In the three weeks since Ginny had told her family that she was pregnant, only a few things had really changed. For one thing, she no longer avoided family dinners, in fact, now that the morning sickness stage had passed and she could tolerate food again, she looked forward to them. Also, she no longer confined herself to her home, realizing that doing so made no sense at some point whoever it was she was trying to avoid would see her pregnant or with her child.
Since that day at the Burrow, Ginny quickly stopped caring what others thought of her condition. Really it was what Charlie had called her. At first she was huwhenrt, the fact her brother would say that about her stung, then she was angry, if anybody in the Weasley family could be considered a slag it was Charlie, (and maybe Fred but he was a respectable slag, with class), he was the kind to spend all his nights at bars looking for women who wanted to 'meet his dragon', the audacity of him to judge her was unbelievable.
Eventually she had to deal with her embarrassment, because that was the reality, she was embarrassed. She was embarrassed that she spent so much time with a guy she knew nothing about, she was embarrassed that she barely had the resources to take care of herself much less another, and she was embarrassed that one day her son or daughter would ask her what their father’s name was and she would have to tell him/her that she didn't know. But as she considered the reality of her emotions, Ron, who had been with her while she ranted/sorted through her emotions, asked her if she wished she wasn't pregnant, and it took less than a millisecond for her to say no. When it came to the life growing inside her she felt a lot of things, fear, caution, excitement, but not regret, never that.
And it had been that moment of clarity that inspired her disregard for the opinions of others. And damn was it liberating, also well timed because she was five months pregnant and the swell of her abdomen was quite apparent. She hadn't been expecting to show so much for awhile, and while she wasn't enjoying the way people would just walk up and put their hands on her, she did enjoy seeing evidence of her child growing.
She was currently window shopping in Diagon Alley and while she had gone out with the intention of finding a gift for Bill's birthday at the end of the month, It hadn't taken long for her to abandon that task for the much more adorable task of baby blanket shopping. She was looking at a Holyhead Harpies themed blanket at Quality Quidditch Supplies when the entire store was disturbed by shouting from somewhere in the back of the shop.
"Why not, do you know who I am?" a man shouted as he marched out from a door behind the register. He was around six feet tall with a tan complexion and blonde hair that got darker towards the roots. He was followed by a woman in the quality quidditch supplies uniform robes. The two appeared to be in the middle of a disagreement, but that didn't surprise Ginny. She recognized the man as her ex-boyfriend and reserve beater for the Banchory Bangers (currently ranked 33 in the league) Cleve Briggers.
"Mr. Briggers, please, you're causing a scene," pleaded the woman who was clearly trying to avoid a commotion. She spoke quietly in an attempt to calm the man. Unfortunately for her Briggers liked attention however he could get it.
He glanced from side to side, taking notice that he had the entire shops attention. "Am I?," he spoke even louder than before, "Well I wouldn't have to if you would just give me what I asked."
"I'm not authorized to give anything for free, especially not the new cleansweep, sir," said the woman she looked young and was probably only a cashier.
Briggers rolled his eyes and patronizingly tilted his head "Yes you can, you little idiot, just consider it a... sponsorship arrangement" Ginny snorted, a company would have to be pretty desperate, to sponsor a beater that had once hit the quaffle instead of the bludger.
The witch with which he was arguing seemed to agree. "That's not how those arrangements are made and the company only makes sponsorships with SUCCESSFUL athletes, now leave, or I'll have security come escort you out!" spat the lady before turning on her heal and returning to the back.
Briggers sputtered at her retreating form, clearly embarrassed, “You know what? I will not allow you to treat me like this I'm leaving!" Ginny couldn't help but laugh at his embarrassment although she didn't try very hard not too.
But perhaps she shouldn’t have as on his way out Briggers suddenly turned towards her, his eyes lighting in recognition.
"Virginia! I haven't seen you in forever, how are you?" He came towards her arms spread for a hug that Ginny made no move to return, nor did she attempt to make any conversation, instead she turned around, heading for another exit, only to be cut off by Briggers once again.
"Hello Cleve," she said through gritted teeth, hoping to end this conversation as fast as possible. She honestly couldn't figure out how she could have ever dated the man, granted they had only dated for a little over a week, but the man was still a perfect personification of every annoying male trait combined. Perhaps it was a mixture of desperation, pride, and Valentine's day loneliness regardless, she didn't want to talk to him now and had hoped she would never see his repugnant face again.
