This is for Jess, who was converted to HP in one paragraph flat, and her twin sister, my Chellebelle, who's always got my back.
Ginny shrieked. She stood in front of the medi-witch, she who had faced Voldemort, Dementors, and many other horrid things in her lifetime, and was absolutely floored.
"Are you positive?"
"As much as we can be, miss."
"I think I need to sit down." As she said that, she began to make vague motions with her hands to find a chair. "We weren't planning this. We definitely weren't planning this."
It had been a week since Ginny had first began to suspect something was not quite right. But she had only been married to Harry for six months. These things didn't happen that quickly, not even to Weasleys.
The medi-witch (Ginny had already forgotten her name) gave her a sympathetic smile. "Few of us do plan on this. It's part of being married."
Ginny frowned slightly at the medi-witch, who had been using her best condescending tone of voice. "I mean we always wanted a family, but wow…" Absently, she turned her wedding ring around and around on her finger.
"I'm sure that's what Mr. Potter will say when you tell him, Mrs. Potter."
Ginny grinned. She still was newly enough married that being called Mrs. Potter gave her a thrill. Quite suddenly, she remembered her lunch with Hermione.
"Oh, goodness! I'm going to be late. I can't wait to tell Harry…" she added as she made her way quickly to the door.
"Young witches these days," the medi-witch murmured, "always on the go."
Ten minutes later Ginny arrived outside of Celeste's Café in Diagon Alley, five minutes late.
"Ginny!" Hermione called, waving so that Ginny could see where she was.
"Come on, have a seat. So, tell me what's new in your life."
"I went and saw the medi-witch today and…"
"Hello, ladies. Welcome to Celeste's Café. My name is Pierre and I'll be your server today. Here are your menus. Can I start you off with something to drink?"
Pierre had been their server many times, and it was a private joke to have him go through his talk every time before they ordered, because, as he said, they were one of the few people in London who could understand him, as he had spent most of his early years in France.
"Wine for me," Hermione said and pointed to her favorite selection, making sure her left hand remained hidden under the table. Pierre nodded but made no note on his pad.
"Water, please," Ginny decided. Hermione's eyebrows lifted. Ginny rarely ordered anything at this restaurant other than champagne. She could afford it, Hermione thought with a sigh. Still, her friendship with the new Mrs. Harry Potter had been long and there was nothing that the two of them could not talk about.
"Look at what Ron gave me," Hermione finally said once the waiter left.
"OH MY GOODNESS!" Ginny jumped up and grabbed Hermione's left hand. "Would you look at the size of that diamond? It's gorgeous!"
"I thought so too," Hermione muttered demurely.
"When did my darling brother get up the nerve to do this?"
"I'll bet Harry knew. I'll bet he knew and didn't tell me."
"Ron told me he didn't have any help at all, not even from Harry," Hermione said, quite proudly. "He picked it out all by himself."
"It's stunning," Ginny responded, smiling broadly and grasping her friend's hand tightly. "Have you set a date?"
"Oh, I've been walking on air too much to even think about it. Oh, hello Pierre. I'll have the special for the day," Hermione said quickly to their server, who had just appeared.
"Make that two specials of the day," Ginny agreed, flashing her most charming style at Pierre, who seemed a bit out of sorts.
"I was wondering if you could give me a hand with that. You know, be my matron of honour."
Ginny was frankly shocked. "Oh, Hermione, I'd love to. I know the hell I put you through from my wedding…"
"And I plan on returning it, with a vengeance," Hermione said and giggled, something she rarely allowed herself to do.
"This is wonderful."
"I wasn't planning on getting married so soon, you know," Hermione confided in a whispered voice. "I always thought I'd settle down after I'd made a career and a name for myself. Then Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome would waltz into my life and sweep me off of my feet. I had even decided the perfect age. That was before Ron, and before…"
"Yeah. The war changed all of us. I can't believe you're finally doing this, though. I mean, you and Ron have been together since the end of your fifth year. Everyone always thought it was just a matter of time until you tied the knot."
"Everyone but us," Hermione explained. "There was always something in the way. We were worrying about you and Harry, or just Harry, or just you, or we had exams, or Voldemort, or we were trying to get ourselves killed. We never had time to sit down and think about the future. When we did, we were a lot like everyone else. It was very scary to have to start a sentence with, ‘if we both live through this,' so most of the time we just didn't." Ginny nodded.
"It's kind of sad that we were deprived of that," Hermione sighed, "but no one in our year had the luxury of what ifs, it seems like."
"Here's our food!" Ginny exclaimed happily as Pierre brought over two steaming plates. "My, it looks lovely as always, Pierre."
"Not as lovely as the ladies who are going to consume it," he responded in his heavily accented English. "What is this?"
As he grabbed Hermione's left hand, she blushed. "A ring."
"I can see that," Pierre said impatiently. "Young Ron must have finally worked up the courage to ask you, and about time, if you ask me, though I must tell you that you break my heart. If only I were thirty years younger, and bigamy was legal, I'd have both of you on either arm."
Both of the women smiled, charmed as always.
"I don't think you could handle the both of us, Pierre, but it's a lovely thought," Ginny murmured. "Just ask our husbands."
"I don't have a husband," Hermione contradicted, and then blushed. "Yet."
This time it was Ginny who blushed. "Ah, young love."
Hermione picked up a napkin and threw it gently at Ginny. "Be quiet. You can play the wise old married woman later. Right now I just want to… bask."
Ginny threw back her head and laughed.
"Can I get anything else for you, Mrs. Potter, Ms. Granger?"
