This is another slight rewrite of one of my older stories. I've fixed dialogue and a few other small errors now that my writing has improved. This story fits between A Bonding and Creating a Balance.
Chapter 1 – A Day at the Ministry
Ginny arrived at the Ministry via floo and stumbled into the Atrium. She would have been flat on her face if Robards hadn't been walking by and quickly took her arm to help her balance.
"Thanks Gavin, I'm afraid I'm a bit clumsy lately."
Gavin Robards chuckled.
"No worries Ginny, you are nine months pregnant. What are you doing here anyway? I would think the Ministry could give you some time off about now."
Ginny smiled at her husband's colleague and fellow Auror as she replied.
"Actually, I have been on maternity leave for a week. I'm only here for a couple hours for a special event."
Gavin nodded and held the lift door open as they entered.
"Well that's good to hear. I know you must be excited. Harry has been bouncing around the department in such a happy state lately that Proudfoot accused a couple of us of overdoing a cheering charm on him."
Ginny laughed as an image of a bouncing Auror named Harry Potter came to mind. Then the lift reached her floor and Ginny stepped off and waved goodbye to Gavin.
"Take care Ginny," he said as the lift door closed.
Twenty minutes later Ginny and the rest of the Women's Quidditch Department were gathered in a conference room waiting for their guest of honor. The room was bedecked in blue and bronze streamers with several large posters of Gwenog Jones covering three walls. A photographer and reporter from the Daily Prophet were in attendance, as well as Xeno Lovegood. Ginny was surprised to see her father-in-law and greeted him enthusiastically.
"Xeno! It's good to see you. I'm guessing you're here for a write-up for the Quibbler? We haven't seen you around the house lately. I know Luna would love for you to come over more."
Xeno regarded Ginny for a moment before responding.
"Hello Ginny. Yes, I'm here for the Quibbler. I have to do it all now since Luna left me. Is my Luna as big as you? Is she okay? I guess I need to come by and visit."
Ginny tried to not frown. Xeno was still possessive of Luna and upset over her leaving him and the Quibbler over a year ago. Composing her face, Ginny responded.
"Luna is good and not as big as I am . She is carrying the pregnancy well and handling it much better than I am. You really should visit more, especially since you will have two grandsons before long."
Xeno made a strange face, but their conversation was cut off as the event of the day began. Ginny's boss, Carys Hodgson called the room to order and shuffled her department members into place. She was carefully arranging everyone before the imminent arrival of the guest of honor. Just as Ginny took her position, Gwenog Jones entered the room. Gwen was grinning and as effusive as ever. She bypassed the Ministry's public relations officer and started greeting everyone individually. When she reached Ginny, Gwen only became more excited. They weren't great friends, but Ginny knew Gwen better than others in the department, largely thanks to their mutual membership in Professor Slughorn's 'Slug Club'. Gwen grinned even wider when she saw Ginny.
"Hi Ginny! Wow, look at you. When are you due? How are you feeling? And why are you still working?"
With the last question, Gwen turned and shot Carys a look, causing Ginny to laugh.
"Actually Gwen, I am only here for a couple of hours. I couldn't miss this and I haven't seen you in a while. I am technically on maternity leave as of last week. And I am feeling okay, just a backache today."
Gwen's smile returned.
"Well okay, that makes me feel better. I really am glad you could be here."
At that point, Carys took over again and began her announcement.
"Good morning everyone. Thank you all for joining us on this monumental day. For the first time in women's Quidditch history, we have an individual player signing a ten year contract. While not unusual for men, this is a first for the women's division and we are overjoyed to have Gwenog Jones with us today. The Holyhead Harpies are showing their confidence in Gwenog and offering her a full ten year contract instead of the usual two year extension. In addition, the sum of the contract breaks the record for women's Quidditch at a total of 1.2 million galleons with a 1 million galleon championship bonus available. John Davies, the owner of the Harpies is here with the contract, which Gwenog is now going to sign to make the offer official."
With that said, Gwenog stepped forward and shook John's hand. Then Gwenog reached forward and took the quill that Carys offered her. Carys incanted over her hand with the quill and a soft green light made the quill glow, indicating the magical binding that was about to be put in place. Leaning forward, Gwenog quickly signed her signature with a flourish. As the quill raised off he parchment, the contract glowed briefly before it flashed and the light dimmed. The contract was complete and months of negotiations were finalized in a matter of minutes. The Prophet's photographer was snapping away and a cheer went up from all in the room.
With that complete, Carys waved her wand and in floated a table bearing a large cake and a tray of champagne flutes. Everyone in the room began to celebrate and mingle. The majority of the focus was on Gwen, who held court in her usual fashion. Ginny stood to one side, sipping a glass of water and inhaling a piece of cake. She watched Gwen work the room and smiled. 'She is definitely in her element' Ginny thought. The celebration lasted about forty minutes, before Gwen had to leave for another event. She shook hands all around, but when she came to Ginny, she gave her a quick hug and a quick pat on her belly.
Once Gwen left, everyone else drifted out and Ginny said her goodbyes to her colleagues and made her way downstairs. It was almost lunch and Ginny was due to meet Harry at the cafeteria. She had missed having lunch with her husband and was looking forward to seeing him, even though she had seen him only a few hours before. Ginny was also famished. The two pieces of cake she ate hadn't made a dent in her appetite. When she arrived downstairs, Harry was waiting by the lift. He smiled and put an arm around her. Ginny pressed into Harry's side and his presence made her tingle. They'd been together over a year and had known each other much longer, but the effect he had on her hadn't diminished.
They made their way into the cafeteria and began to contemplate the offerings. Ginny wondered to herself if it would be too gluttonous to order the lasagna and a shepherd's pie both. Then all thought of lunch left her mind as a sudden, gripping pain took hold of her. Ginny doubled over and let out a small, strangled scream. Harry immediately grabbed her.
"Ginny, what is it? The baby?"
Ginny took a couple deep breaths and the pain lessened up. Then she felt something strange. 'Oh no, I think I wet myself' Ginny thought to herself. Then she realized that her bladder was still full, which meant that the fluid running down her legs could mean only one thing.
"Harry, I think my water just broke."
Harry looked down at the puddle and all the color left his face.
"Okay, Gin, we're going to St. Mungo's. Can you make it to the lift?"
Ginny nodded in assent. Then she looked up and realized to her horror that they had a small audience, including Harry's boss. Grimacing, Ginny began to make apologies, but was cut off before she could finish speaking. Davis Proudfoot, head of the Auror department, spoke up instead.
"Well Potter, looks like you and your wife need to be on your way. I'll have Robards file the papers we talked about. Don't you worry about us, just get going now."
Ginny nodded and gave him a small smile as she allowed Harry to turn her toward the lift. As they began to walk to the lift, Harry had another thought.
"One second Gin, I'll be right back. Let me send a memo to your dad."
Ginny nodded and Harry ran back to the cafeteria. A bulletin board on the side had a stack of interoffice Ministry memo papers. Harry jotted a quick note to Arthur and tapped the paper with his wand. The memo folded itself into a small airplane and zipped out of the room. Harry then went back to Ginny and they got on the lift with Harry's memo and a couple others floating overhead. The lift was just getting underway when another contraction gripped Ginny. They seemed way closer than she would have thought for this early on in her labor, and she was glad that they would be at the hospital soon.