D/C: I don't own Harry Potter.
Well, I wrote this for a challenge on another site, but I could see no reason why I shouldn't post it here, being the sweet little thing it was. But I did have to tweak some of the facts to suit the story, such as the ages of the kids. Ah, well, happy reading!
He had watched it get bigger day by day, his eyes ogled in fascination. When no one was looking, he'd snatch quick glances in its direction; the huge bump that was his mum's stomach.
Albus Severus Potter found it strange, even though his parents had explained it to him many times before, that a baby should grow inside his mother's tummy. He had seen pregnant ladies before, but none of these pregnant ladies were his mother. Besides, he had never seen his mother look so...round. He had always assumed that she was never going to be anything but the slender figure she had always been.
"Isn't it weird?" he would ask his brother, James.
At which point James would push up the glasses that were starting to slide down his nose, and look up irritably from his comic book, The Adventures of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle, an old heirloom from his godfather, Ron. "Al, if there's anything weirder than your stupid questions, it's the fact that you came out of mum's stomach," he would tell him.
And then Albus would hurry up to their parents, interrupting their pleasant viewing of an old sitcom featuring Obdiskins for Minister!, with the question they severely dreaded; "Mum, Dad, is it true? Did I really...come out of mum's tummy?"
"Of course you did, sweetie."
"But...then, how did I come out of your tummy, mum?"
Ginny and Harry would exchange furtive glances before turning to smile at their son.
"Albus, sweetie, we already told you; it's those Healers at St. Mungo's; they're the ones who got you out of there," his mother would say.
"Yes, but that still doesn't explain how I got inside your stomach in the first place," Albus would press on.
And then Ginny would look away and Harry would give a hasty laugh while he leaned forward to squeeze his son's shoulder. "Albus, what are we?"
"And what do wizards do?"
"There you go! I knew you were a smart one!" Harry would say cheerfully. "That's how it happens; magic."
Then, as they gently ushered him out of the room, he would hear them murmuring quietly between themselves, and he'd catch a whisper of, "...he's been talking to Ron again." Of course, that wasn't completely untrue. Albus, despite his young age, has managed to locate Uncle Ron's weak point, and cracked him under the pressure of all his innocent questions. He would've found out more if Auntie Hermione hadn't come along and smacked the back of her husband's head.
So far, what this little three year old toddler knew was that it was something "too bloody awesome", as Ron had put it. But that still didn't tell him much.
It has been a little more than eight months since his mother had announced that she was going to have a baby. Now she was ticking off the days till the 4th of May, and a new question was aroused.
"Albus, what do you want the baby to be? A boy or a girl?" she asked.
The kid's eyes widened. He hadn't thought of that yet, and now he stared at his mother's bump with anxiety. He had the feeling that his choice would affect the gender of the baby in there, and he didn't want to make any hasty decisions. Closing his eyes and taking in a deep breath, he returned his spoon to the bowl of pudding, and slipped off his chair to the kitchen's floor.
He gave his mother a defiant look. "I have to think about it," he said, and walked out of the kitchen, much to her bewilderment.
Albus went to his room and clambered onto his bed. He sat there, cross-legged, with his arms folded across his chest. He found his thoughts drifting to the Weasleys, to Rose and Hugo. He had always liked Rose – she was so pretty and always smelled so clean and nice, and she was always giving him cookies whenever he came over to visit. But Hugo, who was a year younger than him, was always bawling that Rose was mean to him, and that put him on an edge. What if he got a sister who was nice to outsiders, but mean to him?
James walked past his open bedroom door, and Albus bounded after him. "James! James! What do you want, a sister or a brother?" he asked breathlessly.
James stared at him like he was crazy. "What are you talking about?" he demanded.
Albus hopped from one foot to the other. "You know," he said impatiently. "Mum's baby! She wants to know if we want it to be a boy or a girl! We have to tell her quickly, or she won't have time to change it...and then...and then we'd have a baby who is not a boy or a girl!"
That thought frightened him, and he tried not to imagine what a baby who was neither a boy nor a girl looked like.
James, however, laughed and flicked his brother's forehead. "Don't be silly! How can it be neither?" he replied. "The baby will be a boy or a girl. You don't expect it to be a Hippogriff, or something like that, do you?"
