Lilies In Autumn

little_bird

Story Summary:
Lilies don't just bloom in the spring. Harry and Ginny welcome Lily into their lives.

Chapter 05 - Hide and Seek

Posted:
05/10/2009
Hits:
972


Ginny pulled a jumper over her head, grateful for the bitterly cold February weather. The bulky jumpers she favored in the winters hid the changes to her body. She still wasn't ready to begin telling people yet about her pregnancy. She carried memories of the months after Albus was born. James was still obviously in nappies, and Albus preferred the sling to the pram. So every time she went to Diagon Alley, or even a Muggle part of London or Godric's Hollow, she caught a few women giving her quick, fleeting, disapproving glances. She'd even heard one woman huff to a friend on her mobile, 'Not even out of nappies... What was she thinking?' Ginny just shrugged it off. It wasn't any of their business. Besides, it wasn't as if she and Harry had actually planned to get pregnant again so quickly.

'Ginny? Are you home?' Andromeda called from the sitting room.

'I'm upstairs,' Ginny replied loudly, tugging her jeans over her hips, flopping back onto the unmade bed, holding her breath, attempting to do up the zipper of her jeans. Did I outgrow my clothes so quickly last time? she wondered, explosively exhaling. 'I need to go shopping,' she muttered darkly, when the button refused to slip through its buttonhole. Ginny hauled herself off the bed, and yanked the hem of her jumper down over the gaping jeans. She padded down the stairs into the sitting room.

Andromeda and Teddy sat patiently on the sofa, Teddy's hair as eye-wateringly turquoise as usual. 'Teddy, Harry's got the boys in the back, if you want to go join them.' Teddy catapulted off the sofa and darted through the kitchen door to the back garden. 'I'll be just a mo,' Ginny told Andromeda, making a beeline for the office. She was sure Harry kept a few rubber bands in his desk. Ginny rummaged noisily through the top drawer, where Harry generally kept paper clips, rubber bands, Muggle pencils and ballpoint pens, quills, and other detritus. She discarded a few rubber bands as being too skimpy and not up to the job of holding her jeans up for the day. Ginny stretched her hand into the drawer, groping blindly, until her fingers closed on a thick rubber band. She looped one end over the button, threaded the other end through the buttonhole, and slipped it over the button.

'How far along are you?' a wry voice asked.

Ginny's head jerked up to see Andromeda standing in the doorway, casually leaning against the wall. 'Three months,' she admitted. 'But I haven't told anyone yet...'

'You don't have to,' Andromeda snorted. 'Anybody with eyes in their head can see it.'

Ginny's hands spread over her abdomen. 'Is it that obvious?'

Andromeda cocked her head to the side, giving Ginny a slow look. 'Not like that,' she said considering. 'I hate to be clich├ęd,' she chuckled softly. 'But you do have that expectant mother radiance about you.' Andromeda's eyes traveled over Ginny once more. 'Although you won't be able to conceal it much longer.' Andromeda remembered the lengths Tonks had gone through to veil her burgeoning pregnancy from everyone, including her parents. 'Why are you waiting?'

Ginny straightened her jumper. 'Didn't want to dash anyone's hopes. After what happened with Bronwyn last summer, we all got a little cautious...'

'Ah.'

Ginny shut the desk drawer and dropped into the large swiveling chair Harry kept behind the desk, and began to twist the chair from side to side. 'We were going to tell Teddy this weekend. Just him, before we tell the rest of the family...' Ginny stopped the chair's motions. They were making her queasy. She pulled her hands into the sleeves of her jumper, waiting for Andromeda to say something. Ten years of acquaintance hadn't lessened the aura of inscrutability Andromeda possessed. However, Andromeda merely nodded. 'This one's really going to change things for Teddy. More than either Albus or James ever did...'

'Of course it is,' Andromeda said, perching on one of the armchairs by the fire.

'We just don't want him to feel like he's being pushed out of the family... We've always treated him like he's one of ours...'

'Ginny,' interrupted Andromeda. 'Teddy will be fine.'

'That's what Harry keeps telling me,' Ginny sighed.

'You seem awfully worried about what Teddy will think about all this.' Andromeda's dark eyes pierced though Ginny. 'Why?'

