"Arthur, could you come in for a minute, please? We need to talk."
Arthur Weasley looked up from the collection of Muggle artefacts he'd been sorting through in the back garden of the little cottage he shared with his wife of two months. She was looking rather…nervous, twisting her apron into knots and looking anxiously at him. He'd been working on his pile of something called "recorder alumbs"—large, hard, black disks—with a hole right in the centre—which were stored in envelopes decorated, strangely enough, with photographs that didn't move. Muggles were so interesting.
"Of course, love," he answered swiftly, stacking the alumbs into a neat pile and hurrying to her side. Normally, he wouldn't rush quite so quickly, but Molly and nervous weren't words that he usually associated with each other. Her self-confidence was one of the things he loved about her.
"Sit down, please," she said, pointing to the sofa. She sat next to him, on the edge of the seat, looking at him intently, her hands still working at her apron.
"Molly, love, what's the matter?" Arthur asked, instinctively reaching for his wife's hand, stilling her fidgeting fingers and hoping to offer her some comfort. Something must be very wrong,he thought, because she's acting not at all like herself.
"Arthur, I'm late."
"Late?" he asked, confused. "Late for what?"
"Late, Arthur. You know, late," she replied, sounding exasperated. "My monthly…you know." Arthur continued to look at her blankly. Frustrated, she said, "You know, my prize of womanhood; that time of the month…my…period. It's late. I'm never late. Twenty-eight days, like clockwork, every month."
"Oh." It was the only way he could think to reply, especially about something so…personal.
And completely foreign to him.
He patted her hand and let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. He could feel his ears burning at the mention of the topic. "Well, then. That's all there is to it," he said, withdrawing his hand from hers and rising from his seat. "Is that all you needed to tell me?"
"Is that all you're going to say?" she asked incredulously, rising to stand in front of him, hands on her hips. "'Well, then, that's all there is to it?' What about, 'It'll be all right, Molly, even though this wasn't how we planned it?' Or 'You've made me the happiest man alive?'"
"Don't you 'But, Molly' me, Arthur Weasley! I don't know what I expected from you when I told you the news, but it was certainly more than this."
"Molly, love, calm down," he said, watching her with wide eyes.
"I don't want to calm down, Arthur," she said. "I just told you we're going to have a baby, and you react like I told you we couldn't have scones at tea time. How am I supposed to feel about that? This is supposed to be one of the happiest days of our lives and—"
Molly was waving her wand around, working herself up, but all Arthur heard was baby. His insides jolted. "Wait, what was that about a baby?"
She huffed impatiently. "We're going to have a baby, Arthur. I told you that."
He removed his glasses and started to polish them, hoping to give himself a moment to think. "No. No you didn't," he said slowly, placing his glasses back on his face. "You said you were late. How am I supposed to know what that means? I'm a man. I don't have any sisters, and I certainly never talked about things like that with my mum." He shuddered at the thought. "We're having a baby? Really?" he said, a grin spreading across his face as he rose to wrap his arms around her. "When? Will it be a boy or a girl? What will we name it…him…her?"
Molly relaxed in his arms. "You're not upset?"
"Upset? Of course I'm not upset. You've made me the happiest man alive." He kissed her soundly. "We're having a baby."
Arthur watched from the doorway as Molly bustled around the kitchen, grumbling under her breath with every step. I wonder what happened to set her off today, he thought. Molly's temper was formidable when she wasn't dealing with the changes that pregnancy made to her body, but since she'd told him the news in March, he'd learned the hard way that it was very important to watch carefully what you said around her. Otherwise, you might wind up with a hex directed at a part of your body you'd rather not have hexed, thank you very much.
"Hello, love," he said, entering the room and letting the door swing shut behind him. "How was your day today?" Then he braced himself for her answer.
"It was lovely, until I went to the bakery for some bread and a cake for after dinner," she replied. "Then I ran into that nosy Margaret Eaton, and she had the gall to ask me if I mightn't want to slow down a bit on the puddings, since I seemed to be gaining weight."
"And what did you say to that?" Arthur asked nervously.
"I told her we were expecting, of course," she answered. "And do you know what she did then? She congratulated me as if she'd never made that rude comment about my weight and then asked me if it was a boy or a girl."
"Ah. And what was your answer to that question?"
"Yes," she said simply, sinking down into the chair beside him.
"Well, I thought about telling her it was a kneazle but decided not to sink to her level," she said, a sheepish smile on her face.
Arthur snorted. "I'll bet she loved that."
"She left in a huff, actually. But the baker thought it was brilliant. He gave me a pie and told me to convey his congratulations."
"But what if it's a girl, Arthur?"
"Then we can repaint the room pink, love," he explained patiently. "She won't notice." Besides, there hasn't been a female Weasley born in the past I don't know how many generations. How likely is it that there will be one born now?
"What about a nice yellow…or green? Then it wouldn't matter if the elf is a boy or a girl."
"Elf? You're calling our baby an elf? And you're worried about the colour of the room?" Arthur shook his head at the so-called logic of his wife.