"No, we'll be fine on our own, thanks Pierre," Hermione said with a graceful smile. Then, quite suddenly, she panicked. "Ginny, I don't anything about planning a wedding. I don't know what to do, who to call, what to say, when to send out invitations…"
"They have books about it, you know," Ginny said coyly.
"Books! I'll have to make a trip to Flourish and Blotts and…" Hermione's voice trailed off when she saw how hard Ginny was shaking. "What's wrong?"
"Oh, memories. I'll be the good matron of honor and tell you to calm down. This is a wedding, dear, not the O.W.L.S. You get to decide what you want to do with it. It's your special day, and no one can take that away from you."
Hermione's eyes watered. "It's going to be fun, right?"
"Of course. Most weddings are. Do you want to have a dance after the wedding at the reception?" Ginny asked and pulled out a pad of parchment and a quill. Both women pushed aside their barely touched meals and hunched together, talking excitedly.
Pierre watched them carefully. Neither one of them was eating. That was too bad. Mrs. Potter and Ms. Granger, soon to be Mrs. Weasley, were two of his favorite customers. It was a shame that Mr. Malfoy wanted them as payment for Pierre's debts. Nevertheless, he had made a bargain. It would do him no good to postpone what he must do.
"Here you go, ladies. Drinks on the house." Both women looked up at him, elated smiles on their faces, and he almost pulled them back and admitted to everything. He quickly came to his senses, and forced a charming grin.
"That was odd," Ginny said and fingered the rim of her glass. "Have you thought about what you're going to wear?"
"I know that Mrs. Weasley would love it be a traditional wizarding affair, but, for some reason, I really want the flowing Muggle gown, you know?"
"Those are in style, I hear," Ginny commented.
"Your robes were lovely, but you see, I've always wanted the six foot train…"
"Hermione the romantic?"
"Well I was Hermione the bookworm for long enough. Sometimes I just want to scream with all this pressure, even from work."
"Your honeymoon should be enough of break from that, at least," Ginny said, and raised her glass of water to her lips. There was a scent to it that wasn't quite right. It smelled vaguely of stanis root. If she recalled her Potions classes correctly… "Hermione, have you taken a drink from your wine yet?"
"Smell it. Something's not quite right."
"Mine smells fine," Hermione said, furrowing her brow in concentration.
"Smell mine," Ginny retorted.
"Stanis!" Hermione exclaimed in a shouted whisper. "It wouldn't dissolve properly in water, it's really meant to be used as a poison in wine."
"Let's get out of here," Ginny said, fighting back panic.
"I'm all for it," Hermione agreed, and they both rose quickly.
"Something wrong, ladies?" Pierre asked, blocking their exit.
"An emergency at home," Ginny lied. "Harry just…"
"I know perfectly well that your husband has not made contact with you in the last half hour. Now, if you two ladies would be kind enough to follow me?"
"No, we have plans and people are expecting us," Hermione said, backing away from Pierre and struggling to find her wand.
"I'm sure you can explain to them that you've been…detained. Permanently."
Ginny's eyes widened. "Pierre, you don't want to do this. Trust me."
"It's not a matter of wanting, my dear lady. You see, Master Draco has requested your presence at his home, and as I owe him a substantial amount of money, I thought it was the least I could do."
"One scream," Hermione whispered fiercely, "from either Ginny or myself, would have this whole crowd on you in seconds."
"That would be so," Pierre agreed, "if my wand weren't pointing at Mrs. Potter's stomach, and her child."
"What?" Hermione gasped.
Ginny paled. "How did you know? I haven't told anyone."
"Your medi-witch is an agent of Mr. Malfoy's. I was informed this morning."
"Damn," Hermione muttered. "It seems as though we're caught, Ginny."
Ginny looked over at Hermione. Usually she didn't give up this easily. Then Ginny caught on. "Oh dear. Whatever are we to do?"
"What is going on? Is this some kind of trick?" Pierre was honestly confused.
"Ginny, dear, do you remember that one spell?"
Ginny narrowed her eyes at her best friend. "That's real specific, Hermione."
"You know, that one spell."
"Oh, yes. I remember. Surrey, right?"
Pierre was honestly a little scared by the looks on their faces. "What is this?"
"This is a nice little spell that will incapacitate you for a long time," Hermione responded, taking up a lecturing tone. "You see, first it attacks the eyes, until you can see no more. Then your ears. As they fall off, one after the other, your fingers begin gnarl."
As Pierre's eyes began to water and grow wide, Ginny took a step to the right, and then another, and then another until she was close enough to cast the spell for which Hermione had become infamous. "Pertificus Totalus!"
There was a loud THUNK, and everyone in the restaurant turned to look. Ginny grew suddenly weak and reached for a chair, and Hermione did the same.
"Well, I haven't done that in a long time," Hermione finally said.
"There isn't a spell like that, Hermione."
"Brings back memories of the old days, doesn't it?"
"Ah yes." Hermione gave Pierre a distracted kick. "Well that was a nice outing. Just us girls."
"Just us girls and a child," Ginny whispered.
"You mean it's true?"
"Yeah. I just found out this morning. You're the first one to know."
"Harry'll be off the wall," Hermione grinned.
"Yes, I think he will be," Ginny responded, and they giggled together.
"Well, is anyone going to help us move him?" Hermione asked loudly. The sound of scraping chairs immediately filled the café, and Ginny and Hermione parted and went their separate ways.
When Ginny got home, Harry was waiting for her.
"I heard you had an exciting day," he whispered.
"Hmm. It was nice. I like the days when it's just us girls."