A/N: A writing bug hit me over the last three days, so SURPRISE! :) As always, I am thankful for those of you who follow this little story and the kind words you have for it. xx
Update: In a previous version of this chapter, Padma was pregnant with Dean Thomas's baby. However, as he and Seamus are a couple, the whole Megan Jones thing didn't make sense. I've updated this to reflect a Justin Finch-Fletchley/Megan Jones/Padma Patil situation. Thanks to Isis36 for pointing out the inconsistency. It's hard to keep all this straight in my brain, even with all the re-reading I do! Thanks for the keen eye! :)
October 1st, 1999
Hermione flew through the Floo, barely pausing to dust herself off, before scooping the tiny blond infant into her arms. Still mostly oblivious to the world around him, Scorpius cooed up at his mother.
"Welcome back," said Draco to the witch who had pulled his son from his arms. His gaze drifted over Hermione's shoulder, where a very smug looking Sirius Black had followed the witch through the Floo. "I trust you had a pleasant weekend?"
"Mmm," hummed Hermione absently as she checked that her son did, in fact, still have all ten fingers and toes. "Of course."
"Very pleasant," said Sirius, his tone dripping with satisfaction.
"Oh, you are hungry, aren't you," asked Hermione as Scorpius began to root against her chest. She looked up at the wizards. "I'm going to go feed him." She stepped forward to kiss Sirius deeply. "Thank you for this weekend."
"My pleasure, kitten," he mumbled in her ear, his hand dropping to ghost along her abdomen. "When will you…"
"We'll know for sure in a few weeks."
"And we're still on for dinner on Wednesday?"
She nodded. "Of course." She kissed him again, lightly, on the nose. "Get some rest Sirius." She turned to Draco, and kissed him on the cheek. "It's good to see you."
"You too, Hermione. Don't keep Scorpius waiting." He pat her bum as she strolled out the door, cooing at Scorpius the whole while.
Draco turned to regard Sirius, who's gaze was still focused on Hermione. "Black."
Sirius cleared his throat. "Malfoy. Draco. If she's… we're going to need to work on living the next living situation."
"Scorpius needs his mother," said Draco flatly.
"I understand that. I think, however, you can also identify with my desire to keep Hermione close."
Draco was fuming inside at the prospect of Hermione moving out of the townhouse, but he nodded once, tersely.
"We'll discuss it once her pregnancy is confirmed. Until then, I should make sure she's settling back in comfortably."
Sirius nodded. He glanced to the door Hermione had disappeared through, as though he might will her to return. When she did not appear, he turned and disappeared through the Floo.
October 9th, 1999
Becca and Katie's Flat
Hermione sipped her cuppa as the women around her waited with bated breath. Becca was huge-only a short time away from giving birth to the Macmillan heir. Katie sat on the floor underneath the younger witch, watching as Artie and Scorpius lay next to each other on a blanket. Padma Patil had joined their band of the Perpetually Pregnant, as they had taken to calling their little get togethers, and was sitting next to Becca on the couch, rubbing her own round belly.
The curly-haired witch sighed and set down her teacup. "What do you mean well? It was incredible, and no, I'm not giving any more details."
The three witches gave her varying degrees of grins and wistful sighs.
"And it hasn't caused an issue with Draco and Neville?" asked Katie, grabbing a handful of crisps from a bowl on the coffee table in front of her.
Hermione shrugged. "Not really. I haven't slept with either of them recently, and I think it's understood that's off the table until we can confirm I'm pregnant." She flushed. "Draco did corner me when I came in late on Wednesday and… well, we had an intense snogging session."
"Just snogging?" asked Becca, raising an eyebrow.
Hermione's flush deepened. "I didn't think it'd go down well if he… well, if we went any further and he found what Sirius had left after dinner."
Becca howled in laughter, while Padma sighed longingly and Katie offered a half smile.
"No, I can't imagine Malfoy being pleased about that at all!" said Becca. She shifted and cringed. "Oi! This little bugger has his foot lodged right in my ribcage."
"Don't I know it," said Padma, rubbing her stomach. "This little one is definitely going to be a football player."
"Football?" Hermione asked, surprised.
Padma shrugged. "All six men in my group are Muggleborn, and they all support different clubs. This season has been a right pain in my ass."
"Are they taking care of you?" Becca and Padma had both had a hard time with some of the men in their group, and the two witches had found a camaraderie of experience that Hermione and Katie could not provide.
