Chapter 2- The Cause –
6 weeks 4 days
Two days after Hermione’s discovery, they apparated to the Burrow. Hermione was a few yards away from the Weasley Clan's home, emptying her stomach of last year’s meals… maybe that’s a tad bit of an exaggeration? Hermione wasn’t so sure. She gagged and spat, her stomach churning. Apparition was out, she couldn’t stand it. Her parent were knelt on either side of her, her mother stroking her hair back.
“I’m sorry about that Miss Granger. Apparition sickness doesn’t usually start this early.” Professor Mcgonagall apologized, vanishing the sick.
On shaking legs, Hermione started the trek towards the house. She couldn’t help but grin, the Burrow was so inviting. She sighed as she saw a herd of flaming red hair standing with Dumbledore in his bright red and gold robes, the warm morning breeze rustling their hair and robes. A smaller clump of teenagers were sprawled next to the clump of “of age” wizards. Harry and Ron were talking animatedly, Harry leaned against Ron’s chest. Neville had his back to Hermione and she couldn’t help but stare, he was growing up quickly, standing taller and taller each time she saw him. Ginny, and Luna were sitting cross-legged in the dirt, behind the boys. Brilliant green eyes fell onto her and a glorious grin split Harry's face.
“Hermione!” Harry cheered, rushing towards her, Ron loping after him. The adults stopped speaking and watched as the two boys rushed her like colts, clumsy on their rapidly growing limbs. Hermione opened her arms and shut her eyes, ignoring her swirling stomach, strong sets of arms encircling her and lifted her off the ground. Harry yelped in her ear and she opened her eyes. Harry had a tight hold on her, his arms like a cage, the cause for his girlish cry was another set of arms clamped around Harry, and her own torso, Ron's broad shoulders and long arms trapping her and Harry against his chest. With a grunt, Ron lifted them both up off the ground. He twirled them in circles and Harry shrieked, turning as green as Hermione felt.
“Ron. Put them down please. We need to talk.” Molly Weasley’s voice brought Hermione back to reality and her stomach stirred with renewed nerves. Ron set them onto the dirt, rather gently, his brow crinkled. Turning back to the adults, the teens trotted back, Neville shooting Hermione a grin and Ginny and Luna hugging her. At some point during Hermione being mauled by Harry and Ron, Professor Snape had appeared, shooting a disapproving glare at the teenagers. He clutched a scroll of parchment and a wooden box in his pale thin hands.
“If you would behave yourselves, children, let’s go inside and discuss things.” Arthur Weasley scolded, giving the children a soft smile. Hermione's father tossed an arm over her shoulders and led her inside. The group congregated in the sitting room, Hermione finally realizing just how many people were here. In fact, it was every person who had been in the Ministry that night, with the exception of the parents, Neville's grandmother, the Weasley Twins, and Professors McGonagall and Snape. Her eyes met Remus’ and he gave her a concerned look, tapping his nose with a finger. Her eyes widened in understanding and she nodded, a blush on her cheeks. Snape stepped over to Hermione, and the professors herded her away from the others. Snape spoke lowly, holding her gaze with his Obsidian eyes.
“I must not stay long, but I’ve been in contact with other Potion Masters. One potion in the department that was smashed was called, “Pater Sanguinis”. It is a new Fertility potion, intended for Pureblood lines that become sterile or in same sex couples, it is still in its testing faze. It allows a child to be created from the magical signature between two humans. Just a touch will conceive a child. Not much is known as it hasn’t been tested on a human yet.” Snape’s baritone voice held Hermione’s attention even as she felt her face pale more and more.
“How soon does it take effect?” Hermione asked.
“I am not sure. Especially with the unknowns in this situation. The questions are, how much did you drink? Did it only enter your blood stream? Does the potion have blood status detection? We will need to tread carefully.” Snape replied.
Hermione let her gaze trail over the lounging group. Harry and Ron were watching her, confusion and worry clouding their clashing eyes. Blue and green holding her pinned to the ground. She swallowed back bile. “And anyone could be the father? Or… other mother?”
Snape nodded, following her gaze. Snape felt a slight pang of pity of the girl. She did not have an easy time ahead of her. “It could be any of them.”
“What do you need for the potion?” Professor Dumbledore spoke up finally. Hermione’s parents were clutching at their daughter.
“Blood. I need a vial of blood from each person to have touched Granger for… twelve hours after she was hit with the potion.” Snape decided. He pushes the scroll into Hermione’s hand. “This is all that is known about the potion. Keep that safe. From you I need amniotic fluid.”
Hermione's hand flew to cover her flat stomach, a horrified expression on her face.
“Relax Miss. Granger, it will be painless, and will have no health risk to either of you. Now… I think it’s time you told them. I must leave for now.” Snape turned to McGonagall. “Minerva, you can retrieve the blood and fluid for me, correct?”
“I can do it Severus.” McGonagall agreed. Snape handed her the box and with a crack he was gone.
Hermione looked back to her friends and the Order of the Phoenix. She stepped up to them, her parents flanking her.
