Here it is, the end to my baby. This was my very first multi-chapter story and I absolutely loved writing it. I hope the end lives up to everyone's expectations. For my loyal readers, don't miss the FredxHermione goodness too much, a sequel will be in the works soon – just head on over to my page and cast your vote in the latest poll, it's deciding how far in the future (or into the past) the sequel will take place. For now I have two other stories running, "The Life We Made" which is a CharliexHermione story and then "Two is Better Than One", a multi-couple song fiction. For the last time – Enjoy!!!
Wait… first a big shout out to my most loyal and vocal reader – Preetoaka Raven Potter Weasley -I love ya girl and I so look forward to your reviews every week. I hope this chapter lives up to your expectations!
Expectations, Truths and the Tale of Beedle the Bard
The fog was thick in Wales and it left a glossy layer of sweat on his sloping forehead. Everywhere he looked for miles was green, rolling hills and fields rich with color but dimmed by the godforsaken fog that had descended on the country millions of years before he arrived here.
The trip had not been an easy one, but it was necessary. He had left the quidditch team, it wasn't who he was anymore. All he had left to do was find the fountain, to see it with his own eyes and then he could accept whatever fate had in store for him.
It should be easy enough to find he reasoned, his father had been there once in his youth when he was in desperate need. Now Viktor was in desperate need. Surely his ancestory would not quit on him now.
He was ready to give up when he stumbled upon it. He had taken up camp in the Clocaenog Forest, close to where he assumed the fountain to be. He had gone out to bath in a nearby creek early in the morning when he found it.
It was more beautiful than he had imagined. The stonework was exquisite, four tiers of absolute perfection. His hand instantly went to his pocket and he was relieved to find he had it on him, the vial he intended to bring back to Hermione.
He bathed languidly in it, letting the soothing waters wash over him. He didn't feel different afterwards though, a bit cleaner but that was it.
He returned to Sofia soon after, but was quickly on his way to London to see Hermione, to give her his precious gift. His search for her lead him to the Burrow where he stood uncomfortably on the stoop, too nervous to ring the bell.
Luckily he didn't have to, before he could change his mind and turn back the door flew open, "Viktor you're here." She hugged him as best she could, her big belly in the way and urged him to come in and join them. Her due date was only a few days away and they had all once again gathered at the Burrow.
Fred for his part forced a smile and Mrs. Weasley was as hospitable as ever, the others were a different story. The two eldest, Bill and Charlie eyed him warily and George followed suit. Ron on the other hand looked positively outraged. Their respective wives and siblings were too immersed in the small children being passed from arm to arm. Hermione's child, he realized, would have many playmates growing up.
"Have dinner with us Viktor." Mrs. Weasley insisted, making room at the already cramped table for the new arrival.
He shook his head dismissively, "Thank you but I cannot stay, I haff just come to speak vith Hermione if I may."
Despite the protesting looks of her family Hermione agreed, following him out to the garden to speak. They sat down on the familiar stone bench, knees knocking as they spoke quietly, heads together so no intruder could hear their conversation.
"I haff very good news for you Hermione."
She urged him on, a smile fighting to surface, "You're going to bring me to the fountain aren't you?"
Her face fell and she knitted her brow, she was angry with him.
"I haff already gone to the fountain, but I haff brought you something." He reached into his pocket and found the vial, his hands wrapping tightly around it as he produced it.
She stared in wonder at the thing in his hands, "Is that water from the fountain? For me?"
He nodded, "Yes. I vould not haff been able to bring you but this vill work the same. I must go now, but remember, faith is the most important part Hermione."
Faith my arse, she thought pocketing the vial before hugging him once again, "Thank you Viktor."
"For you anything, I think at times you are my only friend." His words were sad but true, Viktor was painfully shy and life after quidditch would not be easy for him.
"Stay in touch yeah?"
He smiled, a fake smile, but better than nothing, "I vill try."
