I thought long and hard before I posted this. I'm actually 16 chapters in already at this moment that I'm now posting chapter 1 because I wasn't sure how this was going to go. I will post chapters about once a week.
I'm following cannon with what we *know* for sure to the best of my ability. That means that for those who can do the math, you know how this story is going to end. Quit while you're ahead if that bothers you and you don't like where I'm going.
I'm writing for me, to help me cope with what has happened in my life. I think it can help others as well, but this is not going to be a completely happy story. You've been warned.
Thank you to ParadoxHoax for being my sounding board!
Thursday May 28th, 1998
Ginny spit her coffee all over the newspaper. Really, this was just the limit. "Mum, you have got to see the latest rubbish Rita has put out!" Ginny called, laughing as she slapped the paper onto the table. "This is unbelievable. She's gone too far this time."
Her mother came over to the kitchen table and Ginny glanced up to see her tired, lined face. The grief showed constantly in the crinkles around her eyes and mouth ever since the last battle. Molly looked down at the headlines and her mouth dropped open. "What-"
"Yes, apparently I'm having Harry's baby," Ginny said rolling her eyes. "Never mind the fact that we aren't together and I haven't been alone with him in almost a year."
Her mother looked at her, too dumbfounded to speak.
Ginny stood up quickly, alarmed at the pallor of her mother's skin. She had to grab the back of her chair to steady herself as the room spun momentarily. Forcing herself to focus, she stepped towards her mother. "Mum? Mum!"
"Ginny- what… I…" her mother stuttered. "How…"
"Mum, this is Rita Skeeter we're talking about," Ginny reminded her quietly. "All she does is lie all day. Here sit down," she said, guiding her into a chair. "Let me pour you some tea. Honestly, I thought you'd find it as ludicrous as I did."
That was when the first owl arrived at their window. It stuck out its leg and Ginny untied the note. In writing she recognized as her father's, she unwrapped it quickly. "I will be home as soon as I can," she read aloud. "From Dad."
Then the next owl arrived, this one was a howler. "Oh bloody hell," Ginny swore softly. "Cover your ears, Mum." Her mother didn't move or even flinch as Ginny opened it and stuffed her fingers in her ears.
"SLUT! WHORE! YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF!" and on and on it went. Ginny was starting to wonder whether it was ever going to end.
Then the next owl arrived and Ginny didn't even bother taking it from the owl's leg. She told the poor bird to clear off and she slammed the window shut.
"MUM!" Ginny shouted, getting into her mother's face. "Mum, I am not pregnant! NOT! I've never been with anyone before. It's just not possible."
Finally her mother's eyes cleared of their haze and she focused on Ginny's face. "You're… you're sure?"
"Mum," she sighed exasperatedly. "I'd know if I'd been with a boy and frankly I haven't been out of your company in several months. It just isn't possible." She turned sideways and pulled up her shirt, showing off her flat stomach. "Last time I was alone with a boy was March. I'd be out to here by now if I was pregnant," she told her, holding her hand out away from her stomach to demonstrate. "I've not even seen Harry since that attack at Snape's funeral. He was out of St. Mungo's before me and I was barely awake when he said goodbye."
An owl crashed into the window but Ginny ignored it.
"Ginny… it's just, this is serious. If it's in the paper-" but her mother was cut off by the whoosh of the floo as her father got home.
"Ginny, did you see the paper?" he asked, looked alarmed.
"Yes, we saw it," Ginny sighed. "Dad, it isn't true. You can test me! I've never been with a boy!" This time her faced turned scarlet. It was harder telling her dad than her mum, but as it was the truth it needed to be said.
Her mother shook her head. "No Ginny, no we believe you and you're right. Except for that night in St. Mungo's when you were unconscious you haven't been out of my sight since the battle at Hogwarts. I don't know what woman is playing at, but we'll sort it out."
Ginny grinned in relief. "Thank you for believing me. I-" she jumped when another owl hit the window. She went over to look and saw about 50 owls circling, all trying to get in. "This is going to be a nightmare," she groaned. How on earth were they going to sort this out?
