- September 28th, 2004 -
Hermione twiddled her thumbs as she waited in Healer Andolan's exam room. She swung her feet from her seat on the exam table. Harry had his hands in his pockets as he paced back and forth. They were there for their first official checkup for the second trimester and Aias was a no show. At just shy of fourteen weeks, Hermione had an obvious show of pregnancy under her loose blouses. Her noticeable bump had filled out in a flash and had become an actual belly. Their only saving grace in hiding the pregnancy had been the loose wizarding robes she wore over all her outfits.
Harry checked his watch - the one Mrs. Weasley had given him years past. "Something must have come up."
"Ten more minutes?" Hermione offered as she leaned back on one hand. Her tummy stuck out and Harry placed his hand on the roundness between them.
"Did you want to learn the genders today?" he asked her, there was only curiosity in his voice.
She wrinkled her nose. "I dunno. I'm leaning towards waiting."
Harry stepped between her legs and wrapped his arms around her waist. "I know you are. I'm not fussed either way, so we might as well wait." Despite his words, she knew he couldn't wait to find out about the gender of the babies. She was scared he would be disappointed if they weren't the two boys he was dreaming about every night.
"Teddy will be heartbroken if he doesn't know," she said as she wrinkled her nose.
"Teddy will be so excited to have siblings on the way that he won't care if he doesn't know the gender." He pressed a light kiss to her lips. "Just like me."
Hermione smiled, loving the way he could ease her worries so easily. She bit her lip as she smiled. "I can't wait to move into the house."
Harry grinned. He'd been taking days off work and paying workers overtime for two weeks to move the process along. His hands trailed down to her thighs. Hermione's legs immediately lifted to lock around his back. Harry deliberately ignored the teasing look in her eyes. "The house looks beautiful. And those wards are near impenetrable. You're going to be so pleased when you see it."
Her fingers curled in his jumper and pulled him in closer. She pressed a lingering kiss to his lips.
"It'll be nice to have space again," he said between her kisses, valiantly resisting her allure. "And a yard for Padfoot."
"Harry," Hermione whispered, "shut up." She pulled him closer and deepened the kiss. Harry's arms wrapped around her waist as he effortlessly sank into her embrace. It was second nature to him. The feel of her lips and the taste of her on his tongue was as comforting as it was intoxicating.
Hermione tugged at his healer robes. Harry pulled back and gasped for breath. "We can't do this here."
"Harry, please," she whined. One of the hormones to recently kick in for Hermione was her sex drive, which had only amused Harry since she already had a great appreciation for sex. It came in waves. One second she was fine and the next she was pushing Harry into a broom cupboard in St. Mungo's and having her wicked way with him. Harry was simply riding the highs, knowing that when she hit her third trimester her sex drive was likely to lower dramatically.
"Okay, okay. My office?"
He helped her off the table and she quickly donned her robes again. Harry went to head back through to Healer Andolan's office, but the door was locked. "Damn," he cursed under his breath. He led Hermione to the other exit. Harry stuck his head out the door and made sure no one was looking when they snuck out of the Head of the Maternity Ward's private exam room. They speed-walked through the halls.
Harry and Hermione made it about fifty meters away from the lift when they were stopped.
"Harry! Oh, Hermione! Did you get our owl?" The couple came to a halt, shocked to see and hear Mrs. Weasley.
"Owl?" Harry questioned.
"Padma's gone into labour! Finally, the poor dear was nearly late." She bustled over to them and gave them each a hug and a kiss. She lingered on Hermione, her eyes trailed over the witch critically. "You look well, darling."
Hermione had started to exude a warm glow the other day. It was a common side effect with pregnant witches. The stirring of maternal and fertile magic in their cores tended to represent itself in a warm glow on their skin. Usually, it came to witches later in their pregnancy. Harry had explained that having twins, coupled with the fact that Hermione was a rather powerful witch, was speeding up the process dramatically. They suspected the world would spot her maternal glow in a manner of weeks.
Hermione smiled tightly. Harry squeezed her hand, knowing she was about to combust with sexual energy.