Briggers smiled down at her for a second before his eyes went straight to the swell of her stomach which was particularly visible today due to the long-wrapped dress she wore. "Well, aren't you looking... Round."
Ginny was saved from even having to try and reply as the cashier from earlier came back out with two burly security guards and pointed at Briggers, who quickly shoved past her and went running out the door.
Ginny quickly paid for the blanket, apparated home and reclined on her side, no longer able to recline safely on her stomach, the was a dinner at the burrow in a few hours but she wanted to take a nap first.
She was only meant to sleep for two hours, unfortunately, she didn't set an alarm and she ended up sleeping for an extra hour and a half. Jumping out of bed, or more realistically rolling out, as fast as she could, Ginny quickly got ready and apparated to the field near the Burrow. As she walked into the kitchen through the back door the first person she saw was Hermione.
"There you are, we were starting to think you weren't coming," Hermione said. She was refilling a tray of glasses.
"I overslept, is mum angry?"
Hermione gave a small huff, "No, she has been pretty distracted" she gestured to the dining room door, "Bill invited a friend over."
Ginny took a small peep into the room to see what Hermione was referring to, and all her 11-year-old dreams came true. "Is that Harry Potter in our dining room?" she whispered loudly. Hermione nodded. "How does he know Bill," Ginny wondered how her brother could have possibly known one of, if not the most, famous wizard in England and not say something.
Hermione replied "Apparently he helped the Auror department with some hexes back in February. "He's actually pretty quiet, he looks kind of scared too really, but I suppose meeting all of us at once can be a tad bit overwhelming, also he keeps staring at your mum." Hermione spoke as if she was reporting on a wild animal.
Hermione lifted the tray of drinks but it was a bit wobbly, Ginny tried to take it for her but Hermione slapped her hand away. "No you’re not allowed to carry anything, oh and I should probably warn you that the twins told Harry about that crush you used to have on him."
Ginny followed Hermione into the dining room and everyone called out to her in greeting, she greeted back but her gaze went immediately to Harry Potter who was sitting between Percy and George. She'd never meet the man before but she'd seen him at a ministry function or two. He looked at her and became slightly pale and Ginny could only imagine that her brothers had told him some horror stories about her either that or he had an inexplicable fear of pregnant women. Ginny took her seat and started piling her plate.
Dinner was slightly less dysfunctional than usual, as was the case when there was a dinner guest. Said guest however probably wouldn't have noticed either way. Harry kept his head down and only spoke a few words at a time and only if directly spoken to. So, it was a bit unexpected when he came up to her while she was eating an extra slice of pie in the kitchen after dinner once everyone had retired to the sitting room.
“Ginny?" Ginny jumped, she hadn't heard him coming.
"Bloody hell Harry, you shouldn't sneak up on people you know."
He had his coat on and was carrying a brown bag, likely a plate of extras that her mom had forced on him. "Sorry, I didn't mean to I was just on my way out" he still looked pale and his voice was still shaky and Ginny was concerned he might faint.
Concerned, Ginny asked, "Are you ok? You look very- Ah" her question was cut off by the strongest kick she had ever felt, nothing like the small pops and flutters she had she had experienced before, making her double over a little.
Harry stuck out his hands to steady her "What is it? Are you ok?"
"Yeah, I'm fine it's just the little guy, he's actually never kicked this hard." She placed her hand on her stomach, on the spot that had just been kicked, hoping it would happen again.
Harry perked up slightly his hand clenching and unclenching "That must be strange I remember when my aunt was pregnant she said it could feel as light as a butterfly or as hard a punch to the gut. But she was pretty late in the game then, how far are you, if you don't mind me asking."
Ginny normally would have found his interest in the topic strange but at the moment she was just pleased to be having a conversation with Harry Potter, where he longer looked ready to faint "Its fine, um, well it’s November, this all started back in July so... five months." Harry nodded slowly.
"Do you want to get a coffee tomorrow?" He asked catching Ginny by surprise.
Her eyes widened "Oh! Um-no... I'm sorry, I'm flattered, truly, but um... I not looking for a relationship right now for obvious reasons." Ginny sputtered and gestured to her bump, this had not been where she thought the conversation was going. Oh, if her 13-year-old self could see her today, tuning down an offer to go out with Harry Potter. She had decided a long time ago that now wouldn't be too smart time to start a relationship, not that she had heaps of men pursuing her regardless.