Then he was gone, walking in a striding gait to the apparition point not turning to look back once. Hermione stayed outside for a while longer, trying to decide how to go about distributing the precious water. She had considered Bill and Charlie, they had physical wounds obvious to the eye, but they seemed happy and not in need. The same went for George and Angelina and Ron and Harry. Even Ginny was at peace. She could think of only one pair that was sorely in need of a bit of luck.
She was contemplating how to pull them aside when he joined her outside. "Ok Hermione?" He asked, not used to showing obvious concern for others.
She looked up, "Oh yes, I'm wonderful Percy. Have I been out here long?"
"A bit." He admitted with a shrug, making as if to walk back to the house, but she stopped him.
"Percy, I have a confession. I heard something, a year or so back, between you and Audrey, I know you're having trouble conceiving." She felt guilty as soon as the words had left her mouth. She had spied on a private moment and she couldn't guess how he would react.
His face was, surprisingly devoid of emotion as he spoke, "Well yes, apparently the Weasley fertility gene has quite skipped over me."
"Percy, I have something for you and Audrey."
He looked interested now, albeit a bit skeptical, but interested to. "Yes?"
She nodded, slipping the vial out of her pocket and into his open hands. He turned it over, studying it closely.
"Well yes, but its special water. It's why Viktor was here. Have you read The Fountain of Fair Fortune?"
The name sounded familiar, "Perhaps when I was young, is that the one with the healing water?"
Hermione nodded eagerly.
"You don't mean – this can't be – Hermione, is this water from that fountain?"
Her head was nodding vigorously now, causing her entire body to shake and her face had exploded in pride. Percy was flabbergasted.
He pressed it back into her hands, "I can't take this, it's yours."
"No, Percy, I got it for you. Don't you see, I have everything I could ever want. Please take it."
"And if it doesn't work?"
Hermione sighed, "I didn't say it would give you a baby Percy, it will give you what the two of you most need and if that happens to be a baby, so be it. Please, just take it."
He finally agreed, shoving it in the pocket of his dress pants, "We should head back in then. And thank you Hermione."
She returned his smile, "It's the least I can do. You did save Fred after all."
"Oh that was nothing."
She shook her head, "No that was not nothing. If Fred had died, I don't know what I would have done, so thank you Percy. No words can express how thankful I really am."
"You really love him don't you?"
"With all my heart and then some."
Percy smiled, a smile so wide his face looked ready to split in two, "Well good then cause Fred deserves it. Now we really should get back before they get worried. Fred tends to be the jealous time."
Hermione laughed at this, nodding in agreement as they headed back towards the house. Mrs. Weasley was clearing the table and from the noise Hermione had to assume the rest of the family was in the sitting room.
Noticing their presence, Mrs. Weasley shooed Percy away and sat Hermione down at the table, an overfilled plate in front of her, "I'm afraid you didn't get to eat much at dinner dear and the baby needs food."
Hermione made to protest but realize it was a futile battle and took a tentative bite of the roast on her plate. Doing so reminded her how hungry she was and suddenly she was very grateful for her mother-in-law's overbearing tendencies.
"Oi, there you are." Fred entered the kitchen smiling and sat down by Hermione's elbow, "Have a good talk with Krum?"
She nodded, continuing to devour her meal. Fred watched on in wonder, he had never seen Hermione eat quite so much so quickly. She would have put even Ron to shame.
"Slow down love." Fred chided playfully earning a withering glance from his wife.
She dropped the fork her appetite sated and her plate empty, "I'm due any day now Fred and I'm hungry so excuse me if I eat a bit faster than I normally would."
"Now help me up so we can go see everyone else."
Fred started laughing raucously, "Good one love."
"I wasn't kidding."
Fred hoisted Hermione up and out of the chair as gracefully as possible when one was so heavily pregnant. Once up Hermione shook Fred off and made her way to the sitting room, Fred couldn't help but liken her walk to a ducks waddle. He wisely kept this bit of information for himself.