"If you didn't get our owl… why?" She looked back and forth between Harry and Hermione suspiciously.
"We were going to chat with Healer Andolan," Harry explained smoothly. "He was mentored by my grandmum."
"Oh, well Healer Andolan got called in to deliver the baby. Padma's healer hasn't shown up yet and things are progressing rather quickly."
Hermione smiled brightly and just like that, her brain flicked from sex to family. "That's exciting! Is the whole family here?"
"Most, yet. Ginny isn't back from her vacation with Blaise until next week and Charlie is away on dragon business." Molly waved her hand and rolled her eyes. "That boy. Even forced into a marriage and he still won't settle down."
Hermione and Harry shared a look. Charlie was gay and it went without saying that he was not looking forward to marrying the pure-blood witch that the Ministry of Magic had designated for him. His sexuality was no secret to them or really anyone else in the family except for Mrs. Weasley.
"Will you be staying?" Molly asked, though her tone made it obvious she thought they would.
Hermione shot Harry a pleading look. "Of course I will, Mrs. Weasley," he replied smoothly. "Hermione has to go pick up Teddy, though. He's spending the day with Andy and her new step-daughters." They wouldn't actually need to pick him until tomorrow, but what Mrs. Weasley didn't know, wouldn't hurt her.
"Oh," Molly sighed in disappointment. "Well, we'll see you on Friday for dinner, won't we?"
"Yes, of course, Mrs. Weasley. You know I have Fridays off again."
"Finally. It'll be lovely to have everyone there again. Well, almost everyone." Mrs. Weasley's eyes watered and she pressed a hand to her chest. "Fred would have loved to be here today."
Harry grinned fondly. "Yeah, he'd be teasing Ron about who the father actually was."
Molly's eyes widened and she gasped before laughing.
Hermione smiled at her reaction. "I'll see you Friday, Mrs. Weasley." They hugged and she kissed Molly's cheek before turning to press a peck against Harry's lips. "Good luck," she whispered. Harry rolled his eyes and nodded for her to make her escape. "Love you!" she called as she left.
Hermione escaped from the hospital feeling rather elated that she'd managed to dodge the hospital sit-in. Mrs. Weasley likely wouldn't let Harry go until the wee hours of the morning, or until the baby was born. Whichever came first. She grabbed some Indian take-out as a surprise for Harry when he got home and made her way back to her flat.
Hermione pulled out her newest contract from work. She'd been in training for her liaison work in the Love Chamber in the DoM for the last two weeks. Starting on Monday, she would be getting her first official assignment. It was just consultant work, really. The majority of her day was filled with contracts that Spratt filtered to her. A lot of that was spell creation, ward building, and even sometimes something as simple as research work. It wasn't nearly the same as creating her own experiments or any of the work she'd done in the Death Room, but it was better than the Hall of Prophecies.
With work in front of her, Hermione's mind turned to the office break-in. She still hadn't told Harry about it and she really hoped that didn't come back to bite her in the arse. She didn't want to unnecessarily worry him. Honestly, it wasn't the first time she'd had a breach in her office security. It was bound to happen when one worked amongst some of the greatest minds in Britain.
Every person at the DoM was hungry for knowledge and they hoarded the knowledge they acquired like dragons. Hermione was happy to share her work and publish her findings, but only when she was ready for it. Perhaps this was about her experiment. She'd been about to go into the Chamber for it when the wedding happened and the new protocols. It wouldn't surprise her to learn one of her coworkers had either wanted to sabotage her work or steal it for themselves.
Frustrated, Hermione groaned as she stood. She could feel the babies in her belly, which always felt three times bigger after a large meal. They always woke up after she ate and she could feel a little foot poking her. Harry had yet to feel the baby kick. Their kicks weren't strong enough yet, which Harry knew. Each night, he'd lie down beside her and rest his head on her stomach while he talked to the babies.
It made Hermione's heartache when he did it. The way he touched her belly and kissed it twice each night had her near tears. Any unconcerned thoughts that reared their ugly head during the day were always diminished in the evening with Harry's little routine. So far, things were going according to Hermione's new plan. It was just the pregnancy announcement that was due to come out this weekend that really had her in a twist.