"Well, I had to have something to call it. And 'elf' is better than gnome or goblin."
"You could just call him by his name," Arthur suggested.
"Except for the fact that we don't know that it's a boy, Arthur," she said, leaning back against him, his arms wrapping around her. "And neither William nor Arthur is appropriate for a girl, you know
"We could have solved this by letting the midwife tell us the baby's gender."
"If we were supposed to know the sex of the baby before it was born, women would have a window in our stomachs so we could see for ourselves," Molly retorted primly before bursting out laughing at her husband's expression. "I just want to be surprised, Arthur, that's all. And if we do have a girl, you can change the colour easily enough."
"Isn't that what I just said?" Arthur asked, bemused.
"The next person who asks me if I'm sure the due date is the twenty-first of November and not sometime last month will get his bits hexed off," Molly grumbled to Arthur as he rubbed her feet. "I know I'm as big as a house—"
"You are not as big as a house," Arthur replied loyally. "You'd never fit in our parlour if you were as big as the house." He trailed off at her quelling look. He tickled her foot before going on, "Mollywobbles, you're beautiful, and you know it. You have this inner glow that just takes my breath away. And the fact that you're carrying my child makes you the sexiest woman I've ever laid my eyes on."
"Good to know someone thinks I'm sexy," she muttered to herself, looking down at her belly. "Although how that could be possible, I've no idea. Look at me! My stomach is huge; my ankles are swollen—although at least I can't see them, since my belly is so big. My navel sticks out, for heaven's sake."
Arthur dropped her feet and slid out from under them to move up beside her head and kiss her passionately. "Your belly is sexy," he said, kissing her again. "Your navel is sexy; your feet are sexy. And if you don't believe me, then I'll be forced to show you that I mean what I say."
"Oh," she said breathlessly. "Well, then. Maybe I don't believe you."
21 November, 1970
"Why isn't the baby here?" Arthur asked impatiently. "It's his due date. He's supposed to be here."
Molly looked up from her knitting. "The due date is just an estimate, Arthur. I told you that. The midwife told you that. Be patient, love. We'll meet our child soon enough.
25 November, 1970
"Why isn't this baby here yet?" Molly asked impatiently. "The due date was four days ago."
"The due date is just an estimate, remember," Arthur reminded her gently. "The midwife said it would be any day now…"
"I don't want it to be any day now. I want it to be now. I'm tired of being pregnant. I want my body back."
"I know, love. But we'll meet our child soon enough."
2:53 AM, 29 November, 1970
"Arthur, it's time. Arthur… Arthur!"
"Huh…what?" he replied incoherently. He sat up blearily in the bed and fumbled for his glasses.
"It's time!" she said again then took a deep breath, a look of pain flashing over her face.
"It's time? Are you certain?" He blanched when he saw her expression. "Right then. You stay here, and I'll go floo the midwife." He stumbled out of bed and started pulling his trousers on over his pyjamas and hopping towards the door.
10:28 AM, 29 November, 1970
"What's taking so long?" Arthur poked his head into the bedroom for the fifteenth time in the past hour.
"Having a baby takes time, Mr Weasley," the midwife explained patiently (for the fifteenth time in the past hour). "Your wife is progressing nicely. Everything looks perfect, and I promise I'll call you when your son or daughter is born. Right now, I need you to wait outside, though."
Wait outside? How can I wait outside when my whole world is writhing in pain in our bed? Arthur asked himself miserably. "This whole 'the man can't be in the room during labour' thing is for the birds," he muttered while he did as he was directed. "I'll be right outside the door, Molly, love," he called as the door closed behind him, and he took up pacing. Again.
4:17 PM, 29 November, 1970
Arthur's head snapped up at the sound. Was that…
"Waaaahhhh!"It was! Ignoring the fact that he'd been banished from the room over forty times since the midwife had arrived, finally forcing her to place a locking charm on the door, he leapt to his feet and ran to the door, arriving just as it opened.
"Mr Weasley, there's someone who would like to see you," the midwife said, smiling broadly.
"Molly?" he asked fearfully.
"Mrs Weasley and the baby are fine," she reassured him. "I've just got them both cleaned up. Go on, now; go meet the newest member of your family."
Tentatively, he crept through the door, looking in awe at the woman he loved more than anyone, who was sitting propped up in the bed and gazing down at the bundle at her breast.
"Arthur," she said, beaming at him. "Come meet your son."
A/N: This was written for my wonderful husband, wamfof, for his Christmas present. Many thanks to Bring and Fly and OHGinnyfan for their fabulous comments and beta-reading skills and for just being awesome.
I must admit that there's some self-insertion going on in this fic. Some of the things Molly says (or almost says) are things that I've at least thought at some time during one of my pregnancies. I need to clarify, though, that wamfof is nowhere near as clueless as I've written Arthur. He is, however, just as wonderful as Arthur is about making me feel loved and sexy and desirable, even when I'm as big as a house.
Also, Margaret Eaton, the nosy busybody in the bakery, is a real person. She was never a busybody, though; she's just the best grandmother a girl could ask for. I miss her.