'Ugh.' Ginny's head fell forward to the cluttered desk. 'Last summer, at Mum and Dad's anniversary, right after Sophie was born, someone asked Katie if that was it for them. And George blurted out, "Absolutely!" Neville asked why, in all innocence, and Percy spoke up. He said while he loved his younger siblings, after a while, he felt as if he always had to take care of one of us. Or that he was sort of relegated to the background, because one of the younger ones needed the attention. Not that Mum or Dad ever neglected any of us,' Ginny added hastily. 'But when there're seven of you, something has to give at some point.' She ran her hands through her hair. 'That's what I'd like to avoid.'

'Are you planning on emulating your parents?' Andromeda asked curiously. The Weasleys had always fascinated her, as the Blacks had never believed in having large families. It caused too many fissures and siblings were as likely to find themselves in Siberia as they were on the nasty end of a myriad of sundry hexes or jinxes that could cause permanent incapacitation. Her family had been rather the exception to the rule, with the three of them. Most of them preferred to only have one or two children - at the most.

'Merlin, no!' gasped Ginny. 'I can barely handle the two I have right now, much less five more.' She lifted her head and propped it on an upturned hand. 'I just hope he understands he always has a place with us, no matter what happens...'

Andromeda rose to her feet gracefully. 'He will.'

*****

James drooped over his lunch, the sandwich slipping from his fingers. Teddy bit his lip, amused. James would always fall asleep, then protest at the top of his lungs that he wasn't sleepy and was too big for naps. Albus curiously watched the spectacle James was making of himself, and reached a pudgy hand out for one of James' seemingly abandoned carrot slices. James suddenly came awake, snatching the carrot slices from under Albus' questing fingers. 'Nooo! Can't have that,' he protested, shoving the two slices into his mouth defiantly.

Albus' wide green eyes widened even further, before he burst into tears.

It always captivated Teddy at the amount of noise both Albus and James could produce separately and combined. It was truly a cacophony of sound. It was something he sorely missed when he wasn't at Harry and Ginny's house. Not that Andromeda didn't allow Teddy to be noisy, but this was something Teddy wanted. He wanted brothers or sisters of his own. He'd spent most of his life around Harry and Ginny's extended family, and secretly envied Victoire her younger sister. And as much as she complained about her new baby brothers, Teddy fancied he wouldn't have minded the nappies, the crying, or the general disorder a baby brought. It would be worth it.

'I think it's time for somebody to take a nap,' Harry said firmly, lifting Albus from his chair. He tucked Albus against his side, and used his free arm to snag James from his chair.

'No!' James moaned. 'Too big for naps, Daddy...'

'You may not need one, but I do,' Harry said dryly to his son, setting him on the floor, and nudging him forward with a knee.

'Don' wanna nap...' James grumbled, as he dragged his feet to the door.

'Too bad, chum,' Harry said unsympathetically. 'Upstairs. Now.'

'No nap!' wailed James, as Harry gently herded him up the stairs to the first floor.

Teddy giggled quietly, helping Ginny clear the table. 'Makes a bit of a fuss, doesn't he?'

Ginny gave Teddy a censorious look. 'You did the same thing,' she chided with a smile. 'You took the extra step of sitting upright on the sofa, stubbornly insisting you weren't sleepy.' She ran a hand over Teddy's vivid hair. 'So Harry and I would gradually stop talking, and see how long it would take you to fall asleep.'

'I did not!' Teddy exclaimed, scandalized.

'Oh, yes you did.' Ginny handed Teddy a damp dishcloth and set him to wipe the table. 'Usually took you less than ten minutes to pass out cold, for at least an hour.' Ginny began to wash the dishes, more for something to do until Harry returned than anything else. As she watched Teddy from the corner of her eye, Ginny thought perhaps Andromeda was right, and she was worried over nothing.

Teddy had accepted the addition of James, then Albus with a large amount of equanimity for someone so young. Ginny wondered if it had something to do with the sheer amount of time he and Andromeda had spent with the rest of the family at the Burrow - there always seemed to be a baby around there. She thought she might be underestimating Teddy's ability to absorb changes to the family dynamic. Chuckling to herself, she realized she was treating Teddy the way she'd accused her family of treating her for so long. Ginny hated to be kept in the dark as a child, and here she was, doing the same thing to Teddy. She knew very well from Harry's childhood that a room didn't necessarily express love for a child. In too many cases, it was just a place to sleep.

'They're both down for a bit,' Harry said wearily, coming back into the kitchen, pulling out a chair, and straddled it, facing Ginny and Teddy.

'So that gives us about an hour?' Ginny asked hopefully.

'Being optimistic today, are you?' Harry snorted.

'One can dream,' Ginny retorted. James' naps were growing shorter as he grew older, lasting anywhere from half an hour to forty-five minutes, depending on how early he'd woken up that morning.