Standing in the doorway between the kitchen and sitting room of his childhood home Fred surveyed the scene before him. If someone had told him two years ago that this would happen he wouldn't believe it. Bill and Fleur were sitting in the corner with his parents and Charlie talking quietly while Victoire walked back and forth on unsteady feet. She had not been much of a surprise truthfully. George and Angelina were sitting with Patricia and Ginny by the fire, each holding a squirming baby, now that had been more of a surprise. His ex-girlfriend and his brother married and parents to two overly energetic babies, it had never been in the cards for them but strangely it fit.
The 'Golden Trio' as he had often heard them referred to were on the couch furthest from the door. Harry was holding his son out for the other two to coo over and the baby seemed to be enjoying the attention. Even Ron looked grown up, a minor miracle in his eyes. Hermione was on the other side of Harry, leaning forward as best she could with her pregnant belly acting as a hindrance.
She looked absolutely gorgeous he decided. He always thought she was beautiful but seeing her in this light, her hair falling freely around her face and her body swollen with his child was something else altogether. He felt a knot of pride in his stomach. This was his life, his family.
"Oi Fred, over here mate!" George called from the hearth as he tried to control an antsy Danielle, she currently had his hair in a vice like grip.
George, his twin. There had been times during the war when he thought they might lose each other, when George had lost his ear, or when the wall fell on top of him. The knowledge that they were both here today, successful and happy, that was all Fred really needed in this lifetime.
True to Percy's nature there was no ceremony for his promotion, no party after, not even with his family. Shacklebolt made a formal announcement and then he switched offices. It was as simple as that, not fanfare or fuss over things. One day it was Minister Shacklebolt, the next it was Minister Weasley.
He hadn't told anyone what was in the works until it happened. Not even his family or Audrey knew what was coming until it was splashed over the front cover of the Daily Prophet and he had the ministers' crest on his work robes.
His family had wanted to celebrate, they had sent bottles of wine and popped in on him to congratulate him. He appreciated it of course, they all knew that this was his lifetime goal. However, he wasn't as jaded as he had been in his youth.
His years at the ministry had taught him how exhausting the work was. He would be twenty-four in a month and already he felt like he was fifty. He walked with an arthritic limp and his face was etched with deep frown lines. Even his bright red hair had lost its luster, fading into a dull coppery tone, it had no shine or body to it. He was even skinnier than before and it took quite a few spells to make his clothes even ill fitting.
Percy Weasley was the picture of a broken man.
He had drunk the water as soon as they had gotten home that night, half for him, half for Audrey. He didn't tell her what it was, offering it to her as if it was just any glass of water. So far they had no news, it had only been a few days though.
When the announcement of his promotion came out Hermione and Fred had come over. He had seen the looks Hermione gave him all through dinner, she thought that his rise to minister had to do with the water. She didn't know how long this had been in the works.
He kept the vial it had come in on his desk in the new office now, as a reminder of how much he was loved by his family. He had nearly forgotten about it until Viktor Krum had pointed it out to him.
He had a meeting scheduled with Viktor for July 3. Viktor had left quidditch and was moving to wizarding Britain, but first wanted to discuss the limits of the marriage law Shacklebolt had set in place. He was nervous of the affect it would have on him.
On July 4th, Minister Weasley repealed the marriage law for future witches and wizards, those already affected had no reprieve. On July 4th, Viktor Krum was also enrolled in auror training, meant to study under Ron Weasley and Harry Potter.
There was another arrival July 4th, 2000.
"Push love!" Fred screamed, as if he was coaching a quidditch team to victory. Hermione had his hand in a death grip and he worried if they didn't get his son out soon he might be more handicapped than George.
Hermione had been in labor for eighteen hours before things started picking up. She had denied any pain spells or potions and Fred was now considering forcing her to take them, she would forgive him later he reasoned.
