Chapter 51 : Until That Moment
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Mattie felt happier than she had in ages as Myles and Claudia turned one and she reached her eighth month of pregnancy. It was the beginning of February as she waddled from the window seat in the small library carrying the book she had been reading that was touching her in so many different ways. She opened the large book on the stand to a page that was the last one to have had an entry and summoned a quill and ink. Mattie finished and looked back over what she had written.
And all the lives we ever lived
And all the lives to be,
Are full of trees and changing leaves.
- This is all
It’s just that we’d like to think that craziness and sanity are on opposite ends of an ocean, but really they’re more like neighbouring islands.
- Sisters in Sanity
Mattie closed the book running her hand over the cover. Mattie stepped back feeling exhausted but out of the corner of her eye she saw her beautiful piano. She felt warmth spread over her as she sat down running her fingers over the keys. She moved the seat backwards to make room for her stomach and started to play.
The older wizards had been going out into the wizarding world defending families from the Death Eaters. Remus had been leaving to speak on Potter Watch which caused incredible fear in Nymphadora Lupin.
Mattie felt a sharp kick to her abdomen and stopped playing.
‘Jesus!’ Mattie muttered before standing up and heading towards the door. She waddled back through the house until she found a group in the living room. Mattie sat down on the floor, leaning against a couch as a little red head baby stumbled over to her. Mattie hugged the one year old who clapped her hands together before she fell into Mattie’s arms.
‘Hey Claudy,’ Mattie said listening as Fred and George talked over a new line of products they wanted to introduce after the war was over. Myles came over his long hair flopping in front of his eyes. He tried to push his sister out of the way but Mattie looked at him sternly before pulling both babies into a hug.
‘Duck,’ Myles said patting Mattie.
‘Thanks Myles.’ Claudia pulled away from Mattie before leaning down and picking up a red block before passing it back to her god sister. ‘Thank you Claudy.’
‘Ta,’ Claudy said clapping her hands again. Mattie turned to Ginny starting a conversation when Georgia came over and sat down cross-legged drawing pictures with her finger on Mattie’s belly while she talked. Sirius and James entered the room their shirts singed and blood on their faces.
‘Oh my god!’ Lily cried leaping to her feet and running a thumb over the large cut that ran from James’ hairline down to his top lip. Sirius didn’t look at anyone besides his daughter. Mattie looked at him feeling as though something was very wrong. She moved Georgia before standing looking at her dad.
‘Dad?’ Sirius swallowed.
‘I’m sorry sweetie but I have some bad news.’ Mattie braced herself for whatever it was he was about to say. ‘Ainsley Wilcoch was killed by Death Eaters along with her family today.’ Mattie blinked feeling as though something large was sitting on her chest.
‘No.’ Mattie cried struggling to breathe clutching her chest. Tears streamed down her face at tremendous speed as the eighteen year old repeated ‘no.’ Mathilda couldn’t believe it. One of her best friends, the beautiful girl she’d known for just over seven years was gone. Mattie shook her head still trying to comprehend what was happening when pain ripped through her abdomen. ‘Ah!’ she gasped, clutching her stomach. She looked up wide eyed, tears still sparkling on her cheeks.
‘Mattie?’ Lily asked looking at her nervously. Mattie’s breathing was constructed as she clutched her abdomen.
‘Ah!’ As Mattie bit her lip as Lily coming up to her while Fred came up behind her trying to rub her back for her. The pain ceased for a minute as water splattered the floor.
‘Oh my,’ Lily said taking Mattie’s arm as she looked as though she was about pass out. ‘Mattie you’re in labour.’
‘No I’m not due for another three weeks. I…’ Mattie stopped talking as another contraction hit her.
‘Ok Terra, Molly get her upstairs I’ll be there in a minute, this one appears to be in a hurry,’ Lily said as Molly and Terra nodded stepping forward taking Mattie’s arms leading her from the room. ‘Now stay down here someone will come and get you when the time comes but I have to be honest she’s going to have a hard time. Labour itself is hard but she’ll have to keep up the protection for her stomach throughout the whole thing as there will be a lot of pressure on her scar.’