Hermione stretched and pulled her paperwork together and put it back in her work bag.
It wasn't overly late, but Hermione constantly found herself tired. It was a normal side effect she knew. As was her turbulent emotional state. She headed into the bedroom to get ready for bed. She went through her usual evening ablutions, removing her makeup, washing her face, brushing her teeth. She pulled her curls up into a pineapple ponytail and headed back into the bedroom.
She opened her drawers for something to wear to bed and her fingers caught on a silky nightie she hadn't worn in a while. Her sex drive, Hermione thought, that was its own rollercoaster. Without another thought, Hermione stripped down before donning the pink silk dress. She stepped before the full-length mirror and turned to the side. It was a little tight around her belly. She waved her wand and loosened the fabric.
Hermione was still admiring the cut of the lace on her breasts when she heard Harry floo home.
"In here!" She looked over her shoulder as he entered the room. Harry's emerald eyes dipped down as he took in every inch of her.
"Christ," he breathed.
"How's Padma?" she asked coyly. Harry stepped into the bedroom, eyes still firmly on Hermione's ample chest. "Harry?" Her amusement was obvious.
"What?" He looked up at her. "Good. Great. They had another boy. Winston Weasley." Hermione's fingers pulled at Harry's tie as his hands gripped her hips. "Beautiful baby. He's got the Weasley's eyes."
Hermione hummed as she unknotted his tie and tossed it aside. "Did Mrs. Weasley cry again?" Her fingers deftly undid the buttons of his dress shirt.
"Every time," he responded fondly. He leaned down as she pulled his shirt from his trousers. "Are you going to keep teasing me or can I kiss you now?"
Hermione narrowed her eyes but there was a small smile playing on the edge of her lips. "No. Get on the bed."
Harry raised his eyebrows. "Can I at least finish undressing?" He gestured to the half-dressed state she'd left him in before returning his hand to her hip.
"No," she said again in amused obstinacy. She flicked her wand and his clothes disappeared.
Harry's fingers tightened on her hips. Otherwise, he didn't react at all to the fact that he was suddenly very naked. "I told you I don't like that spell."
Hermione raised an eyebrow at him mischievously. "I'll just have to make it up to you." She nodded to the bed. "On the bed."
Gamely, Harry let go of his wife and sat back on the bed. He scooted back until he could lean back against the pillows piled against the headboard. He clasped his hands together behind his head and relaxed like a king in his court. He raised an eyebrow expectantly.
Hermione eyed her husband in all his naked glory. He truly was beautiful. The dark smattering of hair across his chest led down his stomach to the patch around the base of his cock, which was already half hard. His body was well defined but not overly muscled. His youth of Quidditch had served him well. He looked like an adonis stretched out across her bed as an offering from the gods.
She smirked as she crawled across the bedspread between his legs. Her fingers curled around the base of his cock. She bent down and licked him from base to tip. Harry sucked in a sharp breath between his teeth.
Hermione's brown eyes flickered up to him as her tongue teased the tip of his cock. He grew harder beneath her ministrations as she kissed and licked along the length of him. Her fingers curled around his balls and she wrapped her mouth around the head. Harry groaned loudly.
"Fuck, 'Mione. Just like that," he breathed as she bobbed up and down on him. His fingers curled around her scrunchie and he tugged her curls free. They fell across his lap and he ran his fingers through the silky tresses.
Harry gasped and groaned as Hermione teased him. She kept him right on the edge between pleasure and bliss. "Fuck!" he hissed as she sucked hard. "I can't - 'Mione, please."
She released him with a face full of faux innocence. She blinked widely. "I thought I was making it up to you?"
"You're an evil witch," he gasped. Hermione smirked. He lunged forward. She was on her back and his entire length deep inside her in seconds. Hermione cried out in pleasure. Harry nipped at her collarbone. "I ought to punish you for that."
Hermione moaned as firmly thrust into her. "Oh! I - I don't think I've ever been punished for a blowjob."
