Okay, I am really sorry for the delay in this chapter, but these past few weeks have been really awful. My grandmother got really sick, and passed away, so you can imagine what my life has been like recently. But, here is chapter 8 of Seven Years Later, officially making this the longest
story that I have ever written. And I'm sorry, but the wedding will not be described, although in part of this chapter it has already taken place, but I am too busy with school, band, and two jobs to go into describing everything. I honestly just want to get this one done, so I can move onto my
Harry kissed Hermione one final time as they laid on his bed in the Head Boy dormitory, then laid back, letting her head loll onto his chest as they both caught their breath from their lovemaking. Hermione wrapped her arms around his waist and burrowed further into his side. Harry slipped one of his arms around her back and rubbed the smooth skin he found there. They were silent for a long time. Finally, Hermione spoke.
"Thank you, Harry." She whispered softly, looking up at him.
"Everything. For our graduation night, for Lily, for coming back, for this, for everything that you've done."
Harry kissed her forehead softly and adjusted their position so that he could look down at her. "You shouldn't be thanking me." He said, running his fingers through her hair. "You're the one who did all the work."
Hermione offered a small smile and leaned up to kiss him gently. The sheet slipped off her shoulder and Harry began to help it along, just as the door opened. They jerked apart and Hermione jerked the sheet up to her chin in one smooth movement. Ron walked in, then flushed bright red when he saw them.
"Lock the door would you?" he asked, plowing his hand through his hair. Hermione noted that he looked embarrassed, but not angry.
"I thought I had." Hermione said, sighing as she sat up, cinching the sheet in a knot behind her back so she could have the use of her hands.
"Right, ummm, Lily was asking for you to put her to bed, but since you're busy, I'll do it." Ron said, still trying to decide if he was supposed to leave after saying that, or wait for further instructions from Lily's parents. He seemed to have decided to wait after several seconds. "Lav said that she'll give Lily a bath if she needs one."
Hermione answered. "She probably does. Hold on and I'll get you some clothes for her." She said, and sling from the bed after making sure that her sheet was firmly knotted around her. She walked across the hall and returned with a small pink duffel bag that Harry instantly recognized as Lily's. "Everything she needs should be in here."
"Well," Harry said, looking at Ron, "At least you aren't yelling at us for betraying you." He commented. Ron grinned and chuckled, still not comfortable with seeing his two best friends in nothing but bedclothes.
"Lav would murder me. Especially since I'm marrying her."
"So has anyone figured out the third couple?" Hermione asked curiously.
"Well, the invitations were for Harry and Hermione, Harry and Ginny, and Hermione and Braden. Braden is out of the picture, and Lavender and I were already together, so we're out of the running, and so are you two, so the only person I can come up with, is Ginny." Ron said, "But I don't know who in the world she would marry in the next two weeks."
This is too confusing. We'll find out soon enough." Harry said, "We do need to decide if we are going to progress with Dumbledore's plans to get married here next weekend."
Ron snorted. "I'd be in the dog house for the rest of my life if I didn't go ahead with those plans. How about you two?"
Hermione shrugged. "I've waited for this for seven years, I say the sooner the better."
"Count me in." Harry said, also shrugging. Ron nodded.
"Well, I guess I'll let you two get back to whatever it was you were doing before I walked in, and go put your daughter to bed."
"Thanks, Ron, I appreciate it."
"No worries, I need practice, and you need a break."
"Lav wants kids no more than six months after we're married."
"Then she better already be pregnant. Or else that won't work."
"I know, she may already be for all the girl tells me. She knew exactly when she was going to ask me to marry her, and probably let herself get pregnant."
"Lav was always stubborn." Hermione agreed. "I wouldn't be surprised if she's anything like she was in school."
"She's worse." Ron said, rolling his eyes at Harry, who chuckled as Hermione slipped from bed again and walked into the bathroom. She emerged not thirty seconds later dressed in a T-shirt and a pair of shorts and her hair was pulled back in a ponytail.
"There." She said, looking at Ron, "You should be able to return to your normal color now."
Harry looked at Hermione in amazement. The girl he had once known would have been the one dying of embarrassment, not the one who didn't seem to be a bit upset at being found by her best friend and ex boyfriend dressed the way she had been dressed. He finally realized what she had meant about motherhood stealing away all remnants of modesty.