The fireplace sprang to life and Harry tumbled out of floo, looking pale and shaken. Her heart leapt when she saw him, as it always did. "Did you see-" but he stopped at her nod. Harry turned quickly to her parents. "We haven't! We have not been together, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley I swear!"
"We believe you, son," Arthur reassured him. "We'll get this sorted out with the press."
"I got a summons at work," Harry told him, holding out an official looking piece of parchment to her dad. "Told me I was to bring Ginny along to a hearing today at 11am."
Her mother shot out of her seat in alarm and her father staggered a bit as he read the note. "But… but…"
"What does that mean?" Ginny asked, looking between her parents with concern.
"It means," her dad said slowly, looking older and more tired than she had ever seen him look. "That the ministry knows you are pregnant and there will be a trial to decide what to do with you."
"But I'm NOT pregnant!" Ginny practically shouted it at her parents, fighting back tears of frustration. "Wouldn't they have discovered it when I was in the hospital 2 weeks ago?"
"They might not have checked," her mother said, trying to inflict a note of calm into her voice. "After all, you and Harry were there for being blasted by that curse." A sob broke into her mum's words and Ginny knew why. No one expected an attack at Snape's funeral and if Harry hadn't dived in and taken half the curse, she'd have been dead. Another inch to the right and it would have been Harry who'd died. It made her blood run cold to think about losing him, even though he'd barely spoken to her in the last 3 weeks. The fact that they each only got half of blast is what saved both of their lives. "But, usually a pregnancy is not detectable until at least 4 weeks after the woman's last cycle."
"Why would there be a trial?" Harry asked cautiously. "I don't understand that part."
"There is this very old law that forbids out of wedlock pregnancies," her father explained wearily. "About 20 years ago we were able to work in a clause that made allowances for muggleborns because they weren't raised in wizarding tradition but we weren't successful in getting the law repealed completely. Too many wizards are still extremely narrow-minded." His expression turned thoughtful. "We might be able to work that angle, Molly. We can argue that Harry was raised by muggles. They might not force them to marry."
"Marry?!" Harry squeaked.
Ginny stomped her foot. "I am NOT PREGNANT! Why is no one listening to me?!"
Tears started to leak from her mother's eyes. "You have to be. The ministry-"
"Bugger the ministry, Mum!" Ginny shouted. "You check me!" She yelled, pointing at her in righteous indignation. "You check!"
Molly hesitated for only a moment. It was a mark of just how stressed she was that she didn't even reproach Ginny for her language. She jerked her head and said, "Fine. Go lie down and lift your shirt a bit."
Ginny hurried over to the sofa and lay down, doing what she was told. Her mum pointed her wand at her stomach and said shakily, "conceptum revelio."
Ginny looked down to see a small, very bright light appear on her lower abdomen. Her mother let out a sob and her father seemed to fall into one of the arm chairs. "What does that mean?" Ginny asked, afraid she already knew the answer. She was too scared to look up at Harry.
"You're pregnant," her father whispered, his head in his hands.
"I can't be pregnant," Ginny denied, now wondering if this was a dream.
Harry cleared his throat. "Ginny and I haven't been together," he told them. "Why would the ministry think that I'm the father?"
"They have ways of detecting," her dad answered simply. "It's a lot like the trace. They know who the parents are if the parents are magical."
"I can prove it," her mother told him hoarsely. "Come here Harry."
She heard all of it, but there was a sharp ringing in her ears and she couldn't completely focus. Ginny finally looked up into Harry's face as he drew near but his expression was blank.
"Put your hand right here," Molly said softly, laying her hand over the spot where a moment before the light had shown. Ginny felt numb as his warm hand rested on her lower abdomen. "If the light comes through your hand, then you are the father," her mum explained. "Pater conceptum revelio."
Harry's breath was forced out of him as though he'd been hit in the stomach as the light shown clearly through the back of his hand. His eyes flashed up to Ginny's but she couldn't speak. "We haven't! Give me Veritaserum and I'll prove it! We haven't!"