Harry pushed himself up with his hands on either side of her head. Hermione's legs were caught on his thighs and spread wide. "I gladly would, but I think you might kill me with the state you're in." He leaned closer and gently kissed her lips. She clenched around him, but he refused to move. "You're positively dripping," he whispered against her lips.
Hermione whined. Her curls were starting to stick to her forehead and her face was flushed all over.
"Could you come like this, love? Just like this?" She nodded breathlessly. "Do it. Come for me, baby." He kissed her jaw. Her neck. He nibbled on the skin of her earlobe. "Come with my cock inside you."
Hermione cried out as she orgasmed. Her walls spasmed around him. Tears fell from the corner of her eyes from the force of it. She gasped for breath when it ended. Her nails had dug into Harry's sides so deeply, she was fairly certain that she'd drawn blood.
"Harry," she gasped breathlessly.
He pressed his lips against hers in a soft kiss. Hermione tugged him closer as she immediately deepened the kiss. Their tongues joined in a hot, familiar meeting between the two. It felt like breathing.
Harry gently broke away. His mouth trailed kisses along her cheek and to her ear again. "You okay, baby?" he breathed.
Hermione nodded. "Make love to me, Harry."
He tensed as his eyes widened. Harry looked at the flushed, glistening face of his wife and wondered if she was even aware of what she'd just said. She shifted beneath him and moaned in need. She was delirious with want and desire. He doubted she even remembered speaking with the way her eyes were glittering and small incoherent words slipped from her lips.
He didn't care.
Harry pushed his weight onto one hand. The other gently cupped Hermione's face. He stared deeply into her feverish brown eyes. "Forever," he whispered.
He pulled back and thrust deep inside of her again. Hermione cried out. He set a slow pace, his eyes taking in every minute detail of her face. He inscribed every sound she made to memory. The scent of tulips that was always around her. The taste of her skin.
He never wanted to forget the look on her face as she came for the first time after asking him to make love to her. He never wanted the moment to end.
"But the article is okay?" Hermione asked for the third time that lunch.
Luna tilted her head at Hermione. Her big, blue eyes stared into the other witch's very being. "What are you worried about?"
Hermione shifted in her seat. "I'm not worried."
She sighed. "Ginny just returned with Blaise. I sent her a letter before she left and she was open to reconciliation, but the moment that this story releases she's going to… I don't know. But I'm scared it'll be bad." She leaned an elbow forward on the table and rested her chin in her hand.
"And you still care what Ginny thinks?" Luna asked the question in that soft, airy voice she always used. One could never tell which way the blonde witch swayed on a topic when she used that voice.
Hermione chewed on her bottom lip as she thought about the question. "She's been awful, I can't deny that. I don't even want to touch upon the absolute bullshit she pulled on Harry because that's just a whole different can of worms." Luna nodded her head once in understanding. "But we've been through so much. We went through a war, all of us. At the end of the day, doesn't it seem childish to just cut people out?"
"Incredibly so. It's admirable that you want to mend bridges. Not many are mature enough to try to do the same."
Hermione picked up her fork and stabbed it into her pot pie. "Don't get me wrong, I haven't forgotten the things she's said and I likely never will. I certainly will never forgive her for some of the things she's done to Harry, but…" Hermione shrugged. "The Weasley's are family. Regardless of any issues that may or may not exist between Ginny and myself, at the end of the day I want the Burrow to be a home to my children as much as it has been to Harry and me. I think that's a goal that Ginny and I can agree on."
Luna nodded as she took a sip of her pumpkin juice as she considered Hermione's worries. "I don't think you should be so concerned, then. Although Ginny has never wanted children, she is family-oriented. I doubt she'd be envious of your pregnancy but I do believe she would be sympathetic to your goal."
That was true. Hermione nodded as she ate a bite of her pot pie.
"You could tell her beforehand?" the blonde suggested.
Hermione made a face. "Harry and I discussed it. Ginny thrives off of that sort of special attention and neither of us wants to pander to it. The more she's treated like everyone else, the less special attention she'll expect."