Padma shrugged. "As best they can. Justin is getting nervous about becoming a father, and I think the fact that we're not together is putting pressure on him to make things more serious with Megan or do this alone."
The other witches nodded sympathetically. Justin Finch-Fletchley's's on-again, off-again relationship with Megan Jones for the last few months had been no small concern for Padma, who was anxious over the environment her first child would be raised in. She didn't want a parade of witches in and out of the child's life, but she didn't think she could take full responsibility if Justin wasn't going to change his philandering ways. His wandering cock had been the impetus for most of his and Megan's off-again period.
It had been particularly tense when one of the witches Justin had wandered with had been Parvati-especially since it had happened only weeks after he'd been with Padma to get her pregnant.
"We're not the only ones being forced to grow up too soon," said Katie solemnly, looking out the window.
"Until Ernie gets ankles this swollen and heartburn this bad, I'm calling bullshit on that comparison," said Becca.
Padma continued to describe the complicated relationship with her current baby's father, with Becca providing supportive murmurs as the conversation allowed. Hermione watched Katie, who seemed distracted.
When Padma got quiet, Hermione point out asked the blonde witch what was going on.
She shrugged. "Things with George have been tough since Percy. He's… he's been sleeping on the couch."
Hermione winced. Percy and his fiancée, Audrey, had asked that Katie's next baby be theirs. Their wedding was quickly approaching-scheduled for the holidays-and, assuming things had gone according to plan the night Percy and Katie spent together, the baby would be born in the middle of summer.
"He does know you were both drunk on lust potions, right?" asked Padma.
Katie nodded. "I would've shagged Voldemort himself I was so out of it."
"Not according to Snape you wouldn't," said Hermione. "Apparently his dick was as non-existent as his nose."
"George knows there's nothing between me and Percy-hell, even with the potion Percy asked me to glamour myself to I'd look more like Audrey-but George… well, he's a bit insecure."
"Audrey?" asked Hermione.
"Lovely," sighed Katie. "She's been so wonderful. She's clearly excited, but also doesn't want to step on my toes. We've been having lunch once a week to work on what it will mean to for her to be mother to a baby I give birth to. She really wants this to work in a way that doesn't cause problems for the family."
"I don't think you can totally avoid that," said Padma. "But it's nice to have someone in your corner."
Katie nodded. "I'd feel better if George was in that corner too."
"You can't make him, Katie," said Becca. "He'll either work through it or he won't. You're doing what you can, and this is an issue that's not going to go away. What will happen with Fred? Or Bill? Or Ron? And then you're going to have to do it all over again." Becca leaned down to give Katie, who had started crying, a hug from behind. "You can do what you can do hun, and then you can do no more."
Hermione nodded. "Do you want me to talk to him?"
Katie shrugged. "I don't know if it will help, but it feels like nothing at this point would make it any worse."
October 10th, 1999
Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes
Hermione stormed into the brightly lit shop right at its opening and sent a Bat Bogey toward the first redhead she saw.
"Ow! Fuck! What the bloody hell?"
"Shit, wrong Weasley," muttered Hermione, waving a Finite Incatatem at him. "Sorry Ron. Where's George?"
"Why should I tell you, crazy witch?" asked Ron, wiping the residual snot from his nose.
She pointed her wand at him. "I can do a lot worse than a Bat Bogey."
Eyes wide, Ron pointed to the stairs that led to flat above the shop. Before Hermione could get to the door, it opened to reveal almost-identical twins in maroon robes.
"Mione!" they cried in joy. Their tune changed, however, when both had bogeys start to fly out their nose.
"All right, which one of you only has one ear?"
George raised his hand, thinking he'd be freed; his eyes went wide when, instead, his brother was saved from the hex.
"George Fabian Weasley, you are an unmitigated ass!" Hermione cried. "Are you trying to ruin Katie's life?"
"What the fuck are you talking about?" asked George between bogeys. He looked at Fred for help, but his twin only shrugged.
"I tried to talk sense into you the other night, mate. You're my twin, and I love you, but the crazy witch is right."
Hermione, not looking away from George, sent a silent stinging hex to Fred, who jumped. "Oi!"
"She loves you George, and your inability to get the fuck over this situation is destroying her. She's crying herself to sleep, not that you would know since you're sleeping on the Merlin-forsaken couch!"
Ron's eyes went wide. George just glared at his younger brother.
"This isn't your business, Hermione, so butt the fuck out, please."
