Written for Mom, who, quite obviously, has a special place in my heart. Also, this is for the Gryffindor Tower mothers, who have shown me in countless ways that there isn't anything a woman wouldn't do for her baby.
Molly Weasley sat in a chair, fussing with her hands, trying to work off some of the energy that was eating her alive. She ran her hands through her hair, then rose quickly. She worked it around in her mind. After all, you couldn't be pregnant and then not tell your husband. But goodness gracious, this would be number seven.
Not that she didn't love all of them fiercely, she thought with a grin. Her boys. All of them, from Arthur to Ron, knew that if they ever needed anything, Molly would jump at the chance to help them. A friend of hers who was in witch psychology had told her that it was probably a side effect of having a less than perfect childhood. Molly had shrugged off the analysis, and here she was, pregnant with her seventh child.
Please God, let it be a girl.
The house was quiet, almost eerily so. Molly had become used to the thumps and bumps and shouts that came from having as many children as she did. However, the children were spending the day with a friend so that Molly could go see the medi-witch without having to haul all of them with her to Diagon Alley.
A cake, she thought with a burst of energy. She would make a cake. Then she would have something to do that wouldn't require straining herself. Snorting, Molly pulled out a bowl. Straining herself. How could she not strain herself? Molly never relaxed. There was always work to be done. The fact that her boys were growing up to be fine young men was a testament to that. Now she was supposed to rest.
"Well, it's your own fault," she scolded herself in a serious tone of voice. "They told you not to get pregnant again, and you went and did it anyway."
But a smile sneaked over her face, and the amusement was evident in her voice as she addressed a higher power. "I don't ask for much, but if I'm going through all this trouble, could You please make it a girl? Boys are lovely, but you can't buy pretty frilly things for boys, or going shopping for the fun of it, or fight in that horrid way that mothers and daughters do."
Humming, she took out the flour. "Virginia. I want to name my little girl Virginia."
As she blew the fringe out of her eyes she began to pull out eggs and other necessary ingredients. "You're going to cause me a lot of trouble. I can already tell."
Just then Errol, the family's owl., flew through the window. He was carrying three letters. Molly held back a squeal. Letters from her boys! Bill and Charlie were sending their promised weekly missive to keep their mother informed.
After she fed Errol a bit of a snack and made sure he got plenty of water, she sat down again, leaving her cake unattended. As no one was around, there would be no one to get into it. The cake could wait.
As she read the letters, she made small exclamations, groaned in sympathy, smiled or frowned. A few times she had to set the letter and have a good laugh.
"How wonderful," she murmured as she re-read one of the paragraphs in Charlie's letter. "Such a bright boy. I always knew he would do well."
She tried to fight off the nap that was threatening to smother her, but couldn't. She fell asleep at the kitchen table with the letters clutched in her hands.
That was how Arthur found her an hour later.
"Molly. Molly, wake up."
He had quietly and quickly put away the remains of her cake. With the way her moods had been lately, he doubted she would even remember starting it.
"Molly, the kids will be home."
She blinked awake sleepily. "What?"
"Welcome back to the land of the living, dear."
"Arthur! You're home early!"
"No, you slept in. Ho""":;;jjkkkahjthe" He leaned down and laid a gentle a kiss on her lips. "Are you feeling any better?"
"I went to see the medi-witch."
He was now stroking her arms slowly. "And?"
"Arthur, I'm pregnant again."
A series of emotions crossed over Arthur's face, but he opened up his mouth and said one thing. "You-Know-Who."
"Yes, yes, I know. I'm terribly worried, too. Or I will be when I can convince myself to come back to reality, but for right now I just need to be happy."
"I know. I know. We've managed to keep the other children alive." Then he grinned. "Molly! I'm going to be a daddy!"
She laughed. "That isn't news. You're already a daddy."
Arthur's expression turned sober quickly. "Ah, but it's different every time."
Molly looked into his eyes. "I love you."
He grinned and kissed her nose. "I know."
After a few seconds, she reached up and pulled his ear affectionately. "Well?"
"Oh. I love you too," he responded, teasing. "I can't imagine how I would have forgotten that…" When his wife of more than a decade blushed prettily, it only made his heart fill more. "You're beautiful."
"I'm going to be fat."
"You're never fat. You get plump."
Molly threw her head back and laughed heartily. "Oh, Arthur."
"Did you ask if this one is a boy or a girl?"
"No. I thought we'd do it the usual way. Besides, I like being surprised."
"There's something you're not telling me."
Molly nearly cursed. Arthur's shrewd eyes had caught her searching for an evasive reply. "Well, you know I wasn't supposed to have another baby."
Arthur nodded. "I imagine there isn't a lot that they can do about it now that you are pregnant."
"Oh, yes they can." She bit her lip in frustration. "I'm not supposed to strain myself, you see. They gave me this list of things that I can't do."
Arthur reached over and took the list from her. "Well."
"I'm going to go insane."
