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Aftermath... By DeeMarie Chapter 4. Decisions to be Made Pigwidgeon fluttered about the sleeping girl, hooting softly. He wasn't his normal self. The letter he carried was too important. He sensed that when Ginny had entrusted it to him. Hermione pulled herself from sleep when she felt the breeze the Scops owl was making with his fluttering wings. "Pig, what are you doing here so early?" Hermione held out her hand and Pig settled on it. Hermione untied the letter. Pig flew over to her dresser. "I gather you want an answer right away." The tiny owl hooted in reply, hopping from claw to claw. "Give me a moment." Hermione opened the letter and read. Her eyes went wide, her mouth an O of surprise. She scrambled out of bed and over to her desk. A hastily written reply was soon attached to Pig and off he flew. Hermione got herself ready just as quickly. The letter said to meet Ginny at the Leaky Cauldron at noon. Hermione arrived at precisely the stroke of 12. She looked about the crowded room for the trademark red Weasley hair. She almost missed her. Ginny as sitting tucked away in a dark corner. Her eyes were downcast. Hermione rushed over. "Ginny," she panted as she took the chair opposite her friend. "Are you okay?" Ginny looked up. Her eyes were red-rimmed and puffy. She had been crying. "I'm glad you're here, 'Mione." Ginny reached out and took the older girl's hand. "Can you help me?" "I'll do the best I can. Ginny, are you sure about this?" "As sure as I can be without being checked. Is there a way to find out for sure, without going to a healer?" "Yes. There's an apothecary near here that carries some home testing supplies. We'll go there and head back to my house." There was an awkward silence. "Have you talked to your mum?" Ginny shook her head. "I want to make sure first." "She'll be angry, won't she? What about your Dad?" "Yes, they both will be. I think, once I explain everything, they'll probably understand, though. It was an accident, after all." "An accident? I don't think accident is the proper term for getting pregnant." Hermione regretted those words as they left her mouth. "Oh, Ginny, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that." Ginny just shrugged. "Have you said anything to Harry?" She didn't want to ask it, but she had to. "No, I want to make certain, first. I mean if it's a false alarm, I wouldn't want to scare him." "I'm sorry, Ginny, but I have to ask. Are you going to tell him if you are?" Ginny gave Hermione a sharp look. "Well, you haven't spoken two words with him since that night." The anger in Ginny turned to sadness. "I'll tell him. It will be his child too. I can't do that to him." Two hours later the girls were back in Hermione's room. "Are you sure that's right?" Ginny asked anxiety lacing her voice. "We've done this three times. Short of a blood test, you're definitely pregnant." Ginny sank down on to the bed, sighing. She hid her face in her hands. "Ginny, are you okay?" "No, Hermione. I'm going to have a baby. I'm not okay." Hermione didn't know what to do. Nothing in her experience, nothing she had ever read, prepared her for this. "What are you going to do?" Ginny still sat, her head downcast. There was silence in the room. The only sound was the ticking of the clock on Hermione's night table. Each second seemed an eternity to Ginny. Tick - I'm going to have a baby. Tick - Harry's baby. Tick - How do I tell him? Tick - How do I tell my family? "Hermione, come with me?" "Where?" "I've got to tell Harry. I've got to tell him now." They knocked on the door of the cottage Remus and Harry shared. Ginny stood behind Hermione. She was trying to find the courage to face Harry. Harry opened the door. "Hermione," he said smiling. "What brings you..." Ginny came to Hermione's side. Harry's smile faded. "Can we come in, Harry?" Hermione asked. Harry nodded and stepped aside. Hermione led the way into the sitting room. Remus was there reading. He looked up when Hermione entered. He started to smile as he stood. The half-smile froze on his face when Ginny came in. "Professor," Ginny said tentatively. She wasn't sure of her welcome, considering how she had been treating Harry. Remus let his smile grow. "It's Remus now, Ginny," that seemed to relax her. Remus glanced at Harry standing behind Ginny. Harry's brow was furrowed, his lips drawn into a thin line. "Please girls, sit down." Hermione and Ginny took seats on the small settee. Harry sat in the chair across from Ginny. As Remus sat he said, "What brings you here, ladies?" "I've come to talk to Harry," Ginny barely whispered. "Sorry," Harry said. He hadn't quite caught her words, her voice was so quiet. Ginny sighed and looked directly at Harry. "I need to tell you something." "Hermione," Remus said. "Would you mind helping me in the kitchen? Something tells me we need to get some tea ready." Hermione nodded. She gave Ginny's shoulders a squeeze and followed Remus out. Harry never took his eyes off Ginny. "What is it, Ginny?" There was a hint of anger and hurt in his voice. Ginny couldn't blame him for that. "Harry, I'm..." she paused, "I'm