A/N: Hey, everyone! I was gonna wait for this chapter to upload on Fiction Alley before posting it here, but it's taking a long time.
Very sorry to everyone who has waited and waited and waited for a chapter than almost never came. I have finally gotten back onto the horse and started continuing this story. I hope this is somewhat what everyone was expecting. If not, tell me what you think. And the next chapter may be written soon.
LORELAI: Okay, this is a big pain and I'd really like it to go away, please.
NURSE: Just breathe deep, honey.
LORELAI: Breathing doesn't help, can I hit you instead? (Gilmore Girls: Dear Emily and Richard)
Her water broke, soaking her skirt and the bottom of her robes. All thoughts of her secret being revealed to the school flew out of Ginny's mind as she struggled to get up. All she could think about now was having the baby. She was finally going to have it. Harry's baby. No, her baby.
A jolt of pain sliced through her innards, making her gasp. She nearly fell back onto the ledge she had been sitting on when Hermione's hands flew out, grabbing her arms. With a grimace, Hermione kept her upright and the pair slowly stood up together.
"C'mon," Hermione breathed unsteadily. "We have to get you to the hospital wing."
"Yeah," Ginny mumbled, wincing as another shot of pain seemed to rip through her side. Hermione began to pull her to the door of the Astronomy Tower, which only caused more pain to sear through her. What the hell was happening?
"Wait!" Ginny cried out to Hermione, trying to desperately pull from her grasp. "Wait."
Hermione obediently stopped, arms still clutching Ginny tightly, not letting go. She looked at Ginny in concern, brows knitting together. "What's wrong?" she finally asked, as if unable to deduce for herself the answer.
'Oh, so many things,' Ginny thought bitterly. Another shot of pain sliced through her and Ginny panicked. Something didn't feel right. Granted, she had never had a baby before so she didn't know exactly what was supposed to happen, but she was sure something was wrong. And that scared the hell out of her.
Suddenly, she was sobbing again. And this time, it wasn't because the school had finally found out she was pregnant. This time, it was because she was afraid. Afraid that the baby was going to die. Afraid that she wouldn't be able to handle the baby. Afraid that nothing would turn out right in the end.
Hermione's face peered into hers, even more concerned. "What's wrong, Gin?" she asked again, anxiety etched into her voice.
"I feel like… something's wrong," Ginny sobbed out. She doubled over in pain and Hermione struggled to keep her from falling down.
"I'm sure it's just the contractions," Hermione assured her.
"It feels really bad," Ginny whispered. "I feel like something is tearing me apart from the inside."
"Okay, we really need to get you to the hospital wing," Hermione said anxiously. She began to pull Ginny slowly forward again. "Madam Pomfrey will be able to help you. She'll know what to do. Can you walk?"
"I'm not sure," Ginny half-sobbed, holding tightly onto Hermione and inching forward slowly. She gasped as more pain flooded through her. "Hermione!" she panicked. "I don't want to lose my baby!"
"You're not going to lose the baby," Hermione said, reassuring again.
"Yes, I am, I can feel it," Ginny sobbed. More pain flooded through her and she let out a scream.
"Oh my God," Hermione breathed. She gave up trying to bring Ginny to the door and held her friend, rubbing her back and making soothing noises. But she was just as frightened.
"I really need to sit down," Ginny mumbled.
Hermione nodded and guided her towards the couch. Once Ginny was seated, Hermione threw a blanket over her legs before running to the door.
"Where are you going?" Ginny shrieked.
"I'm gonna go get some help," Hermione told her. "Stay there!"
Hermione flew out the door as Ginny weakly said, "No." She was then left alone to a cold room, pain constantly shooting through her belly.
Hermione flew through the halls, looking desperately around for a teacher. Any teacher. She could feel panic rise at the back of her throat when, after running for several minutes, she came in contact with almost no one. She was becoming so desperate that she would have gladly went to Peeves the poltergeist for help, though the chances of him giving her help were pretty slim in the first place.
She had made it to the foyer outside the Great Hall, nearly half way across the castle from the hospital wing and halfway across the castle from the Astronomy Tower where Ginny was. Students were beginning to spill out of the Great Hall, many looking closely at her. She came to a stop in the middle of the tide of students, peering into the Great Hall for a teacher, her heart pounding wildly. Most of the teachers were still at the staff table.
Feeling enormously let down, she looked through the crowd for Harry and Ron but had no glimpse of bright red hair. Exiting students bumped into her, forcing her farther away from the doors. Feeling bitter annoyance at all of these students who had made fun of Ginny, she tried to push through them into the Great Hall to no effect.