"No- I- I didn't," his statement was cut off by the sound someone from the other room calling Ginny's name.
Ginny was very grateful for the excuse to leave what had quickly become an awkward situation "Coming, Goodnight Harry." She brushed past him, and he saw himself out.
She entered the sitting room and noticed there was no more room to sit, so she leaned against the side of the couch only to have half the room offer her their seats a moment later.
"Who called me?" Ginny asked as she claimed the comfy seat that was previously Bill's.
"I did. Just wondering what was taking so long in the kitchen," said Charlie without taking his eyes off the game of chess he was playing with his father.
Ginny rolled her eyes, she didn't understand why Charlie still felt the need to check up on her every 5 minutes but was too tired to fight about it at the moment "I stopped to talk to Harry on his way out."
Charlie didn't reply until his dad had captured his knight, both rooks and was one move away from capturing his queen. When the game was basically over he turned in his chair to Bill "What was up with that guy? He seemed really intense."
"And pale." Added Ron as he tickled his youngest niece.
Bill ran a hand through his hair, "I honestly have no idea, he's normally a lot more laid back."
"He was probably just overwhelmed by meeting everyone at once," voiced Hermione.
"You lot are a lot to deal with all at once," agreed Angelina.
George turned to his fiancé looking aghast "What are you trying to say? Why we're just your average nine-person, red-headed, spell casting family."
"He kept staring at mom then Ginny," said Fred. Ginny looked up apart from the first glance when he first came in she hadn't noticed him look at her more than anyone but she had been very interested in her slice of pie.
"Maybe he has a thing for redheads," joked Ron.
Charlie laughed as he reset the chess board "Including those in their mid-fifties?" he found it very unlikely that the savior of the wizarding world would be interested in his 53-year-old mother or pregnant sister.
Arthur looked up sharply "Your mother doesn't look a day over 22," he said earning him a kiss from Molly. Half the room swooned and the other half grimaced.
The conversation continued to flow around the room but it wasn't long before the entire family returned to their own homes.
The next day Ginny was sitting at her cramped desk trying her hardest to make the fourth annual senior citizens’ quidditch match seem interesting, and considering their brooms didn't fly faster than 4 miles an hour and the youngest player was eighty-eight, it was proving quite the challenge.
She worked until lunch, focusing not on the actual plays of the game but instead on the remarkable spirit of the players who refused to give up their favorite sport, despite their age. Once she was done she grabbed her things and dropped her article in the editor's office, and made her way to the Ministry of Magic where he was supposed to be meeting Hermione for lunch. When she reached the department of magical regulations office labeled Weasley, she knocked and heard a loud thump followed by furious whispering.
"Where are my pants, Ron?"
"How am I s'posed to know?"
"You took them off!"
"I didn't fold them and set them to the side!"
Ginny could barely hold back her laughter. Oh if she had a sickle for every time she had walked in on her brother and his wife in a 'private moment' somewhere they shouldn't be having a private moment. It used to be broom closets and her father’s shed but now that they were adults it was office desks and her fathers shed. After three more minutes of arguing Hermione opened the door just a bit likely to make sure Ron couldn't be seen. Her hair somehow more frizzy than it normal. "Ginny!" She said far too cheerfully, "Is it lunch time already?"
Ginny ran out of self-restraint. "It is actually, did you forget, I'd imagine whatever you and Ron were getting up to in there would build up an appetite." Hermione didn't blush, it had been a long time since she had let Ginny embarrass her about such things, instead she rolled her eyes.
Ron suddenly pulled the door open wider. "You know... I'm starting to think you do this on purpose," said Ron as he roughly tucked in his shirt.
"HA, I assure you I have no desire to see your freckled naked arse, are you ready Hermione?"
Hermione nodded and turned to Ron. "Do you want to join us?" she asked. Ron shook his head.
"I've got to get back," he kissed Hermione goodbye, and made his way to the door stopping in front of Ginny, he bent down on one knee, and placed a hand on her abdomen, "Don't let the big meanie get you down, Ronald Jr."
Ginny crossed her arms "I'm not naming her that."
"Well of course not, if it's her we'll name it Ronalda." He dropped a quick kiss on top of Ginny's head and left.
