A Chance in Time

By Annie Dumbledore

Chapter Nine

Hermione Lupin, eight and a half months pregnant, waddled out to the kitchen to dig some ice cream out of the freezer. It was four in the morning, and the sudden craving had caused Hermione to wriggle out of Remus' embrace and sneak out of their bedroom.

Tub of ice cream in hand, she settled herself down at the kitchen table, swinging her legs up onto the opposite chair. The shuffling of feet caught her attention, and she smiled as her husband walked into the kitchen, his hair standing up in patches and his eyes squinting against the kitchen light.

'Did I wake you?' Hermione asked, giving his hand a squeeze as he sat down beside her.

'Nope,' Remus yawned 'I always get up at four AM It's ever so refreshing.' He gave her a wry grin.

'Sorry,' she apologised 'But we just had to have some ice cream.'

'Oh, really?' Remus raised an eyebrow 'Pineapple again?'

She showed him the tub 'Nope, hazelnut this time.' Hermione dug into the tub, Remus watching with a bemused expression on his face as she polished off the lot.

'All done?' he asked pleasantly.

'Mmm-hmm.' She replied, rubbing her swollen belly 'Much better.'

'Come on, back to bed.' Remus drew her to her feet. 'You really need some rest.'

'Remus, I'm old enough to look after myself. I am twenty-three in case you've forgotten.' Hermione pointed out.

'Yes, yes of course.' Gently, Remus pushed his wife in the direction of their room. He helped her into bed, then crawled in himself. His eyes were closed and he was on the brink of falling asleep, when he felt Hermione squirming next to him.

'You can't seriously want more ice cream can you? You must definitely be carrying wolf cubs. No human baby can demand this much food.' He groaned.

'We'll find out soon enough,' Hermione said in a strained voice 'I think I'm going into labour.'

Remus leapt out of bed and began pulling his clothes on as fast as he could. He then helped Hermione to get up, and found her some robes. The bag for the hospital sat waiting by the door, and was picked up on their way to the garage. Hermione had insisted that when the time came, they would drive to the hospital. Apparition was out, Portkeys and Floo powder made her nauseous. Remus started up the car and drove as quickly as he dared in the direction of St Mungo's.

As her pains progressed, Hermione became increasingly snappish towards Remus. She still had her wand, and during one particular nasty wave of pain, she put the jelly legs curse on him. Luckily, they were stationary at a set of traffic lights at the time, and he was able to reverse the curse before the lights turned green. Before she could hex him again, Remus sped to St Mungo's.

Remus helped Hermione out the car, and grabbed her bag, then ushered her to the entrance.

'Come on, love, move a bit faster.' He urged.

'I'd like to see you walk faster when you're nearly nine months pregnant.' She snapped. 'I'll walk at my own speed.'

A mediwizard was waiting at the entrance for them, and helped Hermione settle into a wheelchair. He tapped it with his wand, and it started rolling down the hall of its own accord.

'Be careful,' Remus warned the mediwizard under his breath 'She's got her wand on her. She might try to hex you.'

The mediwizard looked unconcerned 'They all threaten to do it,' he said cheerfully 'But when they try their aim's off.'

'Ha!' Remus exclaimed 'Trust me, her aim's perfect. Don't say I didn't warn you.'

**

Sirius was having a great dream. He had a dozen scantily clad women fawning over him and attending to his every wish, each of which bore a striking resemblance to the woman he's fallen asleep with the night before. The closest female began gently rubbing Sirius' arm. He mumbled happily in his sleep. The rubbing became more insistent, and all of a sudden, he found himself being roughly shaken.

'Wake up, Sirius!' a feminine voice hissed in his ear. He woke up with a start and stared up at her groggily.

'Whaaaat?' he moaned.

'Remus is calling you through the living room fire, it sounds pretty urgent. I'd have gotten up myself to answer it, but I hardly think my brother would approve of my being here.'

Sirius leant over and kissed Rosa Lupin's cheek. 'Right then, I'll get rid of him then I'll be back.'

'Make sure you extinguish the fire, too.' Rosa smiled seductively, her hand stroking Sirius' chest. He gulped, and leapt out of bed and went out to the living room.

'Sirius!' Remus exclaimed as he noticed his friend entering the room 'I've been here for ages. Look, Hermione's gone into labour.'

'What?!' Sirius exclaimed 'But I thought there were a few more weeks to go.'

'Well, it's happening now. We're at St Mungo's, and I've already contacted everyone else. I couldn't get through to Rosa, though. Do you think you could Apparate over to her house and check if she's there?'

'Uh, sure.' Sirius said quickly 'I'll be there as soon as I can, Moony.'

'Great.' The expression on Remus' face was a mixture of worry, concern and relief that his friend would be at the hospital soon. 'I'd better go then. See you soon.' Remus' head disappeared with a soft pop. Sirius sat back on his heels, digesting the information. Then he raced back into the bedroom. Rosa was in the middle of tying a silk scarf to the bed post.

'Back so soon?' she purred.

'Sorry, love, but we'll have to cut this short.' Sirius said apologetically 'Hermione's gone into labour.'

Rosa's eyes widened and she jumped off the bed 'Oh, this is so exciting! I'm going to be an aunt!'

'Well, we'd better get going.' They both pulled on their clothes, and with a last glance of longing back at the bed on Sirius' part, they both Disapparated.

**

Remus paused mid-pace as several faint pops indicated the arrival of other people in the waiting room.

