Chapter Thirty-Five – Life After Quidditch
A/N: It's been a few months under two years since Ron and Hermione's wedding. After the War continues with Harry and Ginny on a month-long holiday after she ended her Harpies' career with a fourth League Championship.
"Maybe it was the seafood," Harry suggested as he led Ginny back to bed and helped her sit down. He'd already cleaned up from their rather abrupt and messy wake-up call. "I'm sure that's the only thing you had to eat that I didn't have yesterday."
"Nice try," Ginny answered with a slow shake of her head, "but you can't blame this on the fish when it's all your fault." She laughed when he looked at her blankly. "I'm not sick, Harry – we're pregnant." She had time for another short laugh while Harry wrapped his arms around her, and then he was kissing her for a long, breathless minute. "Does that mean you're happy about this?" she joked next.
"Definitely," he agreed enthusiastically. "I'd say one of those best days ever kind of mews flashes. What can I do to help you?"
"It's still early. A cold washcloth would be nice, and then we should try to get a bit more sleep if we can. Hopefully I'll feel a bit better in another hour or so."
Harry helped Ginny to lie down; got the cold washcloth; and then got back into bed too. He didn't feel much like sleeping anymore, but held her close while she dozed, and let his mind wander. They were going to be parents! That was absolutely brilliant; though he'd never even remotely imagined a scene like they'd just gone through for his introduction to impending fatherhood. His next thoughts were about what their family and friends would say about this happening so soon after Ginny's retirement from Professional Quidditch just over two weeks ago. There were sure to be jokes about it for years to come – a belated Quidditch League Championship victory present and such. He wasn't really surprised at all, since he and Ginny did have a tendency to get a job done once they'd decided on something. That thought made him laugh silently – some jobs were quite a bit more fun than others.
Since Ginny's MVP-winning League Championship victory, they'd been having a lot of fun. They were in the middle of a well-deserved four-week vacation. The first week had been spent at home so that Ginny could be there to help Gwenog with the final wedding details. She'd been one of Gwenog's bridesmaids, and the wedding a week ago this past Saturday had been one of the largest Harry had yet attended. Gwenog and Kirley had definitely had the largest wedding party. He'd had all of his band mates standing up with him, and though Gwenog had thought that was a bit much; she had agreed to an equal number of Witches for her bridal party.
Gwenog had retired after the big game too, though she'd decided to do that because she didn't want to play anymore; not because she and Kirley were in a hurry to start a family. She was still going to be working for the Harpies as an assistant manager and trainer; and everyone knew that she would eventually be Glynnis' replacement some day.
He and Ginny had gone to Romania on the Sunday morning after the wedding, and spent the week visiting Charlie, Julianne, and their two-year old nephew, Aiden. Charlie and Julianne had both taken the week off to spend with them, and they'd done some sightseeing; but the four of them had also done some work on the house too – a little magical renovation to get ready for the upcoming addition to their family. Julianne was about four months along with her second pregnancy; and they were going to need more space. They'd wrapped up their week in Romania with a couple of play days on the Black Sea coast, and then yesterday, while Charlie, Julianne, and Aiden had returned home; Harry and Ginny had moved on to start their week-long Mediterranean holiday in southern France.
"A holiday that isn't going to be much fun for Ginny if she's feeling sick like this every morning," he told himself; thinking about some of the first-trimester stories that Charlie and Julianne had just told them about over the past week.
That was one good thing about being part of a family with a lot of older brothers – you got to watch and learn from them. When it came to being fathers, Harry thought that Bill and Charlie were doing great; while Percy had a tendency to get a bit too caught up with his work at the Ministry. That was something he was really going to try and be careful about with his own job – it was very easy for him to forget about everything else while working one of his Auror cases. That was usually okay up to now since Ginny was just as dedicated to her Quidditch career.
"Don't even think about work," he chided himself silently. "You're on holidays." That admonishment came too late, and he was soon caught up in thinking about his current investigation and making plans on where he and Ron should take it when he got back to Auror Headquarters in two weeks.
"I should have had you put all of your work memories in a bottle," Ginny said quietly. Harry laughed and opened his eyes to see her smiling at him with a knowing look in her eyes.
"Busted," he confirmed before leaning close to kiss her tenderly. "I love you. How do you feel?"
"I love you too, and still a bit queasy, but not totally barfy. Let's get up and have a shower. We have a lot of playing ahead of us today, and I don't want to miss out on any of it."