Then, she spotted a taller robbed figure coming her way and felt her heart lift in happiness. She let the students push her back out into the foyer and waited patiently for the figure to reach her, but then she noticed who it was and her heart fell.
She decided to ask the teacher anyways.
"Professor Snape!" Hermione yelled to him. He had been turning towards the stairs to the dungeons when she called, and he stiffly turned back. "Professor Snape, Ginny's…"
Hot tears streaked down her face. She didn't want to lose the baby. More than anything else in the world, she didn't want to lose her unborn child. But fear gripped her tightly, making the pain worse. All she could think about were those constant dreams of her losing her baby. It felt as if those dreams were actually coming true.
The pain stopped. Ginny stopped sobbing, her brain working furiously at why. She held her breath, waiting for the moment when the pain would come back full force, but it didn't come. It was as if nothing had happened.
She looked up at the door expectantly, but no one came through. She remembered Hermione's instructions: "Stay". Should she? When her baby's life was at stake, should she obey instructions?
Resolutely, she threw the blanket off her and uneasily got up, her very large stomach leading the way. She opened the door, clutching it for support, and looked down the stairs. No one was there.
One by one she took the steps. One by one she went down, clutching at the railing as if her life depended on it. She could hardly see where she was putting her feet, so she went slow. The last thing she wanted was to fall down the stairs to her and her baby's untimely death.
When she had neared the bottom, a pale face suddenly appeared out of the shadows of the entrance to the main castle. She watched in silence as Draco Malfoy stared up at her, clearly dumbfounded.
"Whoa," he breathed, gazing at her expansive belly.
"That seems to be the consensus today," she told him quietly, remembering what had just happened in the Great Hall. Idly, she wondered why he was there. Was he going to suddenly realize that he was dating a Weasley, who was pregnant, and turn tail and run for it? Was he going to laugh at her for being what she was?
He moved closer to her and turned her face towards him, concern flitting through his eyes. "Are you alright?" he asked. "You look like you've been crying."
"I'm about to have the baby," she told him, her voice carefully neutral.
To say that he was shocked would have been an understatement. "Are you kidding?" he asked, watching her like a hawk.
When she realized that he wanted her to say that she was kidding, she quickly lost her patience and sneered, "Why, yes, Draco. I am kidding. Because these stabbing pains that I've been experiencing couldn't possibly mean that I'm giving birth."
He stared up at her, face carefully blank. Then, he gently took her arm and began to guide her down the rest of the stairs, face still impassive. When she was safely at the bottom, he hooked an arm around her and guided her into the main part of the castle. Impressed, she let him guide her, putting all her trust into the guy she used to hate with a passion.
Ahead of the pair, Professor Snape and Hermione rounded a corner, Hermione yelling, "Ginny!" When they were closer to the unlikely pair, Hermione noticed who it was holding Ginny and yelled, "Malfoy, I swear to God, if you don't get away from her—"
"Relax, Granger," Draco hissed as Hermione pulled her want out and brandished it at him.
Ginny hadn't had the chance to tell Hermione about her and Draco and was about to cut in on Hermione's next words when a burst of pain freshly shot through her. She cried out, doubling over, and Draco was now the one struggling to keep Ginny upright.
"Shit," Draco cursed as he was nearly pulled down to the floor by Ginny. Hermione jumped to Ginny's other side and helped her stand up.
"We need to put her on the stretcher," came Snape's suddenly patient and gentle voice, gesturing to the already-conjured stretcher in the air next to him.
Hermione and Draco obediently pulled Ginny up ad onto the stretcher. Snape adjusted the stretcher so hat half was nearly vertical to allow Ginny to lean back against it, sitting. Which was good, because she didn't think she could lie down at the moment with pains shooting through her.
The stretcher began to move, and Ginny held on as if for dear life. Snape must have noticed as he said, "Try to relax, Miss Weasley. And breathe."
Hermione chimed in from Ginny's right side. "Yes, you should concentrate on breathing. Breathe slowly…"
The trip to the hospital wing was a blur as Ginny tried to follow Hermione's breathing instructions. She barely noticed the throngs of people gathering around her as Snape led the foursome through the halls and to the hospital wing. She could only think about the coming birth and what it was probably going to feel like. She barely noticed Madam Pomfrey usher her and Snape into the hospital wing while Draco and Hermione were told to wait outside.
And when the doors to the wing closed again and she was left with only Madam Pomfrey, she realized she was truly alone.