“Good morning children.” Dumbledore greeted, his eyes twinkling. “Harry.” Dumbledore's voice dropped affectionately. Harry blushed under the paternal gaze and turned his head to look at Hermione. Behind the couch, Remus gave her an encouraging nod.
“Something…” she sighed, licking dry lips. Her hands fiddled with clothes and her hair. “Something happened at the Ministry that will change my life forever. And it affects the rest of you some way as well. I’ve been sick recently. I discovered that I’m pregnant.”
“What?” Ron gasped. Harry’s hands were clenched, his jaw muscles tense. “Pregnant?”
The room fell silent again, every eye on her, including Moody's magical eye. It seemed to be looking through her body, seeing the truth that laid within her. She shuddered, “It was a potion. When I was hit by that purple curse I was thrown back into the book shelf.”
Harry and Neville looked ill at the reminder, Neville’s eyes filling with tears. “We aren’t sure when it went into affect and we also aren’t sure if I ingested it or if it entered through the blood stream.”
“It was the blood stream.” Harry answered immediately. “Nothing ever touched your mouth.”
Hermione looked to the teachers who nodded, McGonagall writing down what Harry said.
“What I’m saying though is that, anyone who touched me that night could have been the other “parent”.” Hermione shut her eyes, unable to look at her friends.
“How do we know?” Ginny asked, her eyes were wide.
“Professor Snape is making a potion. Each person who touched Miss Granger must give a vial of blood. It will take a month to brew so we would like to take the blood now. We will know before school is back in session.” Dumbledore said.
“Does that include me?” Remus spoke up. Dumbledore gave his young friend a sympathetic look.
“Yes Remus. Even you.” Remus’ face fell, paling dramatically. Tonks squeezed Remus' arm.
“Why?” Ron spoke up suddenly.
“Why, what?” Hermione asked.
“Why even go through with it? Just get rid of it.” Ron shrugged, his face reddening. “What if the other parent doesn’t want a kid. Most of us are underage.”
“Mr. Weasley!” McGonagall snapped, Dumbledore lifted his hand and stepped forward. The room was dead silent, everyone holding their breath.
“I have already spoken to Miss Granger about her options. As she is the one who is carrying the child, she has all rights to decide what to do. She will only terminate if it comes back as none of yours. As that would mean she was carrying a Death Eater’s child, which would be very dangerous for all of us.” Dumbledore peered at Ron over his half-moon spectacles. “I hope you will all support Miss Granger regardless of results.”
Ron swallowed under the light blue gaze, “Yes sir.”
“Now… let’s collect the blood for the paternity potion. Each of you will give a vial of blood and Miss Granger will give a milliliter of amniotic fluid… yes, Mr. Longbottom?” McGonagall inquired as Neville lifted his hand.
Neville looked to Hermione, a blush on his cheeks. “Can we see? The baby, I mean.”
“We can do the spell… Miss Granger?” Professor Dumbledore turned to Hermione, a curve to his lips. “Do you mind?”
Hermione looked around the room at the curious faces. Molly looked as though she was about to spring from her seat with excitement. Neville was giving her shy, puppy dog eyes and then Harry. His emerald eyes alight with curiosity and… what else? He almost looked hopeful. “Yes we can do it.”
Dumbledore summoned a squishy plush chair and beckoned to Hermione. “Now… for those of you brought up in the Muggle world, our magic allows us to see the child clearer than Muggles. At this point, we won’t see much, but Miss Granger will be able to do this spell at any time. Miss Granger, please hold your hands out in front of you and repeat the words, “Visum interiorem”. The spell lasts for a maximum of ten minutes. I can cover your case of underage magic with my own so the Ministry cannot detect it.”
Hermione did as directed, a startled gasped escaping her parted lips as swirling tendrils of magic tickled her palms. Light collected in the center of her left hand and, much clearer than any ultrasound machine, a tiny creature appeared, no bigger than a blueberry. It didn’t look like a person, but it was vaguely humanoid. Tiny webbed hands and feet flailed, but Hermione didn’t feel a thing. A tiny heart pulsed rapidly under a thin semi-transparent beginning of skin. The sound of the heartbeat filled the room, much faster than what would be considered healthy for an adult.
A thump caught her attention and Hermione choked back a laugh as Ron slumped to the floor. Harry caught her eye as he pulled the fainted boy back into the chair, his lips curled with amusement.
“It's creepy.” Fred and George said in unison. Harry chuckled. Neville had at some point crept up to Hermione's side, his mouth hanging open.
“Its beautiful.” Luna told her. Harry came closer peering down into Hermione's hands.
“Congratulations Hermione.” Molly cheered and the other adults gave her their own words.
Harry was still quiet, his face tipped downward. “Harry?” Hermione whispered.
Harry raised his head, and Hermione’s breath froze in her chest. Harry had real tears in his eyes. “Beautiful, ‘Mione.”
Then he turned and walked out of the door. Remus frowned after him and followed, Dumbledore two steps behind.
McGonagall cleared her throat as the image dissipated. “I'd like to collect the blood. I must be on my way soon.”