Ginny suddenly felt like she was going to be sick. She lurched up and held her head in her hands, trying to breathe in enough to keep down her breakfast. "I can't be a virgin and be pregnant, Mum! I can't! How did this happen?" Oh merlin, she thought wildly, I'm 16 and pregnant and I have no idea how I got this way!
She felt a strong arm come around her shoulders and with a gentle tug Harry pulled her back into his arms. It might have been cowardly, not wanting to face her parents but she buried her face into his shoulder and took the easy way out. She couldn't be pregnant! She inhaled Harry's scent, a smell she'd missed this last year like she missed the air she breathed. It was comfort in a way she could never explain.
"How did this happen," Harry said, repeating what she'd asked. "We haven't. We haven't been alone at all together except at St. Mungo's…" his voice cut off when she stiffened and sat up as a memory came back to her.
"Ginny?" Her father asked, sounding alarmed.
Ginny swallowed hard. "I… I had a dream when I was in the hospital. I mean, I thought it was a dream, you know but with all those pain potions and everything." She pulled her legs up, curling around them, unconsciously trying to make herself smaller. "I woke up and there was a woman. It was all dark and I felt this really sharp pain in my stomach and… and… I…" she held back a sob, but it was close. How on earth had her world so completely turned upside down in such a short time? "I know I said something, or cried out and the woman gave me a potion to drink and then everything went dark again."
Her parents didn't say anything until she looked up and met their stricken eyes. "Why didn't I stay with you?" Her mother wailed, tears falling freely down her cheeks. "I wanted to stay! The Healers t-told me to go and we'd just buried Fred the day before and I w-was so tired," she stuttered and her husband came and pulled her into his arms. "This is all my fault!"
"It isn't your fault!" Her dad growled, sounding uncharacteristically harsh. "There was an Auror on duty, guarding them! That was the point in having them in rooms next to each other."
A cold sweat washed over Ginny. "Can you get pregnant with magic?" she asked, her voice felt as cold as she did.
"Yes, in special circumstances," her dad told her. "If a couple is having trouble then a midwife Healer can help a couple along. Do you remember anything, Harry?"
Harry shook his head. "I don't remember anything until I woke up the next morning and saw Ron sitting next to my bed and he'd only been there for a few minutes. Why would someone do this?" He asked, still sounding stunned. "What is the point?"
Her father let out a long, drawn out sigh. "I don't know, but we don't have time to figure that out now. We need to decide what we're going to do at the ministry. I'm going to send a message to the boys to warn them and tell them to keep their mouths shut until we can talk in person. I'll be right back." He walked heavily from the room.
Ginny stared down at the floor and found an old burn hole from something her brothers had once blown up. She focused on it, trying not to think. She couldn't think.
"So... so the ministry is going to want Ginny and I to get married?" Harry asked haltingly.
"Yes dear," Molly said and Ginny could still hear the tears in her words. "They will insist on it. If you don't marry, there will be heavy penalties to you and the family."
"What sort of penalties?" he asked, shifting a bit so he could run his hand up and down her back. Ginny kept her gazed fixed on the burn.
Molly blew her nose into a handkerchief. "You will lose your job. Arthur will lose his, as will Ron and probably Bill. The ministry might levy fines against other family members or seize assets like George's shop. You would become outcasts in our society and your child would no longer be eligible to attend Hogwarts."
Harry swore softly. "That is insane! What kind of backwards law is this?"
"A very old, outdated one, I'm afraid," Arthur said as he came back into the room. "It was set up to keep there from being bastard children in the wizarding world. Like I said, we might be able to get you two out of the marriage because you were raised by muggles but because they called a hearing I am not confident of that. It might be that since both of you were not raised by muggles that the law does not apply."
"Surely Kingsley will help us," Harry began but Arthur interrupted him.
"He can't break the law, Harry," he reminded him softly. "Not even for you."
"But if they let us off, will things be okay?" Harry asked.
Her father's voice trembled and finally Ginny managed to look up at him. "No. You might not lose your job, and I might not, but Ginny will never be allowed to get paid work in any job that's ministry sponsored. She'll never be allowed to marry a wizard, you'd never be allowed to marry another witch and the child will be stigmatized. It is not a good situation."