"If you're not careful, George, you're going to lose her. And that will be incredibly hard for her because she loves you so very much. But I get the feeling there would be another Weasley willing to pick up the pieces, if you catch my drift." Hermione looked at Ron and then quickly glanced at Fred.
"It's not like she won't get to them eventually…" muttered George.
"You're a right fucking twat, you know that? Do you really think she wants this? Any of this? She doesn't. None. Of. Us. Do. So get over your pity party and apologize to your girlfriend before you lose her for good. And if we have to have this conversation again, I'll transfigure you to a pigmy puff and give you to Scorpius as a pet, do you understand me?"
George glared at her. She threw up her hands and walked out the door.
"Bitch," he muttered.
"Sure, but she's not wrong," said Ron. George turned his glare on his young brother. "What? You are so bloody lucky I can't even put it into words, and you're getting in a snit about something Katie can't help. If you fuck it up… well, you're my brother but she's going to be the mother of my children. I'm telling you now, I'll be there for her if you aren't."
"Fuck you, Ron."
The youngest Weasley shrugged. "Be pissed at me, then. But not at Katie, mate. If you know what's good for you, you'll take Mione's advice and apologize."
October 23rd, 1999
The Daily Prophet
TROUBLE IN PARADISE?
MINISTER'S ALMOST-DAUGHTER-IN-LAW WITHDRAWS FROM PUBLIC EYE
By Nina Bagshot
In the weeks that have followed the devastating drama of Beatrix Martin and her fate as a result of the Procreation Group, it seems not all is well amongst those who would have you think Ms. Martin's experience was an anomaly.
Katie Bell, recent Hogwarts graduate and the witch placed with Minister Weasley's family as part of the Procreation Act, has moved out of her flat with longtime boyfriend George, and his brother Fred.
The Weasley family recently announced Ms. Bell was pregnant by Ministry Undersecretary Percy Weasley.
Mr. Percy Weasley and his fiancee, Audrey Fawcett, have gone on record as very excited about the pregnancy.
"Katie and I are very close," Ms. Fawcett told The Daily Prophet in a previous interview. "We're working on what our family will look like going forward, but I'm so grateful for the gift she is giving us."
However, it seems not all is well within the Weasley family. A source close to the couple, who has requested to remain anonymous, revealed trouble to be brewing between Ms. Bell and Mr. George Weasley as a result of her most recent pregnancy.
"I'm not sure why this is coming as a shock," the source said. "These witches sleeping with multiple men, having babies by multiple men. I'm surprised they didn't split earlier. I couldn't imagine having a share my partner-poor George."
When contacted for comment, Fred Weasley, who co-owns Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes with George, told this reporter to get lost-in less than polite terms.
Owls to Ms. Bell for comment have gone unanswered. Previous to her most recent birth, Arthur Frederick Weasley, son of George Weasley, Ms. Bell had worked at Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes; she has since taken a position at Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions.
Will Ms. Bell reconcile with Mr. Weasley? Or will we have another victim of the Procreation Law?
October 24th, 1999
Number 12 Grimmauld Place
"Fuck!" cried Bill, pulling out of Sirius and stroking himself to completion.
Sirius, who had spent himself earlier while Bill had been inside him, collapsed on the bed.
It was an unspoken between the men that, since they had started this arrangement, that neither ever came inside the other. For Sirius, their relationship didn't warrant such an intimate action; for Bill, the small bit of wolf he had within him wouldn't allow himself to claim Sirius in such a way.
Silently, the two men Scourgified themselves and pulled on their trousers-Bill, a pair of grey slacks, and Sirius some dark but faded denims.
"You still seem antsy," said Sirius. He had reached for his shirt but kept from putting it on, his eyebrow raised toward Bill in the silent suggestion that he might need another round.
The redhead shook his head and re-wrapped his long hair with a black leather thong. "It's not that." He paused and shrugged. "My pack is off."
"Hermione may have mentioned something along those lines," said Sirius, throwing on the black tee. He shook out his own dark hair but left them loose.
"Katie moved back to her apartment with Becca, and it makes me anxious that she doesn't have someone from the pack with her now that she's pregnant again. Artie is at the Burrow pretty much all the time, now that she's working again, but it still feels… broken."
"George still has his head up his ass then?"
Bill nodded. "I don't know what to do. We've all talked to him-even Mom sat him down, which I don't envy in the least-but he's completely shut down. I know he still loves her, but I don't know… he feels broken."
Sirius nodded. "And Katie…?"
