A/N: For SlytherinJedi and anyone else who wanted to see Molly's response to Hermione getting pregnant...
Slytherins Need Love, Too
"You sure you're all right?" Blaise asked his wife of two years. He smiled into her eyes, such a pretty brown, and cupped the back of her neck with his hand. The contrast of his dark skin next to her pale flesh always mesmerized him.
She smiled faintly and nodded toward the door. "Yeah, thanks, love. I'm fine. Just still not used to this whole baby thing."
Blaise Zabini grinned, pride welling up in him as it did every time he heard her say those words. "Well, neither am I, but I think somehow we'll manage. You still haven't told your family, right?"
"Right. You wanted to wait."
He bit his lip and knocked opened the Burrow's front door. Memories of his mother's many miscarriages skated through his brain. Had they truly been miscarriages or had his mother been deliberate in her lack of progeny? The memories had made him cautious, so he'd asked his sweet little Ginny (if he ever called her that to her face, she'd hex him into next week) to postpone announcing their new addition.
His astonishment upon her easy agreement had been extreme and she had been rewarded accordingly. She clearly remembered the night of that rewarding and her smile widened, her skin flushed pink under her freckles and he wanted to drop kisses on each ruddy dot.
He blinked, willed his sudden, perverse arousal to go away, and smiled up at Fred Weasley, who was holding the front door open with the air of a man ready to jinx him in a particularly embarrassing manner.
Fred, his brother-in-law by Merlin's saggy arse, lifted one brow. Just like Snape used to do. Where the bloody hell did he learn that? "Coming or going?"
Ginny smiled and grabbed Blaise's hand. He squeezed it because her fingers were cold and that meant she was nervous. "Coming," Ginny stated clearly. "Out of my way, big brother."
Fred eyed her up and down as if searching for something. Really searching. At last, the elder of the Weasley Twins grinned broadly. "Moving, Mummy. Moving!"
Blaise lost his composure. "How'd you know?"
"How'd he know what, dear?" Molly, his mother-in-law, bustled around the door, her rosy cheeks as round and full as ever.
Blaise wasn't thinking of The Plan to Tell the Family just then; he was just working through his astonishment. "Ginny's pregnant!" he blurted, all his usual poise forgotten in the moment.
Molly seemed to incandesce and the scene dissolved into utter chaos. But the food was good and Blaise was just relieved when his brothers-in-law decided that the reward for pending progeny was bit of Firewhisky and a quiet kitchen.
Until Granger—or, rather, his sister-in-law, Hermione—slipped into the chair across from his at the table. George—or was it Fred?—came with her, but he moved to the cupboards to ostensibly get himself a snack or something. Hermione, though, eyed Blaise carefully.
"What is it?" he finally asked, uncomfortable with her steady gaze.
She did the Snape-brow thing and leaned back in the chair. "Molly doesn't hate you."
He chuckled, nodding. "No. Apparently male Slytherins are much more the thing than females." With a calculated smile, he added, "Maybe it's because we're reproducing? How do you think the child of a snake and lion might look?" Near the sink, George stiffened, making Blaise briefly chill in fear. What was he thinking, to antagonize the best duelist anyone had seen come from Hogwarts in ages?
But then, Granger leaned forward again and, with a tiny gesture, invited him to do the same. "I imagine your child will look a bit like ours."
"What?!" His filter had been stripped from him that day, apparently, Blaise decided even as he shoved his chair back. The scraping of the furniture was louder than he might have wished. "Your what?"
George—at least he still thought it was George—moved behind his wife and dropped a kiss on her wild mass of curls. "We're pregnant, Zabini. Since you've managed to get my little sister up the duff, I'm sure you can understand that much, eh?" The ginger man laughed a little. "We just haven't told Mum, yet."
"We were going to, today, you know," Granger said with a sigh. "Suppose she'll tolerate me if I give her a grandchild?"
Blaise studied her, his astonishment receding. Oh, she had a dry smile on her face, and that confidence she'd possessed as long as he'd known her was clear in her straight back and the tilt of her chin. Even seated, she looked ready to send a wandless jinx at him. But there was also something tired and resigned to the light in her eye. Something he had seen in his own eyes on occasion. The realization that, because of his House, he would never, ever measure up to some people's idea of Good Enough.