Albus looked indignant. "Of course I don't expect it to be a Hippogriff!" he huffed. "If it was one, mum's stomach would've been huge!"
Scowling, he stomped back into his bedroom, turning his back to his brother's last comment, "Don't hurt your self thinking about it! It could make you stupid."
So now Albus thought about what it would be like to have another brother. What if he turned out to be as annoying as James? He didn't think he would be able to handle two brothers like that. Even as he thought about it, his head started to hurt, and he panicked; would he really become stupid if he continued to think about it? Intimidated by the idea, he rushed down to the kitchen to his mum.
"Mum! I want a girl! I want a girl!" he yelled out. After all, maybe if he made the choice quickly, his head would stop hurting and he wouldn't become stupid as his brother had said.
Ginny looked as bewildered as she had when he left the kitchen. "R-right, I'll see what I can do about it, sweetie," she murmured.
But Albus was no longer listening. He was going to have a sister!
"I'm going to have a sister!"
Albus had been bursting to tell that piece of news for a while now. Rose Weasley had been dropped off at the Potters' by her mother half an hour ago, and Albus had abruptly taken her hand and led her up to his bedroom. He wanted to tell her right then and there about his exciting news, but he found himself emptying his box of crayons on the floor and taking out some colouring books out, instead.
Rose looked up from the flower she had been colouring. "Really?" she said excitedly. "You mean, the baby Auntie Ginny is having is a girl?"
Albus nodded vigorously. "Yes! I told mum that I wanted to have a little sister, and she said okay!" he told her.
Rose gave him a dubious look. "Does it work like that?" she asked, and he nodded again. She pouted. "Oh, I wish I'd known that before Hugo came! Then I would've told mum that I wanted a sister instead!"
"Don't you like Hugo?"
"No, I don't! He's always crying! And mum and dad always give him what he wants!" she protested. "I wish I had a sister, and not Hugo! He is so annoying!"
After Auntie Hermione took her daughter back home, and he'd put away his toys and colouring things, little Albus went and seated himself on the sofa between his mum and dad. He looked around to make sure James wasn't around, before sighing, much to his parents' puzzlement.
"Mummy, will I hate my sister?" he asked.
Harry frowned. "Albus Severus, whatever gives you that idea?" he asked gently, while secretly mouthing a question in his wife's direction. 'It's a girl?'
'I don't know!' Ginny shot back at him, before turning to stroke her son's hair. "Albus, did you and Rosie have a fight?"
Albus shook his head. "No," he answered. "But Rosie said that she hated Hugo. What if all kids hate their little sisters and brothers?"
"Al, why...?" his father started.
Albus suddenly gasped. "Maybe James hates me, too!" he said in alarm.
"Don't be silly, Albus; James doesn't hate you," Harry said firmly, and then mouthed another question at his wife. 'Where's James, anyway?'
Ginny rolled her eyes. 'He went fishing with Teddy, remember?' she replied. She pulled Albus into her arms. "Albus, James doesn't hate you. You know he loves you," she said in gentle, reassuring tones.
"Then why does he keep making fun of me all the time?"
Ginny sighed. 'I told you to talk to James about that!' she shot at Harry, who merely wringed his hands in a helpless gesture. "Well, that's...erm...the way James expresses his love to you," she explained. She saw Harry mouth, "Lame!" at her, and even Albus didn't seem entirely convinced. "Honest! Look!"
She slapped Harry's arm. "H-hey!" he yelled out.
She batted her eyelashes at him. "I love you, darling," she said sweetly.
Harry scowled. "I love you, too, sweetheart," he mumbled, rubbing the spot where she hit him.
Ginny grinned at her son. "See?" she said cheerfully, and he laughed. She ruffled his hair and started tickling his sides, and he squealed with laughter. "Everything will be alright, Al; don't worry about it."
But...the day came when Albus really witnessed what they call the "famous Weasley rage", and it certainly didn't make it appear like everything was going to be peachy.
He was sitting at the kitchen's table, swinging his feet while he munched away happily through the bowl of cereal he had before him. James was sitting across from him, mumbling over a piece of homework he was given at the Muggle school he attended. His mother was standing at the stove, making his father, who was still up in bed, his favourite pancakes. It was just like any other morning at the Potters.