Ginny shivered. She felt dirty; tainted. "I can leave the country." They all turned to stare at her. "I can move to America or something. They don't have the same laws there. I… I can start over there, raise… raise the baby there." She turned to Harry, feeling completely sick at heart. "I'd need some money to go, but then you wouldn't have to marry me and I could get a job there."
Harry's jaw set. "Don't be stupid, Ginny. You're not leaving. We're getting married."
Her heart felt like it was being squeezed by a giant fist. "I'm not being stupid! You haven't done anything to deserve this!"
"Neither have you," he reminded her firmly. "Neither of us asked for this. You shouldn't be sent away like you did something wrong." The sofa's old springs squeaked as he stood up and strode across the room to stare into the fireplace.
"Ginny," her mother said softly, brown eyes meeting brown eyes. "You can't leave. If you leave, you leave Harry to the mercy of the press because they will crucify him if you don't get married. You know what a stain this puts on a person. And you can't take my grandchild from me. You can't take Harry's child from him. It isn't right."
It hit her like nothing else had. Harry's child. She was having Harry's child. It seemed to have hit Harry too, because he spun around to stare intently at her. "Okay," she agreed. "Okay, you're right. I wasn't thinking like that. I just feel," she paused, holding her hands up to her chest. "I feel really bloody awful right now."
"I think the best course of action would be for you two to walk into the ministry, smiling sheepishly, and say that things happened and of course you'll be getting married in a few days' time," Arthur explained. "We can then explain to Kingsley what happened and start a quiet investigation into what really happened."
Her father held up a hand, silencing her question. He knew what she was going to ask. "It doesn't matter to us how this baby got here. The baby exists and we need to deal with that in a way that will cause the least amount of damage. Do we want your child to know that he was conceived because of someone messing with you? Do you want your child to think about not being wanted? No, of course not! If the world at large finds out, that will be all anyone ever tells this poor child, that he wasn't wanted and his parents were forced to marry because of him! We keep this quiet and do the best we can to protect you and the baby. Someone did this for a reason and I shudder to even imagine what that might be."
Ginny nodded, hating that he was right but knowing that he was speaking the truth.
"Can I have a minute alone with Ginny before we go to the ministry?" Harry asked softly. Her parents nodded and left the room. Harry came and knelt before her, forcing her to look right into his brilliant green eyes. "Ginny, we have to do this."
"I know," she whispered. "I just never… and we…" she stopped and swiped at the tear that fell traitorously down her cheek. "I'm 16. I can't even legally get married without my parents say so! When I pictured getting married I expected love and romance and to be of age! And you," she said, remorse filling her. "Are you ever going to get to have a normal life?"
The ghost of a smile flitted across his face. "We'll make a normal life for ourselves. It isn't like being married to you is going to be some awful chore. "
Ginny tried to read his face, a face she knew so well. His expression was not one she'd ever seen before. "You haven't been around. You barely talked to me. I thought that, you know, maybe you didn't have feelings for me anymore and didn't know how to tell me. It's been a year and-"
He stopped her by leaning in to kiss her. Warmth shot through her as it always did when they kissed. Merlin, she'd missed this. "I haven't been around because it's been hell at the ministry and I didn't want to start something again when I had no time to be with you. We have been grieving over everyone and it didn't seem like the right time. I figured we had time to sort everything out now that Voldemort is dead." Harry's gaze was direct and open. "Do you still have feelings for me?"
"Yes," she said honestly. "I never stopped."
"I didn't either," he assured her. "You were always on my mind last year. We can make this about love and romance."
She nodded and he stood. She got to her feet and the room spun in earnest. If he hadn't caught her arm, she'd have fallen to the thread bare carpet. Keeping her eyes closed, she pressed her face into his chest and let out a ragged breath. "Ginny!" Harry exclaimed, holding her tight.
Her parents rushed back in. "What happened?" Arthur asked sharply.
"She nearly fell over when she stood."
Ginny's ears were buzzing and lights were dancing across her closed eye lids. "I think I'm going to faint," she managed to say, and felt Harry swing her up into his arms before her vision went completely black.