Harry got out of bed and helped her up; then held her close while she waited for a wave of dizziness to pass. "Are you sure about going sightseeing today? We could do something else instead."
"We'll do that if I have any really bad mornings," she promised, "but other than a change in plans for my breakfast this morning, I'll be fine."
"Do you want to pop back home to tell your Mom and Dad the news sometime today?"
Ginny shook her head. "We'll see them on Sunday at Bill and Fleur's, and we can tell them then. If word gets out now, you know we'll have reporters and photographers hounding us for the rest of our holiday."
"I didn't even think about that. Shouldn't we get a break from all of that now that you're retired?"
"I might get a break eventually, but you never will. I can hardly wait to read Rita Skeeter's Inside Azkaban column when she finds out."
"I'm sure that Snowstorm and Snowflake will be very impressed," Harry joked; since he made a point of putting Rita's column face up when he lined their owl's cages with parchment from the Daily Prophet.
He led Ginny into the bathroom, and they got their day started with a little gentle water play time. When they were dressed and ready to go, they went to a nearby outdoor café for breakfast. A morning sightseeing tour was followed by an afternoon of sun and fun out on and in the water. They had a late, casual dinner; went dancing for a few hours; and then returned to their suite once Ginny had decided that she'd had enough fun for the day.
The rest of their week in France was amazing; if occasionally rather strange. Ginny's morning sickness was a hit and miss phenomenon that didn't necessarily pick the morning when it did hit. Getting sick wasn't any fun for her, but there was a fair bit for both of them to be amused about – especially with some of Harry's reactions; and the ways he tried to help her during those moments. Finally, it was Sunday, and they packed to head home; where they had time to get a bit of work done before re-packing for their last week of vacation before moving on to Bill and Fleur's in time for the family lunch that was going to kick off that holiday.
"Welcome home honey," Molly told Ginny as she hugged her in welcome. "It looks like you've had a good holiday so far."
"We've had a great holiday; and we've got a fairly amazing souvenir to prove it, Grandma," Ginny answered with a brilliant smile. She laughed when Molly's eyes widened; filled with tears; and she was hugged tightly again.
"Uh-oh," Bill said as he walked up to them; carrying drinks for Harry and Ginny. "Tears, bone-crushing hugs; and congratulations. That can only mean one thing."
"Why the 'Uh-oh' if it can only mean one thing?" Harry asked him as he took one of the glasses from Bill.
"The girls are going to be talking babies all day," Bill explained. "Congratulations, guys. You're going to love joining the parenthood club."
Arthur and Molly had been the only guests at Bill and Fleur's when Harry and Ginny had arrived; so the baby news spread quickly as the rest of their family joined the party. That included everyone in the family except for Charlie, Julianne, and Aiden; Andromeda and Teddy; and Gabrielle. The reason that this party was going to kick off the last week of Harry and Ginny's vacation was because they'd rented a nearby cottage; they were going to have Teddy with them; and they'd all be spending the week playing with Bill, Fleur, and their kids. Andromeda and Teddy were the last to get to Shell Cottage; and Teddy was especially fired up to see Harry and Ginny.
"I've really missed you a lot," he told them as he took turns hugging Harry and Ginny.
"We've missed you too," Ginny assured him. "Are you ready for our holiday?"
"Uh-huh," Teddy confirmed with a bob of his head. "Grandma brought my bags with us. Did you bring your stuff too?"
"No, but we're packed, and will move everything over to the cottage later this afternoon," Harry answered. He smiled at Andromeda as she joined them. "You look like you're ready for a holiday too. Maybe you should join us."
Andromeda laughed at the look on Teddy's face at Harry's comment. He obviously did not think that having Grandma along on his special holiday with Harry and Ginny was a good idea at all. "I'd love to go along, but I'm going on a stay-cation while Teddy's away."
"What's a stay-cation?" Teddy asked suspiciously; earning another laugh from his grandmother.
"It's when you have a holiday at home instead of going away," she explained. "Don't worry – you won't be missing out on anything important while you're gone. It's just no fun doing the really cool stuff without you." She hugged Ginny then; and smiled at her.
"Grandma Weasley gave me the news already. Congratulations."
"Thank you," Ginny answered at the same time that Teddy asked – "Congratulations for what?"