pregnant." She braced herself for what was to come. Pregnant. The word hung in the air between them. Harry hadn't expected this. He was stunned. "You're sure?" Ginny nodded. The silence dragged out. "I'm sorry, Harry." Sorry, she was sorry? He was trying to come to terms with his feelings about Ginny. He was trying to figure out if he should go to see her and force the issue of their feelings. Now that was taken out of his hands. She was sorry. Sorry for what? Sorry for allowing this to happen? Sorry that their lives just got one hundred times more complicated? Sorry that he had touched her? "Harry, say something," she pleaded. "What do you want me to say, Ginny? What can I say?" Ginny's eyes were downcast. "You haven't said two words to me since that night. You won't answer my letters. You've shut me out when all I wanted was to talk to you about us. And now you come to me when you're in trouble. I don't know, Ginny. Tell me what I should do. That seems to be what you want." His words stung. Tears were forming in her eyes. She deserved this. He was right. "Please, Harry, forgive me?" Harry sat back. "I was wrong. I was scared. I was...I don't know what I was! I don't know who I am now. I'm even more scared now, Harry." "How long have you known?" "Not long. Hermione helped me with the test today. I wasn't really sure. I thought I was ill. I thought it was stress. It never occurred to me that I might be...Mum's been trying to get me to explain why I came home early. I couldn't tell her. I think she suspects something." Dear Merlin, Harry thought. What were her parents going to say? "When are you going to tell your parents?" There was a hint of sarcasm in his tone. He couldn't help it. He was angry. She looked at him, finally. She hadn't missed the sarcasm. Ginny's temper began to flare. "Look, Harry, I understand that you're angry. I deserve that. I should have talked to you. You don't have to speak to me like that, though." "Yes you should have talked to me, Ginny. If this hadn't happened, if you hadn't gotten pregnant, would you have talked to me?" Ginny couldn't answer. "Can't answer that? Or won't. Never mind, I think I know. Your letter, your only letter made that perfectly clear. You didn't want to talk about us then. You don't want to talk about us now. We have to talk about us." "Us? There was no us, Harry. There never was. You barely acknowledged my existence. How could there be an us if you didn't see me?" "Is that what you thought? That I didn't care? Not even a little?" "What was I supposed to think, Harry? You didn't say two words to me after the Yule Ball. You really didn't want me around did you? You only tolerated me in the DA because I'm Ron's sister. The only reason you've talked to me at all the past two years is because Ron and Hermione are too wrapped up in each other. That's all our relationship was. I was only a substitute for them." "That's not true. I've told you things I could never have told either of them." Ginny got up and walked toward the nearest window. "That's all there was to us, Harry. Tom Riddle was all there was between us. There was nothing but shared pain between us." Harry came to stand behind her. "Is that what you think?" Ginny nodded. "There's more to it than that, Ginny." She turned. "More? What more could there be? It that's true, then I'm not the only one guilty of not talking! Why, Harry? Why couldn't you let me know there was more?" Harry couldn't stop himself, his anger, his frustration poured out. "Because I was afraid for you! I didn't want him to know how I felt! He knew I loved Sirius and look what happened! If I told you I cared, if I let myself think about it, he would have known. He would have used that. I couldn't let that happen. I didn't want to take the chance that I'd lose you too." "You care? All that time you cared? You never said anything." "Yes," he said simply. "I hate him," she spat. "He's ruined everything! We could have had a chance, a chance at a normal life. Now it's all gone!" She was really sobbing now. Harry folded his arms around her. He just let her cry. He was still angry. Now he wasn't sure whom he was angry with. Her sobbing started to ease. "You okay, Gin?" he asked. She raised her head. "A little better." He let her go. Ginny felt a deep sense of loss away from him. "What do we do now?" she asked. Harry led her back to the settee. He sat beside her. "When are you going to tell your parents?" That wasn't what he wanted to ask. They still had more to talk about. Ginny looked tired. There would be time for talking later. "As soon as you decide what you want to do." Harry looked pointedly at her. "I know I'm keeping this baby. No one is going to change my mind. I want you to be a part of this. You have to decide how much you want to be involved. It's up to you, Harry. I can't ask for more than that." "You want me to answer now?" "No Harry. You need to think about this. I can wait. I'll have to tell them soon though." "I can tell you this right now, when you do tell them, I'll be there. You won't have to face them alone." "Thank you." An uncomfortable silence settled. Ginny took a deep breath. "Don't do anything out of