Luna made a sound of agreement as she ate her salad. "So you'll be moving on Friday?"
"Thursday. Harry is taking the day off. We didn't want to do it on Friday when we have to go to the Burrow that night. Thanks for holding off on releasing the paper until Saturday."
"It was no problem. The ministry said we needed to have a press release, they never said when."
Hermione smirked at the faux innocent tone her best friend offered so sweetly. "Very Slytherin of you, Luna."
Luna smiled mischievously. "It was Harry's idea."
"That doesn't surprise me," Hermione responded honestly.
"Have you told Grams and Gramps?"
Hermione shook her head and sighed. "Not yet. We have a birthday celebration on Saturday and we'll do it then." She moved her food around listlessly. "I really wanted to tell Grams and Gramps first."
"Are they unavailable?" Hermione nodded. "I'm sorry." Luna didn't bother to suggest that they put off the pregnancy announcement in the Quibbler. Waiting until Hermione was entering her second trimester was already pushing the envelope, especially considering that the glow of her maternal magic was growing steadily almost daily. On top of it all, nobody wanted to push the minister too far. He had too much leverage over everyone in their lives to push him over something so small.
"How's Andy?" Luna asked as the silence grew too long.
Hermione sighed a world-weary sigh and rolled her eyes. "She's getting married."
"It's been a while," Hermione argued as she poked her food again. Merlin, she could kill for a bowl of strawberries. It will have been exactly fourteen weeks on Friday since Harry and she got married. She knew, her pregnancy was a constant reminder. "Lots of people have gotten married to avoid the deadline and make it their own. I don't think the next actual marriage is due until December, though. Andy and Richard are going to the ministry and having it done there. Nothing fancy. Andy refused and then Richard is apparently picking up and portkeying to India for work for three weeks."
"Good. She can spend time with Teddy."
Hermione tilted her head. That was true. Despite Teddy not being allowed to live with Andy, her husband really didn't seem to be around all that often. Andy would be able to see her grandson a lot more often than they'd originally thought when going into all of this. "All the same, I feel horrible for her. I wish there was something I could do." Hermione ate a few more bites of her pie while Luna ate her salad. "She says the girls are lovely though. She's planning a sleepover between them and Teddy when Richard leaves for India. They've gotten on quite well."
Luna made a pleased sound. "That's a lovely idea. At least there's something good coming from all of this. Andy is a wonderful mother, she'll be good for those girls."
Hermione couldn't argue with that fact. "You'll be leaving soon, won't you?"
Luna nodded. "Rolf and I have already packed up. You have the contact information for my head writer, my editor, and the photographer. I should be back before the next announcement is due. But they're at your disposal, if you need them."
"Please be careful. Don't go getting arrested - again."
Luna smiled as she laughed. "What's wrong with that?"
"Food's all boxed up!" Harry called from the kitchen.
"Come on, Teddy. Time to go," she told him as she waved her wand and vanished the currently sweeping broom and the dust it had gathered in the empty living room. It was back to its normal size now that they'd cancelled the charms that had created Teddy's temporary room.
"Come on, Pads," he told the giant familiar. He wrapped an arm around the dog's neck and followed his aunt towards the kitchen. Harry passed her the box of shrunken perishables.
"Nix?" he questioned.
"In her carrier."
"I'll grab it," he said with a nod. He turned to Teddy. "Alright buddy, I'm going to apparate Padfoot and you're going to go with 'Mione. Sounds good?"
"I want to go with you and Padfoot," Teddy pouted.
"I can't apparate both of you, it's not safe."
Hermione hefted the box on her hip and ran the fingers of her free hand through Teddy's blonde hair. "It'll only be a second, sweetheart. Then we'll be at our new home."
Teddy sighed but nodded. "Okay." He wrapped his arms around Padfoot's neck and gave him a tight hug. "Please be careful?" he asked his godfather.
Hermione's heart clenched. "Oh, Teddy Bear." She drew him in for a one-armed hug while Harry gave him his solemn word. "On the count of three, Teddy. Deep breath. One. Two. Three."
She and Teddy apparated away with a loud pop!