Besides Hermione two healers and several mediwitches were overseeing the birth, this was the first grandchild Mrs. Weasley was not present for. Fred had flat out refused to have her in the room much to her chagrin. Instead she had been sent back to the waiting room with the rest of the Weasley brood.
"Just a few more love, come on you can do it."
Hermione let out an unearthly scream and squeezed his hand harder still, he saw stars briefly before regaining his resolve. Watching her writhe around in pain hurt him physically and he had already decided Gideon was going to be their only child, he couldn't bear to see her hurt so badly again.
"Mr. Weasley, he's just about out now if you'd like to come look." One of the mediwitches informed him, smiling kindly at the soon to be father.
Fred was horrified at the prospect, seeing that would insure they had no more children. He shook his head no, wincing as Hermione twisted his hand a bit.
"One more Mrs. Weasley and you'll have a beautiful baby boy." The healer announced from somewhere by her feet. Fred wasn't too keen on having male healers but Hermione had brushed off his concerns and now he was glad for it.
She hadn't said a word since the intense labor started, just screams. She hadn't cursed him like Angelina did to George or try to hold conversation like Fleur and Bill – Fleur had taken the pain potion. No one knew how Ginny had dealt with it.
Hermione remained mostly quiet. Her face held that deep look of concentration usually reserved for a particularly hard potion or spell. Except for her few screams and the arm-twisting, she had little to no reaction to everything going on.
"Ok dear, just bare down and it will be one more push."
Then he heard it, a faint cry like a cat mewling at first followed by a loud scream. Everything was a blur then, the healers set a cleaning charm on Hermione and the baby and then when everything finally slowed down they were placing a baby in his arms.
"Big boy you have there, 10 lbs. even and 22 inches. He's a bruiser."
His heart was beating practically out of his chest and everything around him faded suddenly. He had just fallen hopelessly in love. Gideon was perfect in every way. He had a mess of curly auburn hair, darker than the rest of the Weasley's and when he opened his eyes and took his first look at his father it was with deep blue eyes that mirrored Fred's own.
"Is it my turn yet?" Hermione teased softly, her voice soft and spent.
Broken from his stupor, Fred sat on the edge of the bed, placing the baby gently in Hermione's arms. The same look of love crossed her face.
Most of the medical staff had cleared the room at this point, save for one healer that was casting all the necessary spells to make sure everything was on the up and up and a mediwitch who was filling out his birth certificate.
"Name please?" She asked Fred, elbowing her way over to peer at the baby throw her glasses. She didn't look impressed, that was her seventh baby that day and one of hundreds she had seen born in her lifetime. Still, she understood the wonder the new parents were in.
"Gideon James Weasley."
"Another Weasley." She observed and then asked, "Related to the minister are you?"
Fred nodded, "Yes, he's waiting in the lobby with my family actually. Could you get them for me?"
"Only two at a time." She warned.
"That's fine. Tell them to send George."
He felt the familiar sting of tears in the corners of his eyes and a peace was setting into him that he had never experienced before.
"He's here Fred. He's really here."
He couldn't respond. It was as if his voice had been taken, so he just stared down at the baby, smiling broadly as he settled against Hermione's chest and promptly went back to sleep.
The nurse returned shortly with George and Charlie in tow.
"Figured I'd bring this bloke, the rest wouldn't come without alone." George teased, coming to stand by Fred
"Bloody hell he's massive!" Charlie commented, shocked by the sheer size of the baby.
"Huge." Fred and George said at the same time causing everyone to laugh and subsequently waking Gideon back up.
Hermione lifted her arms, "Want to hold your godson George?"
The twin nodded eagerly scooping him up, "Geez, I reckon Dani weighs the same now as he does." He shook his head in dismay but ruined it by smiling, obviously enchanted by the little boy in his arms.
Charlie too had taken a special liking to his nephew instantly. He loved all his nieces and nephews of course, but there was just something about Gideon. He had the same easygoing expression on his face that Charlie often wore and he was only minutes old. Plus, Fred was the only one crazy enough to let Charlie take his kid to see dragons.