a sense of duty." Harry let a long breath out. "I don't know if I can promise that. It's going to be a part of my decision, I think." Ginny turned quickly to him intending to protest. He spoke before she could. "Ginny, it's a part of this situation. What we did was in the heat of the moment, consequences weren't even considered. If the circumstances had been different, who knows what would have happened. Now we have to face the facts. The fact is I've gotten you pregnant. I have a responsibility now." Ginny sighed. "I don't want to force you into something you will regret. I don't want you to hate me." Here was something Harry could reassure her with. "I'll never hate you, Ginny. I may get angry, but I'll never hate you," he said with a small smile on his lips. "I better go now." Ginny said exhaustion lacing her voice. "You need to think and I need to go home." "I'll get Hermione." Harry went to the kitchen. Hermione and Ginny left quietly. Remus was trying unsuccessfully to look busy with the tea things. "Ginny's pregnant, Remus." The teacups rattled. "So that's what happened." He turned to Harry. "Do you want to talk?" "Not right now. I'll be in my room if you want me." I'm going to be a father. Ginny is having my baby. It ran like a mantra through his mind for the last hour. He thought about her. The shy girl he had encountered at 11. Ron had told him that really wasn't like her. She was as rowdy as the twins. Normally she never shut up long enough for anyone else to talk. Her crush on him had suppressed it. Yet he saw flashes of her independent spirit. In Flourish and Blotts he had seen it. The way she had put the Chamber behind her and gone on with her life had shown she was a true Gryffindor. He had become too involved in his own problems to see how she grew over the years. It wasn't until after Sirius died that he finally started to see her for who she really was. He liked what he saw. I'm going to be a father. Ginny is having my baby. He had told her he cared. He did. She was there when he needed her. When Ron and Hermione had become so wrapped up in trying to figure out their relationship he knew he needed something they couldn't give them. His own grief and frustration prevented that. Ginny was the one who was there for him. Even when he couldn't bring himself to talk, he knew if he had wanted to she would have been there. He was grateful for that. Her quiet companionship had been a comfort. When had it changed? When had gratitude turned into something more? I'm going to be a father. Ginny is having my baby. Not alone, though. I'll see to that. You're not going through this alone Ginny. You said you wanted me to be a part of this. I will be. I have to be. I don't know how your parents will take the news, but you don't have to worry about me. Not anymore, not ever. I'm going to be a father. Ginny is having my baby. Did he love her? Is that why that night happened? Did he love her or just want her comfort? Was that what that night was? Two injured souls sharing, reaching out to each other for one beautiful thing amid all the horror. One thing so beautiful that his heart ached for more. His heart did ache for her. He needed her in his life. He needed her by his side. Was that love? I'm going to be a father. Ginny's having my baby. Love. This child of theirs was going to need it too. He knew that well enough. He grew up without it. How did he survive without it for so long? Or did he lack it? Was the love that marked him by his mother's sacrifice the key to his survival? Was it the love of his father that he carried in his heart that taught him how to give and receive it? His parent's love was there, he felt it keenly now. Was it Ginny who awakened this? He knew no matter what happened he would love this child. He would love his son or daughter as his parents had loved him. I'm going to be a father. Ginny's having my baby. Not alone though. He would see to that. It suddenly became clear to him. He wasn't sure if what he felt was love but he knew it could be. If they were together, sharing this, then things would work out. He was going to marry her. Not just because of the baby, but because there was something there. Something more than shared experience. They didn't make love just because of that. It was part of it, yes. Part of it was affirming they were alive. Part of it was how she saved him, kept him from letting go of life. Part of it, the most part of it was how he felt about her. How he could almost say he loved her. They would build a life together. They had to try. This child would have two parents together, parents who loved him. A son, it could be a son. Someone he could teach about life. Someone he could share his love of Quidditch with. He could do that with a daughter too. A lovely little red-haired beauty with green eyes. She would be his mother come to life again. I'm going to be a father. Ginny is having my baby. A soft smile played with the corners of Harry's mouth. "Remus!" Harry shouted as he bolted from his bedroom. "Remus! You've got to help me. I need to get a ring! We're going to Diagon Alley right now!"

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