Teddy stumbled and shook his head when he landed on the edge of the property. There was hardly a sound made when Harry apparated next to them with Padfoot. The dog shook his head and let out a low woof before he raced off to explore the wide property.
"Welcome to Stinchcombe House, Teddy," Harry said with a wide smile.
Teddy's eyes widened when he finally took in the whole property. The grass had been mowed and pretty white flowers were planted in beds before the front porch. They'd had the house painted, updating the minty colour it had been to a warm grey. The white trim was redone and the new deck had a pretty geometric lattice that Hermione had thought lent a unique charm to their magical home.
Harry took the box from her arm and balanced it with Nix's carrier in his other hand. Hermione shot him a look but Harry refused to hand them back. They led Teddy down the long, newly paved cobblestone path to the porch of the house. "It's really big," he informed them.
Harry laughed. "Well, Padfoot needs lots of space to run and you need lots of space to play." Harry glanced over at Hermione and they shared a smile. "It seemed like the perfect place for our family."
Teddy raced up the wooden steps and threw the front door open. "Come on, Padfoot!" he shouted. The dog barked and raced across the lawn. Hermione went in after Teddy and tried to keep him from causing a mess before they'd properly moved in.
The floors had been redone in a dark stain and the kitchen had been completely gutted and brought kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. Harry met her and Teddy there where the little boy was poking his head out the backdoor and to the deck that they'd built. Padfoot came in at his heels and Harry patted the dog on his head. He set the box of food on the counter and waved his wand. The food flew up and out of the box, resizing and quickly finding its places in the fridge and cupboards.
Nix was let out of her carrier. The little black cat took one look at Padfoot, hissed angrily and ran off like a shot out of a gun. Padfoot let out a confused boof as he turned around to follow where she'd disappeared. He stumbled and fell over himself. Harry laughed and helped his familiar back up. He gave the dog a healthy back scratch as he looked across the kitchen to Teddy.
"What do you think, Ted?"
"It's awesome!" he exclaimed.
"Ready to see the rest of the house?"
"Yeah!" he shouted, his arms raised high into the air.
"Alright." Hermione took his shoulders and directed him to turn towards the rest of the kitchen. "Kitchen. This is Uncle Harry's space." Harry snorted in amusement. She shot him a grin and turned Teddy away from the pretty cream and white kitchen to the kitchen table. It was absolutely massive with space enough for the whole Weasley clan if they wanted. "Breakfast here and through those doors is the conservatory. Aunty 'Mione is going to plant magical things in there, so we'll need to be careful, okay?"
She kissed his head. "Good boy."
Harry took Teddy's hand and continued the tour through the house. He showed off the first-floor bathroom under the stairs and the living room with the floo access. "And what are the rules on the floo?"
"Exactly. Come on, we have to go up two flights of stairs for your bedroom."
Teddy immediately began to race up the stairs. "Two? I'm at the top?"
"The very top!" Harry agreed loudly as the little boy was already a full landing away. He had ducked his head into both rooms by the time they caught up to him.
"This one! This one!" he exclaimed, jumping up and down.
"Yeah, buddy," Harry laughed. "That's your room. What do you think?"
Teddy ran back inside the big bedroom. It was leaps bigger than the room he'd had at Hermione's flat and larger even than the room he'd had with Andromeda. It was painted a light green that he'd chosen himself and had moving silhouettes of dinosaurs painted across the walls. Teddy touched his hand to the face of a T-Rex. The dinosaur reared back and let loose a silent roar. "Cool!" Teddy exclaimed as he jumped back.
There was a bed in the far corner and all the toys he had needed to pack up when he had downsized to Hermione's flat had been set up for him. "My dragon!" He picked up the stuffed dragon and raced around the room.
"So, you like it?" Hermione asked, already knowing the answer. Teddy gave two big nods. "The other room is a guest room. We could invite Victoire over for a sleepover, yeah?"
"Okay," he replied simply, more focused on his dragon than he was on them. Hermione rolled her eyes and shared a look with Harry who was more amused than anything. "Want to see where we'll sleep? In case you need us?"