‘Will she be ok?’ Fred asked.
‘She’ll be fine she’s strong.’ Lily said before turning to leave her daughter grabbed her leg. Lily picked her up and passed her to James who took her wincing. Lily walked quickly up the stairs with Tonks and into Mattie’s room to find her goddaughter pacing while Molly and Terra prepared everything. After an hour of contractions Lily got Mattie onto the bed to see how dilated she was. ‘You’re about 3cm’s so you still got a while to go. Not in such a hurry anymore.’
‘Ask Fred to bring me some piano music, please?’ Lily nodded before turning to Molly.
‘Can you double check her scar?’ Molly nodded as Lily left the room returning just as quickly with Fred Weasley right behind her. He passed the music cd to Terra while he moved over to his wife.
‘How you feeling?’
‘I don’t know,’ Fred looked at her curiously.
‘Ainsley would be proud of you and you know it,’ Fred said squeezing Mattie’s hand as her lower lip trembled. He leaned and kissed her gently before a contraction hit her worse than all previous. Fred clutched her hand as Mattie breathed through it until it past.
‘I love you,’ Mattie said, looking tired. Fred wiped her forehead with his hand as he pushed her hair off her face.
‘I love you so much, Mathead…So much,’ Mattie leaned up and kissing him lightly before hugging him.
‘Fred?’ Molly asked as another contraction overpowered her daughter-in-law. Fred nodded before kissing her forehead and travelling back down stairs. He sat down beside George and let his head fall back. Remus looked at him knowing how it felt to feel so helpless.
‘Daddy, no bed,’ Georgia said pulling on his pants with the sweetest look she could muster.
‘No missy, you and Teddy need sleep. And maybe if you go to sleep now I’ll wake you when the baby comes, ok?’
‘Baby! Ok bedtime Teddy. Now!’ Georgia yelled at her already snoozing brother who woke squirming and crying.
‘Gigi,’ Remus said but he was unable to scold his daughter too much as she was his baby girl still and always would be. Remus stood with his son in his arms and took his daughter’s hand. He led her up the stairs until they reached the room that was connected to their own. He lay his son down in his crib and picked up his daughter swinging her around before sitting her on her bed. He grabbed her pyjama jumpsuit and changed her before covering her over and kissing her goodnight. Remus flicked his wand creating a barrier so she wouldn’t fall out of bed before kissing his son and leaving the room. When he came back downstairs James had put his three kids to bed with the help of Sirius who also put his own son to bed.
As parents the Marauders had changed but only slightly enough so that their children came first. Every single child was perfect in the eyes of their parents and it was that that caused them to come to their child’s aid or defence whenever the time called for it. The two Black kids, two Lupin children and the four Potter kids were all very much like their father’s in many ways. Each Marauder raised their child to know what was right and wrong but also how to enjoy life for the moment you have and of course to enjoy a good prank. They might have grown up and had families but the were still the Marauders; Prongs, Padfoot and Moony, and nothing was going to stand in the way of them enjoying the lives they had made for themselves and passing on the brilliance of themselves onto the next generation.
‘Mattie sweetie it’s time,’ Lily said just before Mattie pushed as though her life depended on it. Tonks was holding one hand while Molly held the other. Mattie stopped pushing lying back into the pillows, exhausted.
‘You’re doing well, baby,’ Ruby said into her daughter’s head.
‘Ok, Matt just a couple more big pushes,’ Terra said trying to encourage Mattie to breathe normally. Hands appeared out of nowhere, wiping Mattie’s brow. Mattie felt a different hand slip into hers, a comforting somehow familiar one. Mattie pushed again when Lily said to and as she pushed, exhaustion taking over she felt tearing.
‘Shit,’ Lily cursed as Mattie’s scar opened, blood running from the wound quickly. ‘Molly we’ll need potions and water. Tonks we need more blankets and towels and a cool cloth.’ Lily looked over to her goddaughter and found that her eyes were closed and her head hung to one side. ‘Mattie! Mathilda!’ Lily cried leaving her position at the end of the bed and moving up to the head. Molly and Tonks left quickly and Lily looked back at Terra nervously before she noticed the faint outline of her old best friend.