'Well, I'm not taking a nap,' Teddy pronounced. 'Gran hasn't made me take an afternoon nap since I started primary school.'

'Actually, Teddy, we wanted to talk to you.' Ginny gestured to a chair next to Harry.

'I didn't cut Vic's hair,' Teddy said automatically, sitting in the proffered chair.

Harry and Ginny exchanged a look over Teddy's head. 'This isn't about Vic's hair, although we'll talk about that later,' Harry promised.

'We need to talk to you about something.' Ginny dropped into the chair on the other side of Teddy.

Teddy glanced from Harry to Ginny, growing slightly alarmed at the somber expressions on their faces. 'This isn't the whole "where babies come from" speech is it?' he blurted. 'I heard it from Gran when Sophie was born,' he added with a slight frown of disgust.

'Oh. Well, it's not quite that...' Harry stammered. 'We just have something we'd like to tell you.'

'Are you splitting up?' Teddy asked anxiously. 'My mate at school, Brendan, his parents are splitting up...'

'No, darling,' Ginny soothed him. She was beginning to think dropping the news about the baby was going to be a welcome respite to Teddy. 'I promise you, we're not splitting up.'

'Oh. All right.' Teddy's small shoulders slumped in relief.

Ginny wrapped an arm around Teddy. 'You know we love you,' she began.

'Yeah.' Teddy's large grey eyes narrowed suspiciously.

'Ginny and I are going to have another baby,' Harry interjected, unable to prolong the inevitable any further.

'Is that all?' Teddy scoffed. 'I thought it was something big.'

'Well, yes.' Ginny lightly flicked the back of Teddy's neck. 'And mind the way you speak to an adult, young man,' she admonished him.

Teddy squirmed a little. 'It's just a baby. You were making it out to be this big deal,' he protested.

'It sort of is, Ted,' Harry said. 'It's going to change a few things...'

'Like what?' Teddy's shoulders tightened a little.

Harry glanced at Ginny over the tops of his glasses. 'We'll have to rearrange a few things,' he said. 'You might have to share with one of the boys when you come over after the baby comes.'

'But that doesn't mean you won't be welcome here, Teddy. You can always come over any time you want,' Ginny said hastily.

Teddy sat hunched between Harry and Ginny, chewing a ragged fingernail contemplatively. He said nothing for such a long time; Harry began to speculate Teddy might be more upset than he was letting on. 'Teddy?' Harry asked, prodding the boy gently.

Teddy pulled his finger from his mouth and stared unseeing at the wall opposite. He could handle giving up his room, but an idea came into his head, half-formed. 'Could we put my things in the attic?' he finally said. 'Like Ron's room at the Burrow?' The crooked door at the top of the stairs invaded his mind, and Teddy could see the small sign that read "Ronald's Room" that still adorned it.

'I think we can arrange something like that.' Harry smiled.

'Okay.' Teddy slid off his chair. 'May I go now?'

'Sure...' Ginny exhaled silently, grateful Teddy had taken the news so well.

Teddy began to walk toward the door that led to the sitting room. 'So, I kind of get a new brother or sister, don't I?'

'Yeah.' Harry blinked rapidly against the sudden sting in his eyes. 'Yeah, you do.'

'Brilliant,' Teddy pronounced, before he skipped into the sitting room, to complete building a fortress out of blocks for his model dragons.

Ginny shook her head. 'He may come to regret that one day,' she said ruefully. 'When we ask him to babysit.'

--'D'you think we worry too much?' Harry mused.

'Just a bit,' Ginny replied, stretching. She could feel the gentle tugs of drowsiness that accompanied early pregnancy, and got to her feet, intending to go up to have a kip herself.

'Why didn't we think of turning the attic into a space for Teddy?' Harry demanded suddenly.

'Very good question.' Ginny yawned widely. 'Probably because it feels too much like we're shunting him aside. But he asked for it. It's a good idea,' she told Harry. 'Now then,' Ginny said briskly. 'What on earth happened to Victorire's hair?'

*****

Harry knocked softly on the partially open door of Teddy's room, before sidling in through the gap between the door and the wall. Teddy was lying on his stomach on the bed, his head at the foot, scribbling in a shabby notebook. 'What'cha doing, then?' Harry asked curiously.

Teddy squinted at the sprawling letters penciled in the notebook. 'Gran said Dad always wrote down what happened that day before he went to bed. She says when I'm older, I can read his journals.' He added another line to the page. 'Thought I'd try it...'