Albus was just draining the last of the milk in his bowl when he heard a splash. For a brief moment, he felt terrified that he'd accidentally spilled milk onto the floor. James was now scratching the back of his head, and he didn't seem to notice anything. He looked up at his mother, panicked, only to see that she was looking a lot more panicked than he was. Raising himself a little so that he could have a better look, he noticed the puddle of water at his mother's feet.
A weird sensation filled the toddler's tummy. It bubbled and fizzed, and made its way up his chest, and erupted out of his little mouth into rapturous laughter. James looked up then, and when he spotted the reason for his brother's mirth, he, too, started sniggering.
Ginny, on the other hand, had a million feelings swirling around her face; humiliation, anger, anxiousness, and fear. "HARRY!!!" she suddenly yelled. "Come down here this instant!"
Albus and James lapsed into silence. When their mother clutched at her stomach, and staggered over to one of the chairs, and started breathing heavily, they both felt something was wrong. The pained expression on her face and the tears which were starting to well in her eyes scared Albus, and he slipped off of his chair and timidly walked over to her. He gently touched her arm, and she smiled reassuringly for a moment, before pain clouded her features once again.
"Harry! Wake up, you prat!" she screamed again, and he backed away from her. "My water broke!"
A crash upstairs told them their father had broken the bedside lamp, and a pained yelp identified that he had stepped on a broken shard. Then, an odd mixture of sound, which seemed like someone was walking and hopping at the same time followed, and moments later, Harry leaped into the kitchen's doorway, looking stricken. One look in his wife's direction, and what was left of colour in his face drained away.
"Don't just stand there! We need to go to St. Mungo's!" Ginny snapped at him.
Harry shook himself out of his reverie and he hurried towards her side. Acting as her support, he pulled her arm around his shoulders and helped her to her feet. "How should we go? Apparation?" he asked nervously.
"You're talking like this is the first time I've delivered a baby!" she said, agitated, and when he started to open his mouth in protest, she cut him off and said, "Of course we can't Apparate! It's bad for the baby! What if it splinches inside my womb?"
There was a brief pause in which Harry seemed to be imagining the consequences of that happening, and only seemed to stop when Ginny pinched him, and he winced. "Right, let me just get something to wear," he murmured, for he was still in his boxers and t-shirt.
"Harry, we have to go! Now!" she cried, anguished. "Get the car!"
Albus had been watching this brief exchange with stunned wonder. He had never seen his parents look so uncoordinated before; it rather unsettled him. He sneaked a look at James, and saw that he, too, was looking troubled.
Harry didn't seem to notice his kids until then, and shamefully realised what a bad image he'd given them of himself. He seemed to pull himself together, as he gripped his wife more firmly. "James, go get that blue bag you're mother had packed from our bedroom, and get me a robe, too," he said briskly, and James nodded and hurried out of the kitchen. Albus jumped when his father turned to look at him, and the latter's expression softened. "Al, could you fetch my car keys, please? And put on some shoes on, son; we're going out."
As Albus ran through the house's rooms hunting for his father's keys, only one thought filled his mind.
Please let mummy be okay!
Several hours later, Albus and James were found sitting next to each other on an uncomfortable green couch in one of St. Mungo's many waiting rooms. A nurse was sitting close to them, trying to talk them into eating the celery sticks she was offering them, while emphasizing on the consequences of eating candy, and the benefits they'd gain from eating their veggies. But the two boys were barely listening, as they both wondered what had befallen their mother.
When they'd arrived at the hospital, they had accompanied their parents to the delivery room, but when a Healer announced that the contractions were taking a turn to the worse, he had requested that their father take them to one of the waiting rooms. Albus could still remember how the hairs on the back of his neck prickled when his mother let out a pained scream as they were leaving the room. Then his father had left them in the waiting room, and bounded back to the delivery room, with the promise that he'd come and fill them in on what was happening as soon as possible.
"Is mummy going to be okay?" he interrupted her through her tirade on how bad Bertie Blott's Every Flavour Beans was for one's health.
The nurse faltered for a moment, and then she smiled at him. "Of course she's going to be okay, sweetie," she assured him, but when he still looked doubtful, she added coaxingly, "Do you want me to check what's going on?"