"Okay," he said in the same voice as before. Hermione took his hand and led him back down to the second floor.
"This is our room," she explained as she showed him the big, open space. A massive king-sized bed with a four-poster frame had already been set up. A poofy white duvet cover lay over top. The bed was high enough that Teddy would need help climbing onto it for a year or two at least. The rest of the room was empty as they were still waiting for things to arrive.
"Why are you so far away?"
"Because this is where the master bedroom is."
"Yeah," Harry put in, "there wouldn't be enough room for all of us if we lived on the third floor with you. And we'll be too far away from this room." He pointed to the side room connected to the master.
"Why don't you go take a look?" As he said the words, the door slowly opened on its own. Teddy jumped as his eyes shot wide. "It's alright, buddy," Harry soothed as he placed a comforting hand on the little wizard's back. "It's the house. Stinchcombe has been around for so long, it's a little bit alive. Sort of like Hogwarts, sometimes things move or disappear. She's quite pleased to have us here."
"She?" Teddy's head tilted to this side.
Harry grinned. "I think so. She's got a very warm, motherly feeling to her. Don't you think?"
Teddy smiled. "Like Auntie 'Mione."
"Yeah," Harry chuckled, "like Auntie 'Mione." His eyes flickered up to his wife who was watching the two of them with a glitter in her eye. Harry nodded towards the now open door. "The house wants you to take a look as well. Wanna see what's inside?"
Teddy shot his godfather a suspicious look. He raced towards the open door and darted inside. Within was a sweetly painted white nursery. There were long yellow curtains on either side of the windows that matched the colour of the blankets that hung over the identical white cribs. As per Hermione's order, they had not used the ancient cribs the house had provided. They had, however, kept the beautiful antique rocking chair they'd found in there on their second walk through the house.
Teddy slowly turned around. He took in the white rug with cream polka-dots and the tall toy giraffe that stood in one corner. There were a changing station and a dresser against the wall opposite from the cribs. Along the walls were polished white shelves lined with children's books. A love seat had been pressed into the corner beside the door that exited out into the hallway.
Hermione smiled at his confused, wonderous expression. "This is where the babies will sleep," she explained gently.
Teddy's eyes widened. He looked too hopeful to fully understand. Harry decided to be a bit more forward and said, "Your Auntie 'Mione is pregnant."
Teddy burst into tears. Fat tears fell down his cheeks and his face flushed red. Great, heaving sobs left his little body. Harry dropped to his knees and pulled him into a hug. "Sh… it's okay, buddy." He gently rubbed circles across his godson's back.
Hermione bent down beside them. "I thought you wanted this, sweetheart?"
Teddy nodded and hiccuped as his tears lessened.
Hermione cupped the little boy's face. "Are these happy tears?" Teddy nodded again as he leaned into Harry. "Oh, Teddy Bear." She kissed his head. "Sh… sweetie, we're here."
Harry and she shared an amused smile. Of all the reactions they'd been betting on, tears had not even made the list. Harry pulled Teddy up into his arms and placed him on his hip. The boy sniffled, his face still splotchy, as Harry showed him around.
"This is where we'll change their diapers. And over here is where they'll sleep."
"Two?" he asked in a subdued tone, his head pillowed on Harry's shoulder.
"Yeah, 'Mione is having twins." He raised an eyebrow when Teddy only stared at the cribs. "Is that okay?"
Teddy looked up at Harry and then at Hermione who stood beside them. "Can - can you be my mummy and daddy now?" he asked seriously.
"Is that what you want?" Harry questioned cautiously. Teddy nodded. Harry pressed a kiss to Teddy's forehead. "Then that's exactly what we'll be, buddy."
Teddy smiled brightly and swivelled his head around to the window. "Can we have a tree fort, daddy?"
Harry and Hermione exchanged a look. That was quick. Harry swallowed, not quite sure what to do with the burning warmth inside his chest when Teddy called him 'daddy.' "Uhm… sure. Did you want to build one together?"
Harry nodded, still feeling like someone just hit him on the head. "Okay, well… we can get started on that before fall rolls in. It'll be a nice project."