'Can we talk for a bit?' Harry asked, sitting on the edge of the bed, next to Teddy.

'Okay.' Teddy tucked the pencil into the notebook and closed it, sitting up.

'You're really okay with the baby?' Harry nudged his glasses up his nose.

'I don't mind sharing with James or Albus,' Teddy sighed. 'One or both of them end up in here anyway. It's not a big deal.'

'Right. Could you do something for me? Keep it a secret for now?'

'Why?' Teddy's brow furrowed in confusion.

Harry plucked at a stray thread in the bright blue quilt on the bed. 'We're going to tell everyone soon, but not just yet...'

'Okay...' Teddy mimicked buttoning his lips, making Harry smile.

'So... Vic's hair...?'

'I had nothing to do with it,' Teddy protested. 'I told her not to do it. She let Maddie and Izzy play with her hair, and Maddie decided Vic needed a haircut.'

'That sounds like something Maddie would do,' Harry muttered.

'Well, Grannie Molly wouldn't let us go outside last Sunday, so we got bored banging about inside,' Teddy explained patiently.

'Not really a good excuse for cutting someone's hair,' Harry objected.

Teddy snorted. 'Talk to Maddie.' He grinned impishly at Harry. 'Parker startled her, and the scissors slipped. Cut off an enormous chunk of Vic's hair.'

Harry's lips twitched as he tried to not to laugh at the image of a large swath of Victoire's sunrise-bright hair sliding to the floor, while the children tried to hide it under a gaudy hat. Impulsively, he reached over and gathered Teddy into a tight hug. Teddy unashamedly returned it, but Harry knew moments like this would be fleeting far too soon for Harry's taste. 'G'night, Teddy,' Harry murmured, dropping a kiss on top of Teddy's bright head.

'Night, Harry...'

*****

'Are you ever going to tell me about that dream with the name Hugo?' Hermione asked around a mouthful of toothpaste.

Ron tilted his chin up, trying to shave under his jaw without nicking himself. He glanced at Hermione in the mirror. 'Are you going to tell my why you insist on putting ribbons in Rosie's hair?' he countered.

'Yes. They're pretty.' Hermione rinsed her toothbrush and dropped it into the cup by the tap. 'Your turn.'

Ron swiped the razor across a cheekbone, glaring at Hermione. He finished shaving and wiped the remnants of the shaving soap from his face with a small towel. 'Later,' he told her.

'You said that last week,' Hermione said skeptically. 'And the week before that. It's later now!'

'Fine,' Ron grumbled, striding into their bedroom, yanking open a cupboard. He pulled a clean jumper over the t-shirt he wore. 'It's just a dream, mind,' he cautioned.

'I realize that,' Hermione said acidly. 'I still think Divination's a load of rubbish.'

'Fine.' Ron grabbed a pair of worn jeans and pulled them on. Aggravating a woman seven months gone with child was rather like poking a sleeping dragon in the eye. 'That night you had to stay at St. Mungo's when you were carrying Rosie?' At Hermione's nod, Ron continued. 'I couldn't go back to sleep after I woke up...

'Anyway, there had been some sort of accident at the shop, and I...' He swallowed heavily. Even though the dream had been more than two years ago, it still hovered in the shadows of his psyche. Ron remembered it in vivid detail. 'I was in a bad way, hen. I couldn't do anything. Just useless. But I knew everything that was going on.' He shuddered visibly. 'It was horrible. Ron heaved a sigh, trying to dismiss his fears. 'We only had the one child in the dream, and you called him Hugo. He looked just like you.' Ron smiled crookedly. 'That is where Hugo comes from.'

He waited for the inevitable barrage of questions, but Hermione just nodded once, and proceeded to rummage through the wardrobe for her own clothing. 'That's it?' Ron asked incredulously, convinced there had to be more.

Hermione shrugged. 'What do you want me to say?' She adjusted the trousers over her swollen abdomen, and buttoned her shirt. 'Other than to mind yourself in the shop,' she added. 'But I don't think I really need to say that.'

'What would you do if something like that were to happen?' Ron asked pensively, fiddling with the laces of his trainers.

'Well, I wouldn't leave you, if that's what you're after,' Hermione said pertly.

'Actually,' Ron said slowly. 'That's what I'd want you to do...'

Hermione dropped to the edge of the unmade bed. 'Why?' she asked stiffly.

'You ought to be able to...' Ron trailed off and hitched one shoulder uncomfortably. 'Leave it, hen,' he said, in an attempt to drop the subject.

