuddering stopped.
“I can’t lose her,” Harry, gripping Arthur’s arms as he tried to stop the tears still coursing down his cheeks. “James needs his mum. She’d do it you know. Mums do that, they die for their kids. What if she dies for Lily?” Harry searched Arthur’s eyes desperately for reassurance. He found it.
“She’s young and she’s healthy,” said Arthur calmly. “There are no problems with the pregnancy and the baby is doing fine. Everything is going exactly as it should.” Harry’s laboured breathing slowed and grew easier and he loosened his grip on Arthur.
“This is the hardest thing I have ever done,” Harry said quietly. He could hear Ginny, she had stopped screaming but her moans were long and loud. “I have to go back. I don’t know if I can.” Arthur put a gentle hand on his shoulder.
“Molly is with her,” he said. “Take a moment, collect yourself. You’ve been wonderful all day and she will need you desperately any minute now.” Harry put his elbows on the tabletop and dropped his head into his hands.
“She said — she said that it wasn’t my pain,” he whispered to the wood grain under his nose.
“Of course it is,” murmured Arthur. “It’s a shared pain. Molly never had potions, you know. Not after Bill. She said they made her feel awful and out of control. And she only went to St Mungo’s for the twins. Listening to her was the hardest thing I ever did.” Harry nodded silently.
“But what a gift,” said Arthur, his eyes distant, lost in a memory. “Molly Weasley is the bravest person I know. There is nothing quite like the sacrifice of a mother. And it is something special to be a part of it.” Harry heard a scream but this one wasn’t Ginny’s it was his own mother’s, echoing across time. His mother had been alone when she made that final, brave stand for the sake of her child. He would be there for Ginny, she wouldn’t be alone.
“I can’t,” said Ginny. “I can’t do this. Somebody reach up and pull this child out. I can’t do this. I can’t.” She dissolved in a flood of tears, a crumpled, defeated heap on the bed.
Harry reached out and pulled her hair back from her face, it was in a ponytail but tendrils and wisps still clung to her face and fell into her eyes.
“You can, sweetheart, you can,” he whispered. She shook her head, scraping it against the twisted sheets slowly.
“No, I can’t. I don’t know why I ever thought I could do this,” she sobbed and Harry knew another pain was coming by the way her eyes fluttered shut and her shoulders stiffened. He rubbed her back as he lay next to her, laying his head next to hers, so close their tears mingled as they fell onto the sheets. Ginny felt blindly for his hand and, finding it, gripped it tightly as she rocked slightly.
“This,” she said through gritted teeth, “is the stupidest thing I have ever done. I can’t do this. Harry, make it stop. Just make it stop, make it go away!” She yelped as the pain crashed over her and she began to shake.
“You can do this,” said Harry as she rolled over with a groan and began to breathe heavily, leaning on all fours and rocking back and forth.
“Yes, you can,” said the midwife, entirely too cheerily for Harry’s liking. “Nearly time to birth this baby. You’re almost there.”
“Did you hear that-”
“Yes I heard that. I’m in labour, not deaf!” Ginny snapped. Harry fell silent. “Harry?” The question was quiet, timid.
“Yeah?” Harry brushed a kiss against her forehead.
“I can’t, I really can’t,” Ginny sobbed. Harry put a hand on her cheek, tilting her face up to look at him. It seemed as if the world had gone quiet, there was a pause in Ginny’s pains and she became still.
“This is the hardest thing I have ever done,” Harry said. “Nothing I have ever done compares to how hard it is to watch you, to listen to you while you do this, give me this incredible gift; a healthy child. You are the bravest person I know.” Ginny stared at him in wonder, her brown eyes weary with pain.
“You always said Snape was the bravest person you’ve ever known,” she whispered. Harry drew closer to her, touching his forehead with hers.
“Oh, he’s still probably the bravest man I ever knew,” he said. “But you’re the bravest woman. You’ve gotten this far, all day, without any potions and it has been like nothing else I have ever been through. James’s birth was nothing like this. It was … surreal and there were all the Healers and the new surroundings and I had no idea what was happening and all the midwives put me wherever they thought I should go and I trusted them, they were the heroes and then James was here and it was the most amazing feeling in the world.
“This time I feel really here, you know. Really part of it and I know what’s happening and it’s scary and exciting all at the same time but I trust you. You can do this. You’re my hero. If anyone can do this, you can do this because it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done and you’ve been so wonderful, so brave. You’re the bravest person I know, Weasley.”
“The name’s Potter,” Ginny grunted, the spell broken and the pain washing over her.
“You can push now,” the midwife said softly as Ginny held her breath, her body pushing on its own. She gripped Harry’s hand tightly.
“What is his name?” she asked between contractions, between breaths. “I can’t have him without a name.”
“It might be Lily,” said Harry with a smile. Ginny glared at him before her face contorted with pain.
“Albus,” said Harry quickly, “his name’s Albus. He’s nearly here. It’s nearly finished and you have been so brave.” He pressed his lips to the hand, clutching tightly to his own.
“Severus,” Ginny grunted with the effort of talking. “Albus Severus. Brave, very brave.”
Harr y stepped slowly down the stairs. He still didn’t have a pink bundle for his mother in law but he didn’t care.
“Are you ready for this lot, Al?” he asked the slumbering baby in his arms. He padded the last few steps to the lounge room door and peered in but no one was in that room. He heard a clunk from the kitchen and looking at the clock he smiled. Where else would you find a bunch of Weasleys at breakfast time?
“She’s been awfully quiet,” he heard Ron say. “What do you suppose that means?” Harry pushed the door open slowly. Ron was spooning porridge into James’s mouth, making faces at the boy, if the child’s laughing face was anything to go by. Arthur was immersed in the newspaper at one end of the table.
“It means that it’s close,” said Molly absently as she flicked bacon from the frying pan to the platter Hermione was levitating in front of her.
“I don’t remember this bit,” Hermione frowned, looking at the platter as if it held the answers.
“No, you were yelling until the very end in spite of all the potions,” said Ron.
“Well, they weren’t working, I told you that!” she shouted. Little Albus shifted in his father’s arms and gave a squawk of protest at the noise.
“Oh!” gasped Molly, the bacon flopping ungracefully to the floor. She was at Harry’s side in an instant and engulfed him in a hug before pulling back to peer at the baby. Harry carefully placed his new son into his Gran’s waiting arms.
“Cor Harry, you did it,” said Ron, sounding as if this were the greatest feat Harry had ever accomplished - and part of Harry felt like it was.
“Ginny did it,” he whispered, stroking Albus’s dark head reverently.
And his eyes met Arthur’s over Molly’s head as she bent to coo over her grandson and Arthur smiled.
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