"Hurting. I want to be around her all the time." Bill blushed immediately at the implication. "Not because of that. She doesn't spark anything in me. It's just…"
"Hurting pack, unprotected cub. You'd be surprised at how much I understand that." Between how broken he and Remus had been for the seventeen years follow James and Lily's death, and then Teddy's orphaned status after the war, Sirius could understand Bill's more animalistic drives.
"We're all trying to check up on her without smothering, even Mum."
"Did you ever figure out who leaked to The Prophet?"
Bill shook his head. "It's all speculation. Apparently all the girls got together a few weeks ago and Katie confessed she and George were having problems, but I can't see any of them blabbing. There are a few witches who work with her at Madam Malkin's that might have blabbed, but most of it would have been speculation-she's been tight-lipped about the whole thing, even within the family."
Sirius stood and put his hand on Bill's shoulder. "I'm here if you need anything." He bowed his head in a slight move of submission, his voice deep and breathy. "Anything."
Bill pulled the man in tight for a hug. "I don't know what I'd do without you, Sirius." He pulled back. "Give Hermione my best and… tell her thank you. For this. For… for sharing you with me."
November 6th, 1999
Hermione slowly opened her eyes from the brief catnap she'd taken. Scorpius lay dozing next to her, still recovering from the tail end of croup that had plagued the whole house for the last two weeks. Everyone was frazzled beyond belief from lack of sleep, and Scorpius would only be soothed if he was falling asleep upright on someone's chest-preferably Draco's.
Draco, however, was in the bowels of his potions laboratory for the day, so Scorpius had made do with falling asleep on Hermione. Once the small, fair baby had started snoozing, Hermione had laid him on her large bed and snuggled down to get some rest of her own.
But her nap was cut short by a gut-wrenching nausea that had her scrambling for the bathroom. As she heaved her light breakfast into the toilet, she wrenched her body around so she could keep an eye on the slumbering infant on her bed.
After a few minutes of losing her stomach, she rose, sweaty and pale and frowning at the acidic taste in her mouth. After brushing her teeth she made her way back to the bed and lay back down. She recognized the symptoms: her breasts had been sore-more sore than usual even given Scorpius's feeding schedule-and she was sleepy during the day but restless at night.
Her familiar morning trip to the porcelain throne just confirmed what she already knew.
She did her best to sleep more, but the realization of how much things had changed again-though expected-kept her up. She stared at Scorpius, sleeping sweetly with his tiny bottom lip slightly open. Hermione rested her hand next to his, and his tiny hand gripped her finger in his sleep.
She still couldn't believe this little child was hers, and she joked with the other pregnant women in her life that she didn't know how anyone thought it was a good idea for her to have children. For all her book smarts, she was still only twenty and had no idea how to care for a baby.
But her she was, mother to this little bundle of spit up and croupy-cries and sweet smiles, and now she had another on the way. How would she keep up with two? Three, if she included Teddy, who was as good as family?
After a half an hour, Scorpius woke crying, and Hermione soothed him with a feed. Then she sent off a Patronus to Sirius to come by the Townhouse when he could. It was only a few minutes later that she heard a soft knocking on her door.
"Kitten?" he asked, coming through. "What do you need? Malfoy said you were up here sleeping."
She pat the bed next to her and shifted Scorpius in her arms. "We should perform the charm."
Sirius's eyes lit up. "Really?"
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Lots of sex plus a fertility potion, timed for my cycle? Yeah, I'm pretty sure."
He sat next to her and pulled out his wand. He glanced from her abdomen to her face and then back again. "What if… what if I do it wrong?"
Hermione kissed his cheek. "You'll be fine." He didn't move. "If you prefer, I can call Lucius in. He performed it when we found out about Scorpius."
Sirius frowned and waved his wand in a familiar way. It glowed bright white.
She smiled as his eyes went wide, staring at his wand hovering over her stomach. She hoisted Scorpius up onto her shoulder and leaned over to kiss Sirius on the cheek. "Congratulations, Daddy," she whispered.
"I'm going to be a dad," said Sirius.
"You're going to be a great dad," Hermione corrected. "Not a perfect one, but a great one."
Sirius rested his head on the shoulder unoccupied by Scorpius. "You'll help me?"
Hermione kissed his forehead. "Of course. You won't need it, though." She paused. "Wanna go tell everyone?"
He slid his arms around her waist, his fingers reverent on her midsection and his nose taking in the scent of rosemary, cinnamon, and new baby. He wanted to savor the moment. "Give us a minute, yeah?"