Story note: This was a present for ceirdwenfc on LJ who has become perhaps the internet's first (well, I guess second) OTP Ernie/Susan shipper and asked during an open fic-request meme for this moment.
"Poor baby...I thought you'd have had it." Susan slid her chair closer to the side of the bed, dipping her finger into the potion and rubbing it gently onto the angry green pustules that crossed her husband's chest. He hissed tightly at the initial sting, then his features relaxed into a look of deep relief as it began to work.
"My father was always careful about infectious diseases at the Loch...worried about the animals," he explained, sitting up so that she could reach the ones on his back. "Feeling a lot better, though. Dragon Pox at eighteen isn't the greatest fun, but I've heard Neville's been hit with it a lot worse."
"They're really scared for him," Susan nodded, frowning, "but Madam Pomfrey's brilliant. I'm sure he'll be fine. You're doing so much better already."
Ernie smiled, reaching out to run his fingers up the slender white line of her arm, the smile widening as she giggled and squirmed. She was so ticklish. "I feel a lot better." His hand had wandered to her shoulder now, beginning to trail lower, "A lot better."
She scowled at him, swatting his hand, but the look was only half-reproachful. "You're a very sick man, Mr. Macmillan. You shouldn't molest your nurse."
"I would never dream of assaulting a Healer." He sniffed archly, then the wicked gleam returned to his eyes, and he grabbed her in a lightning-quick motion, lifting her effortlessly up onto the bed and burying his face in the curve of her neck. His skin was still flushed with the remains of the fever, and she felt wonderfully cool and soft against him. "With my wife, on the other hand, I am free to claim all my matrimonial rights."
"Ernie!" She twisted in his grip, but her dark eyes were shining, and she ran her finger over his lips with a wicked smile of her own as she wiggled maddeningly against his lap. "You're definitely feeling better, aren't you?"
He nodded, drawing her in closer as his hands slid up under her shirt. "Maybe it's not being allowed to touch you in a week," he murmured, "but I swear these have gotten even bigger since -- ow!"
She had yelped and slapped him, yanking back from him the moment he had cupped her breast, and he blinked, startled. Susan had always liked being touched that way, it was one of the many, many things that they had been extremely pleased to discover they agreed upon, but her reaction had almost been one of pain. "Susan?"
"They're...tender." she made a face, scooting away further and yanking down the hem of her shirt. She was blushing deeply, and suddenly refusing to meet his eyes. His frown deepened in concern.
"You all right, love?"
"I'm..." His wife hesitated again, and now she was staring at the yellow bed hangings as if they were the most fascinating thing she'd ever seen. "I didn't want to say anything until you were better."
"I'm fine!" Ernie sat up straighter now, the earlier interest fading into worry. "If there's something wrong, love, if you've caught another strain, I can take care of you." He stopped, sucking in a deep breath and feeling his shoulders tighten in abruptly gathering fury as another possibility began to gather like a thunderstorm. "Or did someone...did the Carrows...oh, if anyone..."
"No!" She shook her head abruptly, her long black braid whipping over her shoulder. "No one's touched me...well," a thin attempt at a naughty smile touched her pretty mouth, "except you, of course, and that's more than welcome."
"Not lately," he pointed out, motioning at her breasts, which were, now that he really looked at them, quite definitely larger than they had been the last time he had been able to give them his proper attentions. "What's going on?"
There was a long pause. A very long pause. Then she reached out, taking one of his hands in both of her tiny, delicate ones. "Ernie, love, I'm pregnant."
His mouth dropped. He blinked. He tried to breathe. None of these things seemed to be working the way they should. Finally, he managed to find words. "You're...sure?"
"I've been throwing up since we got back to school," she admitted with a sheepish little smile, "I've not shot up bra sizes like this since I was thirteen, and I've had to time it so I only go near the common room when they're not cooking in the kitchens because the smells are...yeah, I'm sure."
Ernie shook his head, still trying to process it. "Have you...?"
"Six different spells and potions. All positive. And six weeks is a little much to be just late."
His eyes wandered down her body to the waist that he could still almost wrap his hands around. It seemed impossible, incredible, and yet. "When do you think it happened?"
"Probably that night at the Burrow," she admitted. "We were so upset about the poor Creevey boys, it was our wedding night...I don't think we used any protective spells, do you?"
Ernie thought about it, trying to sort any kind of order or sense out of a day and night that had been the most chaotic mix of dream and nightmare he had ever lived through. Finally, he wrapped his arms around his wife, drawing her close to him again, even as he was careful not to touch her chest. Instead, he lay his hands flat against her stomach over the gray wool of her skirt, trailing kisses across the warm skin behind her ear. "If anywhere in the wizarding world has fertility magic, I guess that would be the place."
She arched back against him, turning her head so that his mouth could reach further, but her tone was hesitant, surprised. "You're not angry, Ernie?"
"I'm terrified. Not being a father, but how I'm going to keep my family safe. But no, I'm not angry..." His voice deepened, and he shifted her just enough to kiss her full on the mouth now, deep and sweet and passionate before he pulled back to rest his forehead against hers, one hand cupping her cheek as the other rested against her belly. "How could I be angry that the most beautiful witch in the world is creating such magic?"