‘She has another contraction in a second. That might be enough to get the babies head out then we can do the rest and then we can heal Mattie. But if we wait any longer the baby might die.’ Lily nodded as she and Terra got ready.
Sirius looked up as his cousin went running down the stairs, slamming closets before shooting back upstairs. He nudged James who made a sudden noise as he was jolted awake causing the others to look up quickly in time to see Molly Weasley run into the potion room.
‘Oh god,’ Fred said panic filling every facial feature. George put an arm around him, hoping against all odds that everything was alright.
‘I see the head,’ Lily said still glancing up at Terra who was at the top of the bed constantly checking Mathilda’s vitals. Little did Lily know that Ruby was trying desperately to wake her young daughter. Minutes later a loud cry filled the room. Lily magically cut the umbilical cord as Terra cried out that Mattie’s heart rate was dropping. Lily noticed the solid hands that were floating to her side with a thick white blanket draped across them. Lily lay the baby down on the blanket and watched out of the corner of her eye as Ruby took her grandchild over to where the bassinet stood. Molly and Tonks came in, passing objects to the two Healers.
‘Molly, take the baby downstairs while we work on Mattie.’
‘But what if you need help?’
‘I think we’ll be ok, we have an extra set of hands,’ Lily said indicating the floating hands that were currently trying to keep Mattie cool by placing a cold cloth on her forehead. Molly smiled knowingly although she was confused about the how, not having known that Ruby could speak to the ones she loved and occasionally make herself visible. Molly leant over the bassinet and picked up the tiny bundle. As she left passing the others she looked at the blood that had covered Mattie and the bed and prayed the girl would be alright.
As Molly entered the room she realised it was 12.30 in the morning. She saw her husband sitting on one couch with their daughter resting up against him. James was trying to calm Sirius down while Remus and George attempted to get Fred to stop panicking.
‘Fred?’ Molly said causing everyone to look up. Their eyes revealed how nervous they were with the news her presence brought. Fred stepped forward his legs barely holding him as his staggered breath filled the silent room. Molly passed the baby to Fred who looked down at the tiny face and dark hair. The baby opened its eyes and an electrifying blue caused his heart to race. George came up behind him and the two Weasley twins who usually found a joke to everything stared down at the tiny baby in Fred’s arms, mesmerised.
‘What is it, girl or boy?’ Ginny asked excitedly. Molly looked from her daughter to Fred.
‘You have a daughter, Fred,’ Molly said smiling as Fred’s face lit up.
Sirius came forward and Fred looked up at him before he past his father-in-law the bundle. Sirius held the baby and couldn’t believe how identical to her mother she was. Sirius past her back to Fred just before Lily came in, her hands and shirt covered in blood. Fred paled, looking as if he was about to drop the baby that he held.
‘She’s asking for you, Tonks and Terra have to stay with her until you get up there,’ Fred nodded passing Lily and walking as best as he could up to his room. As he entered the room to find his wife in clean sheets with a pile of bloody ones just off the bed. Tonks and Terra left the room closing the door as Fred stood beside the bed. Mattie lifted her head enough to look at him.
‘We have a daughter, Matt,’ Fred said grasping her hand.
‘We do,’ Mattie looked up at him her eyes asking the question she couldn’t, the name to grant her daughter. Fred nodded, smiling warmly. ‘Could you get dad?’ Fred nodded before walking towards the door to find Tonks waiting on the other side.
‘We thought you might need something and she shouldn’t be left alone.’
‘Could you get Sirius, please?’
‘Yep, be back in a min,’ Tonks started down the stairs almost tripping but managing to catch herself.