Molly Weasley had given him a hard time for a bit, when he'd made his intentions toward the flame-haired love of his life known. Her animosity for Slytherins had been heard by all. Even if she had Black blood in her family, she'd never acknowledge it. Foolish woman, but she'd given him Ginny and that was important.
How much worse was it for Hermione, who'd proven herself to be beyond practically everyone? The joke in Slytherin House was that it had taken two wizards to tame the witch. "Bet they'll have to double-team-jinx her just to get her to do the dishes," the blokes in his year had remarked upon finding out their Head Girl was engaged to the pure-blood ginger twins.
No one would say that to her face, of course. Mudblood or not, the girl was fierce and no one tried to take her on after the Triwizard Tournament. Even Malfoy left her alone after she'd humiliated him in front of his parents.
But he knew, for he'd been a part of this family for a couple of years, now, that Molly had never accepted her.
"Tolerate you?" he drawled in answer to her question. "Oh, maybe. But my son will still be better looking than yours." He studied his fingernails in an overplayed bit of drama. "He's a Zabini."
"Well, our daughter," her husband said in a firm voice, pulling Granger to her feet, "will be top of her year at Hogwarts, just like her mum."
Granger grinned and turned to kiss the man—right there, in front of him!—before laughing lightly. "True enough. And being smart is much better than being pretty."
Blaise lifted his empty glass. "To our children, may they terrorize Dumbledore and McGonagall."
"To our children," they echoed.
It was, of course, at that point that their mother-in-law found them. "Blaise, dear, I wondered where you'd gone. And George? Are you hungry? I've got some treacle tart left over, if you'd like. Since Ron's away, I do have leftovers on occasion." She smiled in obvious pride of her youngest son. Blaise didn't blame her; a professional Quidditch Keeper was someone to be proud of and Ron Weasley couldn't honestly have done any better, not being smart like his brothers or as amazing as his sister.
Blaise cleared his throat. "I'm fine, Molly, thank you. Just chatting with Hermione and George, here."
"Did you hear that Ginny and Blaise are having a baby, Hermione?" Molly asked in that tone that set Blaise's teeth on edge. It was her superior tone and it sat particularly badly on her, in his estimation. "My first grandchild!" She crossed the room and, to Blaise's eternal discomfort, took his face in her hands. "Handsome, handsome boy. So brilliant! And only married for two years!"
Wanting very much to disentangle himself from his mother-in-law, Blaise gave her his most charming smile and took her hands briefly in his own before kissing her knuckles in the old way and moving away to get himself another drink. He decided one good turn deserved another and, after shooting a glance at Granger, decided to do her a favor.
"I'm not the only brilliant fellow in the room, Molly. Your own son—well, sons—are as well, you know." He lifted his glass again to George Weasley. "They managed to get their witch pregnant." At last went unsaid but entirely understood.
Granger glared at him, George smirked. Molly, though, went all pale before her face flushed in what seemed to Blaise to be an unhealthy shade of dark red. "She let you?"
"Mum!" Smirk banished from his face, George Weasley wrapped an arm around his wife in what Blaise recognized was a clear defensive maneuver.
In a heartbeat, the other Weasley Twin showed up. "What is it?"
First Weasley Twin grimaced. "Zabini, here, let the cat out of the bag."
Fred—Blaise thought it was Fred—immediately darted to Granger's other side while Molly stared at Granger as if Granger was some species of garden gnome. "Mum, we thought you'd be happy to know you were having a grandchild."
"Another one, anyway," George added.
Granger bit her lip, her brow furrowing briefly before she inhaled and straightened her shoulders. "I'm thinking, from what I heard, that Ginny and I will be due within weeks of each other." With another one of those Snape-brow gestures, she added, "Our daughter might even be first."
Blaise snorted; that's all that they needed was another venue for competition between Slytherins and Gryffindorks. Granger caught his eye and smiled a little. It was a distinctly Slytherin smile and Blaise suddenly felt much more comfortable facing Molly. "So, what do you think, Mum?" he asked with a deliberate curl to his voice. "Apparently the snakes and lions are producing progeny! You were complaining only last Christmas that we needed babies around the tree, yeah?"
