Author's Notes: Written for Round One of .together (formerly Aurors of Olympus)'s Fanfiction's Next Top Writer Competition on the HPFC forum.

Group of Characters: The Weasleys
Word Prompts: death, memories, abstention
Phrase Prompt: burning the midnight oil
Poetry Prompt: Swimming in the sea of jealousy/Wanting to be free, wanting to be free.
Minimum words is 750.

I used the "burning the midnight oil" prompt, and my Weasleys are Cedrella, Septimus and Arthur.

Also written for the January 11th Prompt of the Day on Hogwarts Online II – "Decisions"

790 words. Constructive criticism is especially appreciated, since I'm unused to writing about Weasleys – even ones who used to be Blacks. Enjoy!

)O(

Cedrella sat upon the worn couch, with her hand on her stomach, and she stared out the window and tried to comprehend.

Pregnant. Three months pregnant.

For the past nine weeks, she had been able to ignore the conspicuous lack of blood, putting it up to aging – though she was scarcely thirty – and hunger – though she had been eating plenty. But when her third course in a row had not come, Cedrella had begun to suspect pregnancy.

The potions, the spells, the tests, had all proven her right.

And now she sat in the home that she and Septimus had made for themselves, and waited for him, so she could tell her husband that his child was growing inside her.

Night had long-since fallen, and still Cedrella sat with only the light of an oil lamp illuminating her home. She sat in near darkness, waiting for her husband to return.

At last, at what must have been past midnight, the door clicked open and Septimus stepped inside, his face instantly going pale when he saw his wife sitting quietly upon the couch. Cedrella never waited for him like this – she scarcely ever sat still for any length of time.

"Cedrella? What's wrong?"

"Come sit," she told him, indicating the couch. He did as she told him, immediately joining her and looking at her worriedly.

Cedrella's hand traced absent circles on her abdomen. "I… Septimus, I…"

"Yes?"

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then said, in her calmest, most composed tones, "I'm pregnant."

For a long second, Septimus stared, then a smile broke across his face and he embraced her. "My Cedrella! This is wonderful news!"

"Septimus…"

"Invite your friends to come over, we should celebrate…"

"Septimus–"

"We should start thinking of names! Would you like to do astronomical naming, or should we just choose names that we like? I think Vivian is a nice name for a girl–"

"Septimus!"

"Yes?"

Tears were prickling at her eyes, though she tried to keep her face smooth and impassive. "I don't think that we should choose names… or tell anyone…"

"What?" Septimus frowned, then comprehension and horror dawned on his face. "You are going to have the child, are you not? You aren't going to cast it out…"

"Don't ask me that. I do not… I do not know." Cedrella turned away, not wanting to meet her husband's eyes. She rubbed her belly gently through the wool of her dress, feeling for the slight swell of her abdomen. It was not even enough to notice – she could still lace up her corsets as tightly as ever, her dresses still fit, but she knew that there was a child nestled inside her.

Septimus's child.

Was she going to cast it out? There had been a fair part of her mind that was saying she should. Cedrella had never wanted children, and she still did not like the idea much. She would not have been good at child-rearing. Callidora, protective and practical, had always been the one who would be a good mother. Even sweet, sensitive Charis would have been a better mother than Cedrella. She had been told this since childhood, and she knew it to be true.

Cedrella had not the patience to care for a baby. She had not even been allowed to take chare of Charis when they were small because Mother feared that she would hurt her.

Perhaps once – when Cedrella was very young – she might have entertained ideas of motherhood. But those had been long-since abandoned in favour of leading her own life.

But right now, feeling her stomach, Cedrella wanted nothing more than to carry Septimus's child. She wanted to bring a little Weasley into the world, because that would be the final step, the final proof that she loved Septimus more than anything that the Blacks had had to offer. Other things – even leaving the House of Black – had all been reversible. If she had gone back to them right now, there would have been a terrible fight, yes, but in the end, they would have let Cedrella come back.

Not so if she carried a blood traitor's child.

That would cement things. There was no way for Cedrella to be accepted back if she had borne a Weasley. That would finish things once and for all, destroy any ideas – in Cedrella's mind, in Septimus's, or in Callidora's and Charis's – that Cedrella might ever come back.

Did she want a child? No, she wanted a symbol. Something to show once and for all that she was Cedrella Weasley, not Cedrella Black.

"'Vivian' for a girl, yes. 'Arthur' for a boy," she told Septimus, and watched as his face lit with happiness.

)O(

Fin