'Harry, Ginny, thank God. I'm going out of my brain waiting here.' Remus took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. Harry and Ginny exchanged amused expressions.

'How's everything going?' Ginny asked, hitching up the sleeping child on her hip.

Remus ran a hand through his hair 'I'm not sure. Truth be told, I'm not that keen on going in there at the moment. She keeps hexing me whenever she sees me and starts shrieking "This is all your fault, you wait 'till I get my hands on you!" and other delightful things.'

Harry shook with silent laughter, his face turning red with the effort of holding his mirth in. 'Surely she can't be that bad, Remus. Haven't the mediwizards taken her wand off her?'

'It is that bad, and they can't get it off her.' Remus explained 'They can't do the Disarming Charm, and she won't give it to them.'

'Maybe she'd give it to me.' Ginny suggested 'I want to see how she's going, anyway.'

'Thanks Gin, I'd really appreciate it. Then maybe I can go see her without fearing for my safety.' Replied Remus. Ginny carefully placed her child in Harry's arms and walked down the corridor towards Hermione's room.

'So, how are you coping, Moony?' came a cheery voice. Remus and Harry turned around to see Sirius and Rosa standing across the room. Rosa quickly walked over and hugged her brother, while Sirius clapped him on the shoulder.

'Where were you this morning Rosa?' Remus asked 'I reckon I was calling you for at least ten minutes.'

'Oh,' Rosa began, her face turning pink 'I was in the shower, Remus. Couldn't hear a thing over the water going.' She glanced quickly at Sirius.

'Yeah,' he added 'I went over after we were talking and told her the news.'

'Well, you're here now,' Remus squeezed Rosa again 'That's the important thing.'

'Mission accomplished!' Ginny called out from the doorway of Hermione's room. She twirled Hermione's wand between her fingers. 'It's safe to come in now, Remus.'

Without another word, Remus sprinted down the hall and skidded to a halt at the doorway. 'Hermione, darling.' He began.

'You!' came the angry shriek 'This is all your doing! Ooh, if I get my hands on you!'

With a hesitant glance back at the waiting room, Remus entered the room as Ginny exited. She grinned and gave a little laugh.

'She was fine with me,' she told Harry, Sirius and Rosa. 'Very pleasant. Handed over the wand as easy as anything. Wouldn't want to be in Remus' shoes at the moment, though.' She added with a snicker.

Turning her attention to Sirius and Rosa, Ginny raised an eyebrow. 'Did you two arrive together, did you?' she asked sweetly.

'That's right,' Sirius replied. 'I dropped into Rosa's to get her, she-'

'Cut the bull, Sirius,' Ginny interrupted, with a grin 'You two may be able to full Remus, but I'm a different story. I've been on to you both for ages.'

Sirius groaned and put his head in his hands. Rosa blushed.

'At least you've got the grace to be embarrassed.' Said Harry.

Before Harry could reply, there was increased noise from Hermione's room, and then silence. The four in the waiting room waited anxiously, and then a baby's cry pierced the air. Their faces relaxed into grins, and the two women hugged.

'Ahem.' Remus stood behind them, holding a tightly wrapped bundle. 'May I present Mariah Elizabeth Lupin?' He held out his arms and revealed a tiny baby with wisps of chestnut brown hair.

'Ohh,' sighed Ginny and Rosa together.

'How's Mummy?' Sirius asked.

'She's fine, tired and still pissed off at me, but fine.' Remus grinned tiredly.

'Come on then, let's go see her.' Rosa piped up. She led the way into Hermione's room and greeted her sister-in-law with a huge hug.

'Hey there, everyone.' Hermione said wearily. She pushed her hair back off her face, and gingerly sat up a little higher.

'Congratulations, 'Mione.' Harry said, leaning over and kissing his best friend on the cheek.

'When's little Mariah going to have a sibling?' Sirius asked. Hermione glared at him.

'I think I can safely say that she's going to be an only child.'

'Aw, all women say that.' Harry grinned, looking over at Ginny, whose hand had involuntarily travelled to her slight bump.

'When's Ron getting here?' Hermione asked Harry.

'I was talking to him today, and he's going to get the first Portkey he can out of Hong Kong, so it might be a while yet.' Harry replied.

Remus settled Mariah in her mother's arms and perched himself on the bed. 'Still angry at me, love?' he asked tentatively.

Hermione's expression softened as she gazed down at her daughter 'No,' she replied 'But I still hold you fully responsible for the agony I went through.'

'Of course,' Remus relaxed.

'Come on,' Ginny motioned. The visitors crept towards the door.

'Oh Sirius?' Remus called. Sirius stopped and turned around.

'Yes, Moony?'

'We'll talk about you shagging my sister later, okay?' Remus smiled pleasantly, and Sirius gave a weak grin in return.

'Sure thing, Moony,' he squeaked. Rosa chuckled and pulled Sirius out the door.

The new family was left to themselves, and the proud parents stared at their child.

'Love you,' said Remus softly.

'Love you, too.' Hermione replied, resting up against her husband. 'But you wait until I get my wand back buster.'

~ The End ~

A/N: Well, it's finally over! Thanks to everyone that's ever reviewed, and to those sneaky ones that read and didn't leave a review. I've got a few little plot bunnies bouncing around that may be up eventually, but satisfy yourselves for now with the sublime Remus/Hermione story currently being written by Strega Brava on ff.net. If you're after some more of my stuff that might actually get completed, try www.gryffindortower.net and look for 'Alecia'. Be warned, the ship is strictly Harry/Ginny, so if that doesn't do it for you steer clear!