Albus nodded meekly. The kind nurse chuckled, took out her wand which was stuck in the pocket of her apron, and said, in a loud and clear voice, "Expecto Patronum!". Albus watched, mesmerized as a gleaming, silver unicorn burst out of the end of the nurse's wand, and galloped out of the waiting room.
The nurse, on the other hand, found the boys' stunned expressions rather amusing. "Pretty, isn't it?" she asked, and they both nodded simultaneously. "Now watch as it comes back bearing news of your mother."
Albus gripped his knees very tightly, and strained his eyes on the door, trying hard not to blink lest he missed the unicorn's entry. Sure enough, a few moments later, the unicorn returned, and the three-year-old found himself holding his breath in anticipation. Then the nurse's voice rang out, and he automatically turned to look at her, but she smiled and nodded at the unicorn.
When he looked back, he saw that, indeed, it was the unicorn speaking. "Mrs. Potter has safely delivered her baby," it announced. "It's a girl. Congratulations!"
James gave a slight groan, but soon gave away to cheering loudly. Albus was still fascinated by the way the unicorn had disappeared into nothingness, but not enough to wipe out its words from his head. He turned to the nurse, his face gleaming with suppressed delight. "Can we go see her?" he said excitedly.
"Your mum or your sister?" the nurse asked teasingly.
Albus didn't even think twice. "Both of them!"
As the nurse led them down the corridor, Albus felt like he wanted to pull away from her and just run to his mother, but he thought better of it; St. Mungo's was a huge place, and he dreaded getting lost amongst all the sick people, some of whom looked really frightening, with bat ears flopping about their face, and some with huge boils...
"Are we there yet?"
"Just a moment, dear."
"Can't you make that unicorn appear again, so we could ride on it?"
"Erm...I'm afraid not, dear."
By the time they got to the door leading into the room they're mother had been moved to, Albus's little heart was thumping loudly against his chest. He couldn't remember the last time he had been this excited before. The nurse knocked on the door once, and his father's voice called out from behind it, "Come in."
The door was pushed open, and Albus peered around the nurse's legs into the room. The first thing which struck his little mind was how white and bright the room was. As his eyes adjusted, he saw a big white bed with pink duvet covers, on which his mother was lying, propped up against her pillows. Next to her sat his father, on an equally white chair, in the blue robes with the little golden snitches, which James had hastily picked for him. On a closer look, Albus noticed the little yellow bundle in his mother's arms.
"Well, come on in, boys," Harry said encouragingly, for Ginny seemed too tired to speak. "Don't you want to meet your little sister?"
Albus ran into the room, and clambered onto his father's lap. He leaned across the bed, and peered at the bundle. The only part visible of the baby was her face, and it was rather pink. She had a button-like nose, and her eyes were closed. She had wispy red hair, like his mother, which fell across her forehead. There was only one way to describe her...
"She's so pretty!" he said in delight. "My own sister!"
James followed him, and he, too, looked down at his new-born sister. His mouth seemed to work furiously, as if he didn't want to say anything nice about...well, a girl. His face finally relaxed into a huge grin. "She looks like you, mum," he told her.
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" Ginny prompted him.
James looked at her, worried that he might've offended his mother. "It's a good thing!" he insisted. "You're very pretty, mum!"
But Albus was no longer listening to the others' conversation. He was watching his sister intently. He watched in awe as a tiny hand poked its way through the yellow wrappings, its fingers curling and uncurling as it groped around for something to catch. Her eyelashes fluttered a bit, and her tiny mouth stretched into a small smile, before disappearing as quickly as it had been formed.
"Mum, she smiled...she smiled at me," he whispered.
"I'm sure she did, honey," Ginny replied, peering dubiously into her daughter's face. "Well, then, what should we call her? Albus? James?"
"We can't name her Albus or James!"
"I was just directing the question at you, Albus."
"Oh." Albus didn't say anything for a moment, as he tossed around options in his head. Finally, with a look at his dad, he said, "Let's name her Lily. Like Grandmother Lily."
"Lily Potter. Has a nice ring to it."
Albus reached forward to touch the baby's hand, and to his pleasant surprise, her fingers closed around his index finger, and gripped it tightly. He smiled.
A/N: So...good? Bad? Silly? Whatever it is, could you please review? I would really love to know what you think!