Harry looked quizzically at himself in the bathroom mirror a few weeks later. Following Harry's exit from the hospital wing, Hermione had taken him back to Madame Pomfrey as promised, who had fussed over him some more and then provided him with a daily dose of anti-nausea potion with instructions to return should it not work. Thankfully, however, it had and Harry had felt surprisingly normal since taking it. Now though, as he had dressed he realised that his school trousers had become very tight. Too tight in fact and now they would no longer fasten. He turned to the side and examined his reflection carefully, running his hands down across his abdomen, and noticed how his previously flat and toned stomach muscles now bulged slightly. Not much, but the bulge was still there.
He sighed deeply, he had known this day was coming, it had to. But even though he had been prepared for it, the realization that his clothes no longer fit him still stunned him. He took another breath, supposing that he should probably get used to it. After all, he would probably be expanding a deal more over the next few months. He was almost four months into his pregnancy now, and he was grateful that he'd made it this far without anyone else finding out. Hermione and Ron knew of course, and the staff, but they'd been very subtle in the adaptations they had made for Harry in classes. Remus and Sirius had been in constant contact, and while the frequent letters and visits from Remus provided Harry with comfort and a feeling of support, he could not say the same for the contact with Sirius. The man had still not made any acknowledgement of what he'd done to Harry, in fact he'd been offering the same comfort and support that Remus had, but this had only made Harry feel confused and tense, as his friends, and indeed his godfather had noticed. Indeed, Ron had asked him only a few days earlier why he'd been so angry with Sirius during his latest visit. He'd felt, with a sense of relief, Sirius withdrawing from him slightly. That should make this easier, he thought to himself.
Shaking his head to bring himself back into the present Harry considered the problem at hand. He had to go down for breakfast, and to classes, but his school trousers wouldn't fasten, and his dorm-mates would soon be rising and entering the bathroom. Taking a step backwards, he sank onto the single chair in the corner of the room.
"What do I do now?" He asked no-one in particular.
"A-about what?" came a sleepy, yawning reply. Harry jumped up, spinning to face the door. He saw Ron's tall frame standing just inside the door, closing it quietly behind him. At the sight of his friend, Harry relaxed.
"About this" Harry demonstrated his problem.
"Ah" Ron looked up at his friends face. "I see." He pondered the problem for a few seconds.
"My trousers aren't any bigger than yours, but my school jumper is. You could wear that to cover the trousers, and we could ask Hermione if she knows how to enlarge clothes?" he suggested hopefully. Harry considered for a moment before nodding slowly.
"Worth a try" he conceded. Ron quickly fetched his jumper, and Harry pulled it over his head and checked the mirror again. The jumper hung low enough that it completely disguised the fact that his trousers were undone. He didn't feel completely comfortable, and he wouldn't chance the whole day like this, but hopefully Hermione would be able to help. He smiled at Ron,
"Thanks Mate. I'm going to go downstairs and wait for Hermione then." He was anxious for a solution that would allow him to attend class, as well as an opportunity to see his girlfriend. Girlfriend. The thought still made him shiver in happiness. Hermione and he had been officially together since he had left the hospital wing. It had been quite a shy conversation that they'd had the morning following his return to the tower, but they had both agreed that this was what they wanted, and Hermione agreed with Harry's suggestion that they take it slowly at first. She had been a great source of comfort and support to him the last few weeks, although they had not talked much about the future, and the situation that he was in. He knew that soon they would have to though, but he got the feeling that Hermione would be there with him whatever the future held. Smiling to himself Harry reached the empty common room and slumped into a sofa next to the fire to wait for Hermione.
He didn't have long to wait, as Hermione flew down the stairs a couple of minutes later. She saw him staring into the fire and a big grin lit her features as she approached him.
"Morning Harry" She spoke brightly, looking down at him.
"Good Morning Hermione" He stood to greet her, kissing her lightly on the cheek. "Did you sleep well?" He enquired. Hermione nodded in answer, a question glancing across her face. It was unusual for Harry to be up before her.
"I need your help" Harry sighed, looking down at himself. Hermione was puzzled.
"With what?" Harry lifted the jumper he was wearing slightly, allowing Hermione's gaze to fall on the open waistband of his trousers.
"They won't close." He stated bluntly, a slightly forlorn look on his face. Hermione felt her heart clench. Although they had both known that this would happen, now that it had it made the situation more real. The last few weeks they had avoided all thought of what had happened top Harry and what was going to happen, especially after Madame Pomfrey's potions had cured the morning sickness. But now, now it was real, actually happening. A look of understanding and empathy crossed her face, and she leaned forward to envelope her boyfriend into a tight embrace.