‘Tonks went to get him,’
‘Do you wanna hold her?’ Mattie looked at him biting her lower lip before nodding. She held out her arms and Fred lay their tiny daughter into her mother’s arms before placing a cushion under Mattie’s arm that was supporting the baby’s head so that she didn’t have to hold all the weight herself. Mattie looked down at the child she had once doubted she really wanted or would be a good mother to. This tiny little girl had her eyes, bright blue and dark hair that was tinged with a deep red. Mattie took the baby’s hand and stroked the soft skin. Fred put his arm around Mattie and admired the baby along with his wife. Mattie turned sideways and looked at him. Fred turned to face her before he leaned forward and kissed her.
There was a knock at the door and they turned to find Sirius Black smiling nervously at them.
‘Hey daddy,’ Mattie said softly. Sirius came in further and stood at the end of the bed looking at his daughter and the little family that was now hers. ‘We wanted to ask you something. Would it be ok if we named her Ruby?’
For a moment Sirius Black was silent.
‘You can call her whatever you want and I’d love it and so would your mother.’ Mattie smiled before tears slid down her cheeks silently. Mattie bit her lip, looking down at her daughter before raising her head.
‘I get it.’
‘Get what, bub?’ Sirius asked confused.
‘I finally understand why mum died for me. I finally get it,’ Mattie said smiling a watery grin as her mother appeared beside her father who took her hand tightly.
‘I knew you would understand one day, why I did what I did. I never wanted to leave you but it was better than me having to live out my life knowing you were gone, so I made the best choice I could at the time and it’s paid off magnificently. I feel so blessed that my beautiful daughter, our beautiful daughter has lived her life for the last eighteen years just the way she wanted. I am so proud of who you are and I know when it comes down to it you’ll do whatever you have to do to keep your family safe because you are very much like us. I love you and thank you for giving my name to your child. Be safe and know I’m always with you,’ Ruby said softly her deep auburn hair shining brightly before she disappeared. Sirius knew now that they would meet again one day and when they did it would be better than all these small visits in between.
There was another knock at the door and James popped his head in.
‘Mind if we come in?’
‘Not at all,’ Fred said as he and Mattie watched as their family came in. Molly and Arthur came in and stood at the end of the bed like Sirius who now stood beside his wife. Lily and James stood on the left side of the bed while Ginny stood between them and her parents. Remus, Tonks and Georgia stood on the right side of the bed while George stood by his brother’s side. Mattie couldn’t believe Georgia was up and not in a bad mood but full of smiles.
‘We decided to call her Ruby Ainsley Black Weasley,’ Mattie said still looking down at her child. ‘So Molly, Arthur you have a granddaughter,’
‘Thank you,’ Molly said smiling tears in her eyes. Arthur nodded as he put an arm around his wife’s shoulders. Mattie looked at Fred who took the hint and spoke up.
‘We would also like to ask Ginny if you would be our daughter’s godmother?’ Ginny’s eyes seemed to fall out of her head.
‘No the other Ginny with the tattoo and piercing,’ Fred said sarcastically through his smile.
‘Oh ha ha. I would love to,’ Ginny said beaming.
‘Now we were stuck for godfather but we decided that we would go with one who wasn’t blood related, so the other who was related by blood, could just be a really awesome mega cool uncle,’ Mattie said struggling slightly to catch her breath as Ruby cried.
‘Is that me?’ George asked pretending to blush.
‘Yes you twat,’ Mattie said laughing. Everyone in the room to could see the still existed childhood bond that these three had that would probably never change. Mattie closed her eyes as her daughter’s cries stopped and for a moment it seemed she had fallen asleep.
‘She’s beautiful Matt,’ Remus said before Georgia squirmed from his arms landing gently onto the bed. She crawled carefully up along the empty side of the bed before looking down at the baby.
‘Pretty,’ Georgia said before James scooped her up tickled her, causing her to scream in delight. Fred took Ruby holding her carefully as Mattie sunk into the pillows further.
‘We should let her get some rest, she still needs to heal,’ Terra said before ushering people from the room. George leant forward and kissed his new nieces soft forehead before he kissed Mattie’s cheek and left clapping his brother on the shoulder as he did so. Lily paused to kiss Mattie’s cheek wanting to hold her but knew there would be time for that later. Sirius was the last one to leave the room wanting nothing more than to stay by his daughter’s side, but deep down he knew she had grown up and was her own person with her own family and didn’t need him anymore.