"I suppose we should open up the flood gates." Hermione said at last, a hint of regret in her voice knowing she would soon have to share her baby with countless others.
"Should we send in Ron and Harry first?" George asked, returning the baby safely to his father's arms.
Hermione smiled to herself, "Yes I think I'd like that. Thank you George."
With hugs all around and a kiss for Gideon the two brothers went back to the waiting room, sending Harry and Ron in their place.
The past few weeks had helped Harry to be at ease with babies, but Ron was still nervous. He typically avoided children, especially infants, at all costs.
"Well come a bit closer Ron, he doesn't bite." Hermione teased at last, noticing Ron hung back from the bed.
Stepping forward at last he sat down shakily in the chair beside Hermione's bed.
"Wanna hold him mate?" Harry asked, making as to relieve himself of the baby in his arms.
Fred rolled his eyes, "Go ahead Ron. You're sitting, you'll be fine." He looked at Hermione quickly and once she nodded turned to speak to them again, "I'm going to go see the others, do you wanna come Harry?"
Then they were alone. Ron was holding Gideon as if he was afraid his arms would give out at any minute and the baby would tumble to the floor. He was entirely focused on keeping the baby from harm.
"He's perfect isn't he?"
Ron nodded, "Don't tell the others but I think he's the best looking of the lot. Looks a bit like his Uncle Ron this one does."
Hermione laughed noting the smug pride on Ron's face at the idea.
"You are happy aren't you Hermione? You love Fred right?"
She mulled over the question in her head, wondering why it had taken him so long to ask, she had expected it much sooner.
"Yes Ron, I'm happy. For the longest time, even when I knew I loved Fred, I still believed that without the marriage law you and I would have ended up married. Then I woke up one day and I realized that I would have found my way to Fred with or without the marriage law. Remember how you used to laugh at me for saying there was one true love in the world for everyone, their soulmate?" Ron nodded, "Well Fred is my one."
Ron smiled, just a ghost of a smile, but a smile all the same, "Good because I know you're Fred's one too. And truthfully, you're my best friend but I don't think you were ever my one."
"I know and being here with Fred, nothing could make this day any better."
"Nothing?" A feminine voice asked from the door.
"Yeah cause if nothing could make this better I could just take her home."
The two turned to look at the doorway, Fred was standing there, with a grin so wide it nearly broke his face, beside Hermione's mother.
The petite lady rushed to her bedside, hugging her daughter close, "Oh honey I'm so sorry I wasn't here before."
When they separated both women were tearing up and had to blink back the tears.
"Is this my grandson?" She asked, looking down at the baby in Ron's arms.
Ron eagerly offered him over and Mrs. Granger gladly accepted, "Oh Hermione look how big he is. He's perfect!"
Ron took this as he cue to depart and left the three to coo over Gideon.
"How did you know?" Hermione asked at last, smiling at the image of her mother holding Gideon.
"Harry came and got me, on Fred's orders so I'm told."
"Hermione this is very hard for him."
Hermione forced a smile, "It's fine mum. You're here and Gideon's here, what more could I ask for."
"I can't keep mum away any longer Hermione." Fred warned, noting the door handle jiggling.
She laughed, "Send them in."
At the words the door burst open the entire Weasley clan pouring into the room. Percy was, surprisingly the first at the bed, dragging Audrey with him.
"Hi Perce." Hermione greeted, wary of his exuberance.
"Hermione, I want to thank you." So he was talking about the water, of course she knew it had worked when he got the promotion.
"Oh Percy, it was really no troub –"
"Everyone we have an announcement to make!"
All eyes were on Percy and Audrey.
"We're having a baby!"
Mrs. Weasley promptly fainted.
Well there you have it! It's done, finito, end of story!!! Some things to look forward to in the sequel::
*Draco Malfoy makes an appearance back in the trio's life
*Charlie hits the dating scene
*WWW has some serious expansions
*George reveals his true love