"Thanks." Ron said honestly, then perched on the arm of the chair beside Harry's bed. "Well, I'd better get back to Lav and your daughter." He said, standing again. Hermione wondered why he had bothered to sit at all for the ten seconds that he had been able to relax during the whole conversation that they had had.
"I'll go with you and give her a hug and kiss good night." Hermione said, and followed Ron from the room. They walked across the hall to one of the guestrooms and walked in. Lavender was sitting on the bed, reading to Lily from a book of fairy tales that had most likely been bought for when she was with the Weasley children. Lily saw her mother and lunged for her.
"Hi, Mommy!" she squealed, and Hermione was overcome with emotion. She felt as if she were getting back everything that had been taken from her. Harry, a real family, love, marriage, a home, her friends. And she saw it all reflected in the happiness that radiated from her daughter. Lily was so happy with everyone, and with her newly found father. She bent and picked up Lily, pressing her cheek to Lily's smaller one.
"Hi, sweetheart. Are you having fun?"
"Yup. Aunt Lavender's really nice. She's been reading to me, and we're going to play with my toys in the bathtub later. Did you bring my clothes?"
Ron held up the duffel bag. "I've got them right here. Your Mommy wanted to come and give you a hug and kiss before she and Daddy go to bed."
"Great! Well, give me a hug and go away." Lily ordered, and Hermione laughed.
"All right then bossy." She laughed, kissing Lily on the forehead and setting her down on the bed. She crawled back up to Lavender. Hermione talked to the adults for another minute, then returned to Harry's room. Harry had gotten dressed. "What are you doing?"
"We have to get to St. Mungo's. Marie started having problems with the baby, and she's gone into premature labor. If they don't get the baby soon, it looks like she might lose it. Wood's a wreck already."
Hermione had changed into jeans and put her shoes on in one minute flat. She grabbed her wand and they were off. They ran down the stairs and kept going until they were off school ground before they Apparated to St. Mungo's. Harry led the way in and they were soon on the correct floor. Wood saw them from where he was pacing and walked over.
"How is she?" Hermione asked, laying a hand on his shoulder.
"Not good. They won't let me in. The baby is stuck in the birth canal and they're gonna have to bring in a Muggle doctor to do surgery."
"How far along was she?" Harry asked, looking at Wood for an answer. Wood thought for a few moments, obviously trying to recall that vital piece of information. "I noticed she wasn't very big." He offered, hoping that might help.
"She never is." Wood said, "She only ever got about that big with Alex. Seven months." He finally said. Hermione expelled a breath.
"She should be all right. As long as they get the baby out soon, she'll be fine." Hermione told Wood reassuringly. "I never got that big either, and if she's like me, she's all baby. Lily weighed over six pounds at seven months. Anything over five is healthy."
Harry and Hermione exchanged a look around Wood that plainly said, 'keep him busy'. Harry began the vendetta. "So Wood, did you ever tell Hermione where it was that you met Marie?"
"I don't think you ever did, Oliver." Hermione supplied. Wood smiled at the memory, and sat down. The other two flanked him.
"Well, it was the year the you two graduated and I was sent to some small school in South Africa to do some recruiting with our coach. One of the girls we decided to try to sign was Marie. She didn't want to play Quidditch professionally and refused our offer. But there was just something about her, something I couldn't shake or get out of my head. So I went back to find out why she turned us down. It turned out that she was such a talented witch, the Ministry had sent over an Auror to train her while she was in school so that she could get the position sooner. She didn't want to give that up for Quidditch. I spent my entire Christmas break camped out in her Common Room trying to get her to reconsider. We ended up going out. The day of tryouts she changed her mind and showed up. She'd already quit the Auror position before she even knew for sure that she got the position. We dated for a year, and then got married."
After that, Wood seemed to calm down a little bit, and relaxed slightly in his chair while they waited for any news on the baby and Marie. Finally, after what seemed to be days, but was only three hours, a doctor came out of the ward and walked over to Wood. Wood jumped up and met him halfway with Harry and Hermione hanging back a little just in case he needed support if the news was bad.
"Congratulations, Mr. Wood, your wife has given birth to a healthy baby girl. If you'd like, you can follow me and see her."
Wood sighed in obvious relief and followed the doctor, while Harry and Hermione turned to each other. "Thank God that all worked out." Hermione said, "When Wood told me what happened, all I could think of was what happened to me when I was in labor."
"Yeah, I was worried too. I know we haven't known Marie for very long, but we've known Wood for years, and I'd hate to see anything happen to either of them. Especially something like losing a baby."