'I ought to be able to do what?' Hermione asked icily.

'Remarry,' Ron muttered miserably. 'So you don't have to raise them alone.' He lifted a hand and let it rest gently over Hermione's stomach, rubbing lightly when Hugo nudged his hand.

'I'll make that decision for myself, thank you,' Hermione retorted, heaving herself to her feet.

'I'm just saying it's an option,' Ron argued.

'I'll take it under consideration if and when the time comes,' Hermione snapped. She left their bedroom to fetch Rose and finish dressing her for Sunday lunch at the Burrow.

'Hermione.' Ron followed her to Rose's bedroom.

'What?'

'It was just a dream.'

'I know.'

'I thought you didn't put much stock in this sort of thing,' Ron said.

'I don't.' Hermione maneuvered Rose to the top of the changing table, and worked Rose's feet into her shoes. 'What bothers me is that you think I could just remarry - like that!' She snapped her fingers.

'I don't think that!' Ron snarled. He found himself squeezing Rose's stuffed bunny. Throttling his voice down to a rumble, he forced himself to hand the bunny to Rose. 'You shouldn't be alone. Not because I think you can't take care of yourself or the midgets.' He turned on his heel and began to leave the room. 'You're one hell of a woman, hen. It would be a shame if you didn't have someone to share it with you.'

'Well, why didn't you say that in the first place, Ronald?' Hermione huffed, setting Rose on the floor.

'Bloody hell, you're difficult,' Ron growled, stooping to hoist Rose into his arms for the trip to the Burrow.

'And you're just now noticing this?' Hermione swung Rose's bag to her shoulder.

'No,' Ron replied promptly. 'I knew it the first day I met you.' He wound a hand into Hermione's hair, tipping her head back. 'And I still married you.' He gave her a hard kiss.

Hermione's toes tingled as she grinned. 'Too bad it's too early for Rose to have a nap, and we're already late for your parents.'

Ron kissed her more gently this time. 'Later,' he promised.

*****

Ginny toyed with her steak-and-kidney pie restlessly. Something was off about it. Molly's cooking was normally spot on, but this didn't taste quite right to Ginny. Without thinking, she waved her wand at a cupboard and caught a jar of pickle in one hand, without looking. She didn't see the avid glances the rest of the family was giving her, as she piled an unholy amount of pickle on her lunch. She took a bite, and shook her head. It was still missing something. She jabbed her wand at the cupboard again, and caught a bottle of salad cream, and poured a generous dollop of it on top of the mess already occupying her plate. She didn't hear the gasps of disgust as she began to eat her lunch in satisfaction.

'You owe me five Sickles,' Molly said to Arthur, a hint of triumph in her voice.

Ginny glanced down the table and was greeted by the sight of her family members exchanging coins across the table. 'What are you doing?' she asked bemused, a forkful of the revolting mess suspended in midair.

'You're pregnant,' Katie stated, accepting a Galleon from George. 'Told you so,' she crowed to George.

Harry looked down at Teddy, who was stolidly munching his way through his lunch. 'Did you tell?' he asked.

'Huh?' Teddy looked up at Harry.

'Did you tell anyone about that thing with Ginny?' he asked, playfully pulling Teddy into his lap and tickling him mercilessly.

'I didn't tell,' Teddy gasped, giggling, as Harry gave him a raspberry on his stomach.

Ginny laid her fork down carefully. 'How did you lot know?'

'Have you seen yourself?' Fleur said with a knowing smirk.

'Every day,' Ginny said dryly.

'You knew that Charlie got singed last month before we could say anything,' Bronwyn said. 'You could smell the smoke in his hair.' Bronwyn took a sip of water. 'From forty feet away.'

'And you don't like salad cream.' Hermione gagged slightly. She didn't care for it, either. 'But you just poured half a bottle on your food.'

'So?' Ginny challenged.

'So, you're pregnant,' Molly declared. 'Aren't you?' She looked at Ginny expectantly.

Ginny gazed at Harry with a look that seemed to say, Well, what do you think we should do?

He shrugged imperceptibly, as if to reply, Too late to deny it now.

Ginny straightened her shoulders. 'Yes.'

A/NWhen I was student teaching, I had a Harry Potter planner (yes, I know... I'm such a geek... but it was on clearance... and large enough to handle my rather complicated schedule) and one of the other ladies in my class taught Latin and translated the Hogwarts motto for me. I've been dying to slip it in somewhere. :)