"And I know," Granger asserted immediately, "that you've been champing at the bit for nappies and so on. Time to knit more jumpers, I think." That she said this, Blaise knew, was a deliberate jab. Molly knit Christmas jumpers for all of them except Hermione. Hermione always received a gift, of course, but nothing from Molly's own handcrafting. "I daresay any daughter of mine or son of Blaise's stands a fair chance of being sorted into our House."
Fred and George exploded in laughter at that, and the building tension in the room lessened straightaway. "That's right! They'll be brilliant!" Fred said.
"Ginger doesn't clash with the green ties, there," George added.
Molly's mouth opened and closed like a fish's in Black Lake. "But—But— Hermione? Really?"
Fred and George both, with pride in their eyes, put a possessive hand on their wife's middle. "Yes, Mum. Really."
"Get out your knitting needles."
"And your yarn!"
"Because you'll need to make some baby clothes."
Ginny popped her bright head in at that moment and grinned at Granger. "Hermione! I knew it! I knew the twins didn't look so smug for nothing!"
Christmas Eve, 2005
Ginny squealed over a box filled with tiny baby clothes. Blaise, who had his hand on her rounded middle, smiled to feel his son move with his mother's loud sounds. Glancing across the way, he saw an awed expression on George Weasley's face. He knew for sure it was George because he was wearing the brown Christmas jumper that had an "F" knitted into it. The boys switched every other year, he'd learned.
Whilst holiday music drifted through on the Wireless, the Weasley clan exchanged gifts that evening. The fire crackled and the scents of pine, spices, and roasted goose lingered in the air. It was quite domestic, Blaise supposed. Very Weasley. He might have sneered, once, years ago, but these days he rather enjoyed the atmosphere.
Even if he never admitted it.
Fred Weasley—who wasn't wearing his jumper at the moment—bent to the floor to lift a box up for his wife. Granger's extended middle wouldn't allow her to do so, of course. "Here you go, sweetheart!"
"Thank you," she said with a polite smile. Blaise divided his attention between Ginny's exclamations over the baby clothes and Granger's cautious approach to the box on her lap.
At length, Granger peeled the paper from the box and opened the top, tucking it securely under the bottom. Then, her brows shot into her forehead and she exchanged quick looks with George and Fred as she slowly drew out her present.
The room grew very quiet, all at once, so that Molly sliding her tea cup across the low cocktail table was louder than it should have been. "What's that you've got there?" she inquired with an obviously feigned air of indifference.
As if a Slytherin couldn't spot that?
Granger's smile was soft and surprised as she shook out the jumper suspended from her fingers. "Thank you, Molly. It feels as soft as Fred's."
"Merino," Molly said before taking a deep drink from her cup.
"Thanks, Mum," the twins said in tandem.
Ginny paused in her effusions to grin at her sister-in-law and Blaise did as well. "Congratulations, Granger," he remarked.
She eyed the jumper he was wearing—Ginny made him put it on—and laughed. "To you as well."
Molly set her cup back on the table with rather too much force. "Well, put it on, then, so I can see if it fits." She huffed a bit and bustled through the congregated children, making impatient motions with her hands.
Granger, slanted smile firmly in place, rose to her feet with some help from George. "All right then." George helped her remove the spangly black jumper she had been wearing while preserving her modesty by holding the white blouse underneath at her waist. Then, Granger tugged on the crimson Christmas jumper.
It bore not one letter, but four. Four golden Ws, in a straight line from the collar over the obvious rounding of her pregnancy—what Ginny told him was called a "baby bump" in the Muggle magazines.
At first, even the fire seemed to still with worry that such an obvious move on Molly's part would be met with disdain—Hermione Granger Weasley had not achieved her reputation because she was weak or lacking in self-respect. But, she smiled, then. A sincere smile, Blaise thought.
It passed as one, anyway. "Thank you, Molly. It's also Merino, right? And I love that all of us are represented here."
There was no fond embrace, no gushing, none of Ginny's oohing and aahing. But neither was there any hexing, so Blaise figured that was good.
Granger stroked her "baby bump" and traced the W over it with two fingers. Fred and George nuzzled her neck and whispered who knew what in her ears. Nauseating, but Blaise didn't object.
Slytherins needed love as much as the next House. They just never said so.