Teddy wiggled in Harry's grip to be let down. He ran up to Hermione. "Mummy, are you having a boy or a girl?" He barely paused for an answer when he boldly stated, "I want a baby brother."
Hermione blinked at the address. It was definitely going to take some getting used to. "Well, we don't really know yet. But I could have one of each."
He looked up at her and raised his eyebrows. "I want a brother," he said in a tone that brooked no argument.
Hermione snorted. "I'll see what I can do," she responded blandly. Harry laughed. A loud bell echoed up from the first floor. "Is that the doorbell?"
Harry raised his eyebrows and a grin peeked through the faux innocent expression she found on his face. "Is it? Perhaps we should go see who's at the door?"
Hermione's mouth pinched. "Harry James, what have you done?"
Harry's grin widened into a charming smile. He popped a kiss on her still pinched lips before hoisting Teddy back up into his arms and heading out of the nursery. Hermione huffed and followed them down to the first floor.
"Grams! Gramps!" Teddy exclaimed excitedly as Hermione's grandparents made their way into the house.
"Teddy!" Gramps exclaimed back, just as excitedly. He pulled the little boy into his arms and gave him a bear hug. Grams greeted Harry with a kiss on his cheek.
Hermione stepped down the last step of the stairwell. "Grams, Gramps, I didn't know you'd be coming today?" She glanced at Harry who winked.
"It was a surprise," Grams confirmed as she pulled Hermione into a hug. "This house is stunning. Good lord, Harry, I'd marry you too if it got me a house like this."
Harry wrapped an arm around Grams and kissed her head. "No need, Grams. I'd build you a house at the drop of a dime. Just say the word."
Grams pointed a wrinkled finger at him. "You, sir, are trouble."
"You're not the first to think so."
She rolled her eyes and waved her hands. "Alright, let's get out of the doorway. Gramps and I brought dinner. I hope everyone is hungry for Italian."
Harry took the bags of food from her and led them towards the kitchen. "You didn't have to do that, Grams."
"Nonsense. It's a housewarming present. We've also brought some flowers to hang on the porch." She gestured back towards the front door. "They're outside. Be sure to water them."
Hermione snorted. "I'll charm them. Otherwise, Harry and I will definitely kill them." Grams snorted the same way her granddaughter had. Hermione was not known for her green thumb. The only reason she didn't kill magical plants was due to the various spells she'd learned in school.
Harry and Gramps were setting up the table while Teddy raced around the kitchen with Padfoot. "No running in the house!" Hermione immediately scolded. She grabbed Teddy around his torso as he passed and the boy giggled as she pulled him into her chest. Padfoot slid to a stop and hit the wall with a dull thud. Hermione winced. "That's why we don't run. Say sorry to the house."
"Sorry, house. Sorry, mummy."
"Mummy?" Grams questioned as her brows rose high on her forehead. "When'd that start?"
Hermione and Harry shared a smile. "Today," she informed her curious grandparents. "We, uhm…"
Teddy looked up and stated, "Mummy's having babies."
Grams' hand shot out to grab the back of a chair. Her eyes widened so far, Hermione was scared the older woman was going to have a heart attack. "Babies?" she all but whispered.
"Babies?" Gramps echoed wondrously.
"Babies!" Grams shouted excitedly. Hermione laughed as her grandmother swept her into a tight hug. "Oh! This is so exciting."
Hermione smiled at Harry over Grams' shoulder, tears in her eyes. He'd known how much it meant to her to tell her grandparents before everyone at the Burrow tomorrow. "Thank you," she mouthed over Grams' shoulder as she began to cry. Harry smiled warmly in return. He shrugged simply.
Grams pulled back and cupped Hermione's face. "Why are you crying?"
"I don't know," Hermione sobbed, "I can't help it." She wiped her cheeks. "I'm happy, I swear." Grams raised her eyebrows. "I'm pregnant, be happy I'm not doubled over being sick." The others laughed and Hermione let out a watery chuckle at her own expense.
Updated: Jan. 2021