Arthur grinned at her. "It would be a short trip, my love. The rest of us can manage these things for you. Of course, they won't be up to your usual standard, but you'll have to settle for now. I don't want anything to happen. To either of you."
"Do you think the boys will be excited?"
"Hmm. Yes, most likely."
"Percy will worry, Bill and Charlie will have one of their private meetings, and the twins will take it in stride," Molly decided after a bit of thought. "Bill and Charlie sent letters today. They had such funny things to say. You should read the part in…"
Instantly, she stopped babbling. "I'm sorry."
"Everything is going to be all right. We're going to get through this. The war, this baby, the other kids. We're going to be just fine."
She looked at him and saw that he meant it. "I know. Arthur, can we afford a baby?"
"We can always afford a baby."
Somehow, they found themselves wrapped around each other. Molly's head found itself in the worn spot on Arthur's shoulder that she loved so dearly. In a matter of minutes she had fallen back to sleep.
Arthur smiled down at her, and then, being careful not to wake her, carried her slowly to their bedroom. Just as her turned to leave her alone to fetch the children, he heard her whisper.
"My baby. My baby. There isn't anything I won't do for my baby."
In Godric's Hollow, Lily Evans Potter sat on the floor playing with her baby, talking to him in a sing-song voice that people told her she wasn't supposed to use when talking to her child. She didn't care. She couldn't resist.
"Hello, Harry. How are you today? Hmmm?"
The baby gurgled happily in response. Lily began to rub his feet and chuckled at the cooing he made. "Everything's just about ready, and then we're going to be safe."
Harry just kicked his feet and laughed at the expressions Lily made with her face.
"You're so handsome. So handsome. You look just like your daddy, don't you? Yes. It's a good thing you look like your daddy. He's got the looks in this family. You'd best hope you have my brains though."
Harry seemed particularly amused by that statement.
The wonderful thing about Harry, Lily decided, was that he didn't have to worry about the prophecy, or what his future had in store, or what he had to do tomorrow. He just was.
When he began to sputter in that way that meant he was about to cry, Lily picked him up swiftly and began to hum to him, while she moved towards the changing table. Some things were just done better the Muggle way.
She turned around quickly and saw that it was James. They'd only been married a little over two years, but her heart still stopped whenever she saw him. She wondered if their love would ever settle the way that her parents had. She hoped it wouldn't.
He swept her up in his arms and laid a possessive kiss on her lips. Harry let out a choked sob.
"Hello, Harry. How's my little griffin?" He reached down and picked up his son, amazed that the little bundle was his own. Everyone said that Harry looked like him, but he had his mother's eyes.
"Your little griffin is just fine. What happened today?" Lily was eager for news.
"Nothing much. I've set everything up. We've got to talk."
"What? What's the matter?"
"Has he backed out? Has something happened to him?"
"No, Lily. He's just fine, and he has agreed to be the Secret Keeper, but…"
"He's had an idea." James sat down in the rocking chair with a sigh. "He thinks that choosing him as our Secret Keeper might be a bit obvious."
Lily opened her mouth and closed it again. "There's no one else of age that I would trust Harry's safety with."
"There's no one else I'd trust the safety of my family with besides Remus, and you know that he feels uncomfortable doing anything like this."
"From time to time his guilt complex is a trifle annoying."
James smiled. "From time to time. Sirius thinks we should use the least obvious person."
"Severus Snape?" Lily asked innocently.
"Least obvious logical person."
"Severus isn't all bad, you know. If you all would just get along…"
"Lily. I don't really want to have this conversation now."
Lily reached over and pulled the fringe out of his eyes. The glare on his glasses made it hard to see his eyes, so she pulled them off.
"Tell me what's going on."
"Sirius thinks we should use Peter."
Lily's eyes narrowed. "Anna doesn't like Peter."
"Yes, I know, but she's never been able to give us a good reason why."
"Sirius I trust. Sirius I love. Peter… Honestly, James, I just don't know Peter well enough."
"I know, but I don't want anyone getting hurt because of me. Because of us. Look, the Death Eaters are going to go after Sirius. They won't go after Peter."
"What makes you think that? James, everybody knows who you spent all your time with in school."
"Yes, they do. You."
Lily laughed. "Before you started blindly and clumsily pursuing me."
"It wasn't so blind or clumsy. Look at me now."
"I guess that's one way to look at it. James, what do you think?"
"I don't know, Lily. It's a hard decision."
"It was hard enough asking Sirius. Now he's asking to change our minds… at the last minute. I'd just got used to the idea of someone else handling Harry's safety… I just don't know."
"Look, if the Death Eaters go after Peter, Sirius can take care of him. If the Death Eaters go after Sirius on a full moon…"
"Good luck." Lily finished for him.
"So, I'm thinking that maybe this is a good idea."
"We have the charm to protect Harry. If worse comes to worse, he'll live."
They looked each other in the eye.
"So?" James's voice wavered just a bit.
"Peter it is, I guess."
"Peter it is."
There was a pause in the conversation where both of them stared at their now sleeping child.