Ginny frowned Then she and Hermione went down to the cafeteria. Hermione wanted to go to a café but Ginny overruled, arguing that the waitresses at the ministry always gave her extra. In the middle of lunch Hermione suddenly paused in the middle of her sentence and pointed to someone behind her. "Oh look there's Harry we should invite him to eat with us." Ginny turned around to see Harry talking to one of the servers. Hermione stood to up to call him over and Ginny quickly pulled her back down. Hermione furrowed her brow at her in question.
"Yesterday, when we were in the kitchen, he asked me on a date."
Hermione' eyes widened. "What did you say?"
"I'm five months pregnant Hermione, what do you think I said?"
"Then what happened, was he upset?"
"He might have been but Charlie called me and I kind of ran out of the kitchen" Ginny whispered that last part.
"Well, why did you say no?"
Ginny sighed. "Hermione the last thing I need is the drama of a new relationship right now, maybe in a year from now when I'm no longer growing a person."
Hermione gave her a sheepish look and looked past Ginny’s shoulder. "So if he were to walk over right now, that would definitely be a bad thing?"
Ginny twisted in her chair and sure enough, Harry Potter was walking towards them. "Shite, I have to hide." Ginny looked all around in an attempt to find a route of escape.
"Hide where? He can obviously see you," whispered Hermione. She pulled on Ginny’s arms so she wouldn't be able to crawl under the table, "Ginny stop it, you're being- Hello Harry."
He looked tired, with bags under his eyes. "Hello," that was all he said to Hermione before turning and pointedly staring at Ginny. Hermione glanced between the two of them and began collecting her lunch "Well this was a lovely lunch Ginny but I really should get back to work," she spoke quickly wanting to get away as fast as possible, she gave Ginny an apologetic look and got only an angry glare in return.
Only seconds after Hermione left Harry took her seat across from Ginny. "How are you?" He asked
"Fine," she said shortly, she didn't want to be too mean but she had been clear yesterday.
"Good, I hope the morning sickness had passed by now. I did some research and most experts say it should slow down if not stop altogether by your second trimester, but of course, every pregnancy is different so you shouldn't be too worried if it hasn't. Also, I was looking at some texts last night and it those small flutters you said you usually feel are exactly what's to be expected at this time, as you get closer to your due date they should get stronger and happen more often. Now at this point the little guy is about the size of a honey melon the developing bones and blood vessels and he's about to go through his largest growth spurt which takes a lot out of him or her but it also takes a lot out of you so don't be afraid to eat extra if you feel you need to but there are definitely things you shouldn’t eat ever, Deli Meat, Fish with Mercury, raw Shellfish, Raw Eggs, Soft Cheeses, Pate, Caffeine, Alcohol, LIVER, but I’m sure you already know all of this. " The more he rambled, the closer Ginny's eyebrows got.
She wondered why in the world Harry was such an expert in all things babies. If he did it in the hopes that she would be impressed and give him a different answer in regards to going on a date with him then he was sorely mistaken because Ginny’s only thought of his long-winded rambles was that they were very disturbing. “The reason I came over here actually is that I was hoping you might reconsider getting that coffee. I don’t mean like a -” Harry forced to stop when a girl walks up to him. He grimaced “Stephannie, hi,” he didn't look at the girl as he spoke, and Ginny could easily tell he doesn’t want he’s not happy to see her.
“Hi Harry, how are you, I’ve been thinking about you,” she put her hand on his shoulder. Harry groaned and Ginny suddenly didn’t feel as bad for turning him down, she assumed that Stephannie was someone Harry used to date, and broke up with when she got too attached. “Can we talk?” Stephannie asked Harry.
Harry was going to say no but Ginny cut in, “Of course, I was actually just leaving.” She collected the trash from her lunch, Harry grabbed her wrist and looked at her pleadingly.
“Please don’t go”
“I told you yesterday, I'm not interested, I meant it then and I mean It now," Harry opened his mouth to interrupt her, "I’m sure there are lots of girls out there who would be more than willing to go out with Harry Potter, I'm not one of them." She got up and left the table and took the closest floo home where she sent a letter and howler to her oldest brother and ex-favorite sister in law, trying not to think about the fact that she had just very rudely told the savior of the wizarding world to bugger off.
But apparently not rudely enough.