Hermione sat down and looked up at Harry. "Harry, I just thought about it, but we didn't use anything tonight. And if I'm right about my cycle, then it's a pretty good time of the month for me to get pregnant."
Harry sat down too. "Okay. Would that be a bad thing?"
Hermione shook her head. "No. But I don't think we were really planning on having a baby so soon. Were we?"
"Hey, we don't even know if you're pregnant yet, so don't worry about it. And I wouldn't mind if you are."
"Are you sure? We've only been back together a week, not even a week, and there's Lily that you have to get used to, and she has to get used to you, and I'm worried that she might not take kindly to another baby coming along and taking our attention away from her."
"Hermione, calm down, it's a baby, not the end of the world, and there are worse things that could happen. A lot worse things that could happen. And if you are pregnant, we'll deal with it when the time comes."
Two months later, in the middle of moving into their new house, which was rather large, since there were four incomes going into it, Hermione made her announcement to her new husband, and the other four people there, Ron, Lavender, Wood, and Marie. Wood and Marie's new baby, Elizabeth Brooklyn, was taking a nap, and Alex and Lily were playing with dolls in the other room.
"I'm pregnant." She said, while hefting a box onto a shelf. And she said it so nonchalantly that it took everyone a few seconds to absorb what she had actually said. Immediately after what she had said sank in, Ron rushed forward and took the rather heavy box that she had been carrying and Harry grabbed his wife in a big hug and kissed her soundly on the lips.
"When did you find out?" he asked after he sat her back on her feet.
"This morning at my check-up. I'm only about eight weeks along. So it would seem that I got pregnant while we were all still at Hogwarts."
Lavender hugged Hermione tightly. "This is great. We get to be pregnant at the same time." She said in reference to her four-month pregnancy that she had finally told Ron about the night before they got married. Draco and Ginny had been the third couple to get married that day at Hogwarts, and were the only couple still child free. Draco intended to stay that way, Ginny did not.
The unpacking was postponed until the next day while everyone went out to celebrate, leaving the children with Hermione's mother, who had come in from London to help them all move in. Wood and Marie had also come to help with the moving in, as they too lived in Cornwall, not twenty minutes away from where Harry, Hermione, Ron and Lavender were moving in.
"Wow, I can hardly believe Hermione's having a baby." Ron said to Harry during dinner.
"She's already had a baby." Harry pointed out, casting a look at his wife who was at the other end of the table, talking to Marie and Lavender.
"I know, but we weren't there for that one, we didn't see her get big, and grouchy, and emotional."
"They don't do that all the time." Wood assured the two soon to be fathers. "Mood swings depend on the baby."
"Then I hope ours aren't moody." Ron said, with a laugh. Harry chuckled and Wood rolled his eyes, and patted his wife's hand absently. Dinner was winding down, and it was obvious that the women were wanting to get back to the kids, as both mothers were still nervous about leaving any of the three children alone, even though they knew they were perfectly safe with Hermione's mother.
"Ten to one says they pass out during delivery." Lavender said, getting giggles out of the other two women. Hermione shrugged.
"Braden never passed out."
"Neither did Wood. Of course, I can't say much since he wasn't allowed in for Lizzie, and Alex was born in the middle of his game, so he wasn't there for much of that."
"I know, but we're talking about Ron and Harry. They will pass out."
Hermione looked thoughtful for a moment. "You're probably right. Neither of them know what to do with a screaming woman. They'll hit the floor within the first hour."
"It's nice to know you agree with me Hermione." Lavender said, grinning, then wincing as she got kicked. "And the newest Weasley is going to be a soccer star." She announced, rubbing the sore spot on her stomach.
"Well, I'm hoping the newest Potter keeps his or her feet to his or her self." Hermione said, "Cause Lily kicked the hell out of me for the last three months."
"At least you have practice." Lavender complained, "Your stomach is more apt to take being kicked this time, but I'm new at this, and it hurts."
"Sometimes you won't even feel it, and sometimes it'll make you think the baby is purposely trying to give you bruises on the inside of your stomach." Marie said knowingly.
"Sometimes I think they succeed." Hermione said, rolling her eyes at thought of how many times she had been kicked viciously during her pregnancy with Lily. But to all three of the women, there was nothing better than having a new baby to show for all the kicks and mood swings. And to the men, there was nothing better than being wrapped around the little fingers of their children before and after they were born. Although all three secretly hoped for bays that they could teach to play Quidditch.