"Oh Harry" she whispered into his ear. He allowed himself to feel the comfort in her arms for a second, before stepping out of her embrace, focussed on the task at hand.
"I can't go to classes like this; do you know how to enlarge clothes?" He asked urgently. He wanted a solution before any of the other Gryffindors arrived in the common room. Hermione shook her head sadly.
"We'll need to get you some more trousers Harry." She told him, "and some other clothes as well. I'm sorry; I just don't know the spells. Maybe..." she trailed off, thinking.
"Maybe What?" He asked her. She looked at him silently for a second.
"Maybe Professor Dumbledore could help us?" She offered. Harry sighed again, silently accepting what she'd said. He didn't like it, but could see no other option.
"Come with me?" He asked hopefully, holding out his hand. Hermione smiled brightly, and took his hand at once.
Harry and Hermione arrived at Professor Dumbledore's office short time later, still holding hands, both in thought about the fact that Harry was starting to show, and what this meant. Harry stepped up to the gargoyle, and quietly offered the password that Dumbledore had entrusted to him shortly after he'd found out about the baby. Just in case, he'd said at the time.
"Sugar Quills" The gargoyle smiled, and slowly moved aside, Harry and Hermione quickly stood on the spiralling steps as they began to move to save themselves the long climb. They quickly reached Professor Dumbledore's office, and knocked on the door. An invitation to enter could be heard, so they opened the door and entered slowly.
"Ah, Harry, Hermione, to what do I owe the pleasure this morning?" Dumbledore enquired with a twinkle in his eye. Harry shifted nervously, not saying anything. He sent a panicked glance at Hermione who caught it and stepped forward slightly, taking the attention away from her boyfriend.
"Well, Headmaster, it's just that, um... "she shook herself to help her get the words out. "it's just that Harry's clothes no longer really fit him, and I don't know how to enlarge them. C-could you -?" Hermione stuttered out all in a rush. Dumbledore nodded quietly, the twinkle fading from his eyes. He became rather solemn, and the regret that his young student was facing such consequences from a horrific event that occurred when he was supposed to be safe and guarded under Albus' protection could be seen across his face instead.
"I see." He said a long moment later, when he spoke again however his voice was brighter. "Well Harry, I believe that the time may have come for a shopping trip then." Harry's face paled, he really didn't want to shop for clothes in the middle of the school year, what if someone saw him? Rumours about why he wasn't at school would start, and what if he bought maternity clothes and was spotted. Even worse!
"C-can't we just enlarge my clothes Professor?" He asked timidly. He really didn't want to go shopping! It was horrid at the best of times, without having to avoid being seen as well.
"Harry, my boy, I'm afraid it is not that easy. Yes we could enlarge your clothes for now, but as time passes they will need further enlargement, and it is not practical for you to have to visit me every time they need this. You need properly devised maternity clothes which will grow to accommodate your body. I will arrange for you to visit Diagon alley today, you shall be excused from your classes. Now, would you like Sirius to escort you?"
"No!" Harry shook his head strongly. "C-could Remus take me? And could Hermione maybe come?" he asked, not looking at the headmaster. Dumbledore looked from Harry to Hermione, slightly confused by Harry's vehemence that he did not want to spend the time with his Godfather. Sirius had spoken to him about Harry's slight hostility towards him following his last visit, and seeing it now made him wonder if Harry didn't in some small way blame Sirius slightly for not preventing what had happened to him.
"I don't see why not Harry, Miss Granger is quite far ahead in her studies, she should even be able to aid you in catching up the work you shall miss today. I shall get in touch with Remus immediately. Perhaps you would like to partake of breakfast in the Great Hall while I do so?" Harry and Hermione nodded,
"Thank you Headmaster." They chorused, Hermione sending the older man a bright smile before she once more took Harry's hand and led him out of the large office.
Albus Dumbledore sat for a few more moments, musing over Harry's reluctance to see his Godfather. He really must discuss this with the boy. If Harry needed someone to blame, surely the blame must lie at his own feet for not better protecting Harry at his relatives house, and not with Sirius who had done nothing but follow Dumbledore's instructions. He sighed, feeling weary, and pulled himself out of his chair and over to the fireplace to floo Remus.
Meanwhile, Harry and Hermione reached the Great Hall and Gryffindor table, slumping down into seats opposite Ron who paused in filling his mouth long enough to nod at their arrival.
"Ere oo bee?" He asked around a mouthful of sausage. Hermione shot him a disgusted look.
"Really Ronald. Swallow" Ron took her advice, and took a huge swallow.
"Morning Hermione. Where've you two been?" He asked again, with his mouth empty.
"We went to see Professor Dumbledore about Harry's problem" She whispered. Ron looked at Harry and nodded. In a louder voice, Hermione continued.