"Your Aunt Ginny is going to have a baby," Andromeda answered.
"Really?" Teddy asked; looking at Ginny with wide eyes.
"Really," she confirmed, "but don't worry about it getting in the way of our vacation. These things take a little time you know."
"Nine months," Teddy said with a knowing bob of his head. "That's a long time from now."
"When you're six it is," Andromeda agreed. "It won't seem nearly so long for Harry and Ginny."
They talked with Andromeda and Teddy for a few more minutes, and then they all moved on; with Teddy going to hang out with the rest of the kids even though they were mostly girls; and Bill and Fleur's nine-month old son, Louis, was still too young to be much fun to play with. Harry and Ginny wandered around the yard visiting with everyone until they sat down to have lunch with Bill, Fleur, Gabrielle, and about half of the kids; including Teddy and Victoire.
"How's the Quidditch coming along?" Ginny asked Gabrielle. "Are you going to be ready for training camp?"
"I was going to ask you to start helping me with that after next week, but I guess that's out now. It's not easy to keep sharp without any decent competition. I've been losing my edge already just since we stopped training together three weeks ago."
"You know that you can't," Harry told Ginny before she could say anything; and she laughed and hugged him.
"Yes I do," she conceded, "but you absolutely can help Gabrielle – and will. We're going to do everything we can to get her first year as the Harpies' top Seeker off to as great a start as I had."
"That would be amazing," Gabrielle said happily. "Both the training help and having as good a rookie season as you did. That's the only scary part of my promotion from the Reserve team – trying to live up to the legend I'm replacing."
Ginny laughed again. "You're going to have a brilliant career, Gabrielle, and you already know that training every day with our Beaters is way scarier than worrying about how you'll do compare to me."
"That's for sure," Harry agreed. "Anyone who thinks that the Harpies have lost their edge at Beater now that Gwenog isn't playing anymore is going to regret it if they underestimate Karla and Melody." Melody Moran had been one of the Harpies' Reserve team Beaters for the past two years; and though she could have played for other teams right out of school; she'd opted to train under Gwenog instead after being offered the chance to be her replacement. Karla Broadmoor was now easily as good as Gwenog; and they'd been the undisputed best Beater team in the league this year.
"I wouldn't even worry all that much about the Quidditch," Bill told Gabrielle. "The Harpies are going to love how well you do with the marketing end of the business – unless you're planning on running off and getting married before training camp opens like Ginny did."
"There are no serious candidates for that in the picture right now," Gabrielle assured him. "I'm good with whatever happens with selling Harpies merchandise too, but you know that there is no way that I'll settle for anything less than being the best Seeker possible."
"True, but you shouldn't have to worry about that – some of us already think that you are."
"You should definitely keep him," Gabrielle told Fleur.
"I think that we will," Fleur agreed; earning a laugh from Victoire. "We know you've got some appointments for the Harpies next week, but I hope you'll be able to spend a bit of time with us while we're on holidays."
"I'll have a few hours here and there," Gabrielle assured her sister. "You should've gone away somewhere for the week, but at least you are actually taking some time off."
"We can go away for holidays when the kids are a bit older," Bill said with a shrug. "Right now, it's just too much work to haul everything around that we'd need for a week away."
Gabrielle laughed. "I don't take as much with me on a trip as you guys take to the Burrow every work day."
"Not including everything that Mom and Dad just keep there," Ginny added with a nod and laugh. "I'm glad that we're just going to stay around here and at our cottage – especially now."
That comment had the girls talking babies and pregnancies while they all finished having lunch, and then they were all off and running again – literally for the boys as they were put in charge of keeping up with Teddy and Victoire. Harry and Ginny stayed until the party started to break up late in the afternoon, and then they took Teddy with them and popped over to the nearby cottage they were renting for the week.
For six of the last seven days of their extended holiday, Harry and Ginny just relaxed and enjoyed playing with Bill, Fleur, and the kids. Life was about to change for them in a big way, with Ginny's first pregnancy an even bigger reason for that than her retirement from professional Quidditch. They took Teddy back to Andromeda early on Sunday morning, and then spent the last day of their holiday getting caught up on all of the work that needed to be done around the house before Harry went back to work on Monday. Neither of them had expected that their life after Quidditch would actually start with a new life quite so soon; but that amazing little miracle was definitely going to make getting back to their regular lives in the real world absolutely brilliant!