She spent the first half of the next day at the Wimborne Wasps training facility. She'd heard some pretty suspicious things about there training regimen, that they might be using a prohibited potion to increase agility if it was true and then it would be the story of the year and cement Ginny’s career as a writer. Unfortunately the story was a bust, what was rumored as an illegal portion was no more than some muggle nutrient drink that the team seemed to be obsessed with. So as the sun set that evening Ginny went back to her office disappointed with the turn of events. When she arrived she immediately noticed Bonnie, the receptionist, waiting for her at her corner.
"Why didn't tell me you knew Harry Potter?" She spoke in one big burst.
"What are you talking about?" Ginny asked she wondered how Bonnie could have possibly known about her past interactions with the weird boy wonder.
"In talking about the dark-haired dreamboat who spent half the day waiting here for you. He actually only left less an hour ago. So what’s it about, are the two of you together?" Ginny groaned why the hell was Harry still pursuing her, did he not have other things to do, she thought about the years she had been obsessed with him. Who knew that one day he would be obsessed with her too and now she had the office gossip asking questions about a nonexistent relationship between the two of them.
Gods, she wished for the days when her life was boring.
Ginny put one hand on her lower side and the other in her temple. It was time to do some light damage control "Harry is one of my brother's friends he, we're working together to throw him a surprise party" Ginny said she put a hand on either of the girl's shoulders and pushed her away from her work area.
Bonnie seemed to believe her. Once Ginny had driven her back to the reception desk, Bonnie reached under it to pull out a slip of parchment "Oh, well he left you this."
Ginny took the parchment "It’s probably just a guest list". She considered throwing it away but curiosity got the better of her and read it once back at her desk.
I realized that I've probably given you the wrong impressions at this point. It’s really important I talk to you.
We need to talk about France.
Ginny set the slip down slowly. What did that mean? How could Harry Potter possibly know about France? The only people who knew about her mini world tour was her, Ron, and possibly Hermione. So how could Harry have found out? These questions continued to bombard her mind, making her think of outlandish possibilities. Maybe he knew John. Maybe she broke had accidentally broken some obscure french law. Maybe John had been a criminal who the aurors were investigating, and now she was being tracked as one of his associates. After an hour of brewing in her thoughts, she decided to just go home.
She wouldn't be brewing for much longer because from the end of the hall she could see Harry Potter sitting outside her door. Ginny pulled out her wand regardless of what he did or didn't know he had no right to stalk her like he was. She stormed down the hall ready to tear into him. Harry saw her coming and jumped to his feet.
She spoke in a strong voice "Where the hell do you get off thinking you can-" Harry waved his wand in rapid motion over his face and and all air was sucked from Ginny’s. Their hair was different not just in color but in length, but they had the exact same physique, Harry eyes though different colors were the same shape, and Harry's were maybe closer together. They stared silently each other for a while before Harry waved his wand and looked as himself again.
"When I'm in the field I'm too easily recognizable, so I use that disguise." He explained and Ginny could only barely hear him over the deafening sound of her own heart beating. That John didn't look how she had shown himself was not new information for Ginny. She had found out during their travels, in the middle of the night she had needed a glass of water, when she returned to bed she noticed that John”s face was almost blurry like she was viewing it through a translucent glass. She saw the effect before, the effect of a glamor charm, used back then to hide acne and love bites that had begun to fade. She wasn't upset about 'john' disguising his appearance, maybe she would have been in different circumstances but since they were already pretending to be somebody else she didn't let it bother her.
Harry took a step towards her and Ginny took a step back. They stood there, 5 feet between them, staring. Ginny broke the silence. "What do you want?" she said, her voice was no longer strong.
"You’re five months pregnant Ginny," he used those words but Ginny knew it meant 'you're having a baby and I think it's mine'.
Again there was silence and again Ginny broke it. "So what do you want?" she needed to know why he was here. What any of this meant to him. But he was pausing which meant he was uncertain which to Ginny that was unacceptable. "Don't you know what you want, why you're here, because you shouldn't have come if you don't, if you're not certain. You can't disappear on your children, it's better you were never there at all." Harry hadn't said a word or even tried to and Ginny took that as an answer. She shoved him out of the way and went inside her apartment. She slammed the door behind her. She felt like her heart was trying to batter its way out of her chest. It was only once she was able to sit down and take a breath did she realize the thumping was coming from a point slightly lower than her chest.