"We're neither of us feeling too well, so Madame Pomfrey has told us to take the day out of classes to rest. Sorry Ron. We'll have to borrow your notes later." She gave him a look that told him she'd be checking his notes to ensure that he'd paid attention to his classes in her absence. Ron nodded slowly, getting the idea. They ate their breakfast slowly, and quietly. Once they were finished Ron spoke again.
"Ok, Hermione, Harry. Will you be returning to the tower after breakfast? I'll see you after classes have finished. Hope you both feel better." As he got up to leave he shot a meaningful glance at Hermione then nodded almost imperceptibly in Harry's direction. Hermione looked over at her boyfriend and saw how downcast he looked, staring into his empty bowl of porridge forlornly. Hermione reached under the table and picked up his hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.
"C'mon Harry, Let's get back to the tower and have some rest. " She stood from the table, pulling him up with her, and led him gently back to the tower. Once they were along, She started talking to him.
"Harry, it's going to be ok. We knew that this would happen, we just need to get some clothes and everything will be alright again" she spoke quickly, as if trying to convince herself as much as him. "I'm surprised that your trousers won't fasten," she continued, "I mean I can't even see a difference..." She continued babbling at him all the way to the tower, only pausing briefly to voice the password to the Fat Lady.
Only once inside the common room and sure that no one was around to hear them did Harry stop dead, pulling Hermione to a stop as well, as she still had hold of his hand. As she jerked to a stop, her talking ceased and she turned to look at him. He was ghostly pale, and trembling slightly. She could see unshed tears gathered in his eyes.
"Oh, Harry" she whispered.
"It's not ok though Hermione, is it?" He demanded of her. "This is really happening, I am really pregnant and in about 6 months time I'm going to be someone's parent! Alone. How can I do this alone? I don't know what I'm doing, Why should I? Why is this happening to ME? This isn't FAIR!" He shouted the last word, with a tear finally over spilling. Hermione looked at him, shocked. She had thought he had reconciled himself to being a parent, he'd not brought it up for weeks, and why on earth did he think he'd be alone?
"No Harry. It isn't fair. And yes, you are going to be a parent. But you aren't going to be alone. Whatever makes you think that?" She really was confused. Surely Harry must realise that both herself and Ron would alway be there to support him, as would Sirius and Remus. And she was sure that the headmaster would be as well, and their other friends once they found out... she told him as much.
"Yes Hermione, I know that. But I'll still be a single parent, and, and who's going to want me now though? I'm dirty, and damaged, with a child... yes that sounds like a great prospect to me..." Hermione cut him off, taking a step towards him.
"Harry, you don't have to do this single handed, I'll be there with you every step of the way. I Love you. You aren't dirty, or damaged. Yes something terrible happened to you, and I'd do anything to take that away, but I can't, and something good has come out of this." She spoke quickly, taking another step towards him and raising her hand to touch his still relatively flat abdomen. "This baby, Harry, this baby is something good... and... and I'm going to be here, with you, helping you in every way you need. Harry, Harry I love you."
He looked at her for a moment, a few tears had escaped from her eyes too. He let another tear fall, and then closed the last distance between them, pulling her into his arms. She returned the embrace, holding him tight, and together they sank to the floor, kneeling and holding each other.
"I love you too Hermione. Thank you, I love you" He murmured over and over into her hair, letting the last few tears fall. After a short while, they both calmed, and simply remained kneeling on the floor, holding one another tightly.
This is how Remus found them when he entered the common room a short while later, ready to escort the teenagers on their shopping trip. He stood and looked at them for a moment, his heart aching for his friend's son, and the difficult times he faced. Hermione was the first to realise that they were no longer alone and glanced up with a slightly panicked expression which relaxed into a soft smile when she recognised Remus. She gave Harry a final squeeze and pulled slightly backwards, whispering another "I Love You" as she did so, Harry looked up, confused before he too registered Remus' presence. He stood carefully, helping Hermione up as he did so, and ran a hand over his outer robes to smooth them before turning to greet his former professor.
"Hi Remus" He spoke in a brighter tone than he'd used all morning. "Are you taking us to Diagon Alley?" He questioned. The man in question nodded, placing a bright smile on his face for Harry.
"Indeed Harry," He smiled, "I shall be accompanying the two of you on your shopping trip." He steeped further into the common room, towards a particularly comfortable looking armchair. "Why don't the two of you get yourselves ready while I wait here, then we'll be off?" He suggested, settling himself amongst the squashy cushions and taking out a small paperback to read while he waited. The two teens smiled at each other before turning up their respective staircases to grab outer clothes and money. Remus shook his head at their antics and set to reading the next chapter of his book. It really was quite interesting, and knowing these teenagers as he did, he may have a while to wait.