‘I’ll always need you, daddy. Always want you too,’ Mattie said as if she had read his very thoughts. Sirius smiled and grasped her hand.
‘I’ll see you tomorrow, bub. I love you,’ Sirius looked down as he walked from the room hearing his daughter send her love out after him. Mattie drifted in and out of sleep and tried to get up but Fred had been given strict orders that Mattie needed bed rest for at least a few hours before she could get up. Fred put a nappy on Ruby and a tiny white growth suit before placing her bundled up in a white blanket into the bassinet. He looked down at their hour old daughter wondering how it was possible to love something so much in such a little space of time. Once he was sure she was breathing normally and nothing bad was going to happen, he changed and climbed into bed gently cuddling up to Mathilda who stroked his arms as she moved closer to him, falling asleep once she knew he was close.
Mathilda woke the next morning to find Fred still fast asleep. She climbed from the bed still in the bloody clothes from yesterday. She past her daughter and as she looked down at her beautiful sleeping form she realised in that moment that miracles were possible and she had been given one. In the moment of hearing the terrible fate of one of her best friends Mattie had crumbled but in the light of a new day she felt blissfully unaware of the war. Though as she stepped into the shower, watching the water turn red as it washed away the blood from the ends of her long hair and body the moment broke and the horror of yesterday was brought back to her mind. Mattie let the warm water run over her as the reality of life settled back in and she braced herself, ready to enjoy the moments she had with the people she loved because at the end of the day no one knows how long they have left in this world and yesterday had proved that.
Mattie magically dried herself and her hair before pulling on her favourite sweater that covered her bottom well and a pair of ugg boots. She heard her daughter start to cry and made her way over to her cradle, taking the infant up into her arms. She went to the change table they had set up in preparation for her a day before which Mattie found quite a coincidence.
‘Hey beautiful girl,’ Mattie whispered as she looked down at the bright blue eyes of her child. Her dark hair was tinged with red which was visible from the sunlight shining through a gap in the curtains. Mattie wandlessly summoned a pink singlet and a new nappy. She put them on and gently pulled on a little pink dress that she had shrunk down automatically as she put it on her petite daughter. Mattie slipped on a matching pink jacket and booties before she picked her up and breathed in the beautiful baby smell.
Mattie left the room and headed towards the living room hoping to find her family which she did. She was happy to pass her baby around as everyone wanted a cuddle and it gave her a minute to catch her breath. It wasn’t long before Ruby started crying and she was past back to Mathilda who settled her almost immediately.
‘Wow, aren’t you a natural,’ Lily said smiling as Ruby closed her little eyelids. ‘Lie her on the blanket over there for a minute.’
‘Why?’ Mattie asked.
‘It’s tradition to take a muggle newborn picture.’ Mattie set her daughter down and took the camera, snapping a polaroid which came out moments later. Mattie took her daughter back up into her arms and watched as Lily put the photo in a special set of frames Mattie had never noticed before.
There was a polaroid of Mathilda as a newborn baby dressed in pink, of Harry in blue, of Jonah in dark blue, of Aidan in green, of Georgia in lilac, of the twins; Myles and Claudia in pink and blue, of Teddy in white and now Ruby in pink.
‘Jesus!’ George said looking from the picture of Mattie as a baby to the one that had just been taken of Ruby. ‘You could be twins.’ Mattie smiled.
‘Breakfast is ready, Master James,’ Sappy said bowing before complimenting on Ruby. They all made their way in and Mattie conjured a small bassinet which she placed her child in before Fred came up behind her, kissing her neck softly. They took their seats amongst their family and watched as Sirius raised his pumpkin juice.
‘To Mathilda and Fred, congratulations on Ruby.’ Sirius said looking at his son-in-law. He turned to look at his daughter, ‘To miracles,’ Mattie beamed raising her own glass along with everyone else.
‘To the miracles that really do exist.’ And with those words the room was alive in the joy of a new baby, lost in the moment of happiness, momentarily forgetting the battle that drew ever nearer.
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