Bad Blood

The Weight of Living Pt 1

Chapter 1

The Weight of Living

All the things you've said and the things you've done

Can you carry it with no regrets?

Can you stand the person you've become?

{Bastille, The Weight of Living Pt 1}

Hermione loved shopping. It wasn't because she got to buy herself new clothes and stuff, she wasn't that kind of girl, it was the solitude of being alone that she liked. She liked shopping because it allowed her to become lost in her own thoughts and to do menial things at the same time. She could be all on her own in a crowd of people without feeling alone. Loneliness was after all not about being alone, but about feeling unloved. She didn't feel unloved, but sometimes she just felt like no one understood her but herself, so she liked to keep herself company. Her favourite was book shopping; muggle book shopping to be precise. She didn't need to have her nose buried in a magical book for it to be fascinating to her. She was raised a muggle after all, she could at least read about their endeavors. She liked knowing what was going on in that world.

Today however, Hermione was not shopping for her own pleasure. The new school year was about to begin and she was shopping for some much needed supplies. The day had gotten away from her and the sun was already dipping below the buildings in Diagon Alley. She shivered, pulling her cloak tighter around herself, not because she was cold but because Diagon Alley still gave her the chills. She kept seeing the darker, broken version of the Alley overrun with Death Eaters and Snatchers. She didn't enjoy coming here anymore; the magic was gone for her even though the Alley had been repaired. That's why she enjoyed her small, cozy apartment in muggle London. That's where she could breathe easily. The last few years in the magical world had been suffocating her. The hype and the devastation of the war had finally died down, but the years after the war were still burned into her mind. She couldn't even walk down the street without being bombarded with questions or overrun by eager witches and wizards wanting to meet one of the Golden Trio. Personally she thought everyone had just gone around the bend, she was just a normal witch. She never used the term 'Golden Trio' to describe her and her friends, it was a bit silly. They were just people.

Hermione pushed a strand of brown hair out of her face before entering Amanuensis Quills, the bell above the door announcing her presence. She remembered what it was like to walk into a shop a few years ago. Everyone would go silent for a minute to stare at her before rushing toward her. It was even worse for Harry, who couldn't leave his house for two days because of the admirers waiting for him outside. She smiled remembering how she had to plough through the crowd to bring him food. This time no one even batted an eyelash in her direction, which she was grateful for. She continued to gather the items on her list; she liked buying the first years in her charms class Self-Correcting quills, partly because it meant she wouldn't have to correct their spelling errors and because she wanted to make them feel more comfortable. She remembered how scared and nervous she was when she sat in her first class, she tried to hide it of course but Professor McGonagall saw right through her. She handed Hermione one of her quills and told her just to take notes and pay attention and she would be fine. Hermione wanted her students to feel what she had felt all those years ago; at home.

After she paid for the quills and shrunk them down to fit in her small shopping bag she continued to go from shop to shop picking up items on her list. She went to Madam Malkin's for some new teaching robes, Scribbulus Writing Instruments for some parchment and Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment for the feathers her first years would be using. They blew up quite a few last year, so she got a little extra for this year. After she finished her list she sank tiredly into a chair at Rosa Lee Teabag, today had been more draining than she thought it would have been. She checked her watch, relieved to see she wasn't late.

"Hermione!" She looked up, spotting a very familiar red head rushing towards her, her arms full of school supplies. Hermione raised her brows as Ginny practically fell into the chair opposite her, putting all the bags down on the floor.

"Isn't James a little young to be getting school supplies?"

"They're for Teddy," she huffed, rubbing her stomach and back at the same time. Hermione never knew how her friends did it, not only were they raising their own two boys (both of whom had a knack for trouble just like their father) but they were raising Teddy Lupin as well as expecting their third child. On top of that Harry was the Minister of Magic, which left Ginny to do most of the work. Teddy was very much a part of the Potter family and Ginny and Harry raised him like he was their own. Hermione quickly did some math, only to discover that Teddy would indeed be starting at Hogwarts this year.

"He must be excited." Hermione ordered both of them some herbal tea, it calmed her and it was good for Ginny's baby as well.

"Not as excited as his father, he can't sit still, keeps going on and on about how he's going to be the best Gryffindor the school's ever seen." Ginny huffed again, rubbing her back with both hands now. "This little one is getting too big."

"It's not long now is it? Another month give or take?" Hermione had the honour of being the godmother of all Harry and Ginny's children and Ginny had asked her to be the godmother of the new baby as well. She knew that Harry and Ginny really wanted a girl this time but neither of them was brave enough to try and find out what the gender was. Hermione couldn't blame them; she would be scared too if she knew she was expecting another trouble maker. She loved the Potter children, but some times they were a little too much like their Marauder ancestors.

Ginny looked flustered and she huffed again, leaning back in her seat. "It still feels like forever." Ginny leant down, talking to her tummy. "You hear me? You do not have to stay in there for another month." Just as the words left Ginny's mouth she cringed and cried out, her hands going to her tummy. "Well I didn't mean right now!" Ginny panted as another contraction hit and she moaned.

Hermione jumped into action, since they couldn't apparate they would have to get to St. Mungo's on their own. A few people turned their heads to watch the two of them curiously and for a moment Hermione was angry, why didn't they help?

"Okay Ginny, just take a deep breaths," Hermione said as she helped the red head to her feet. At that moment the bell above the door of the shop rang again, this time signaling the arrival of a familiar blonde.

"Oh hello Hermione, Ginny," Luna greeted them in her usual airy tone. Her brows pulled together in concern as she took in Ginny, who was struggling to remain upright. "You don't look well Ginny, too many whackspurts float through your brain?"

"No Luna, she's in labour." Hermione said patiently as she wrapped her arm around Ginny to help her stand. "Could you grab those bags?" Hermione inclined her head toward their shopping bags and Luna complied, grabbing them quickly before going to open the door for the two women.

"Let's get her to St Mungo's."

A few hours later St Mungo's had, for the umpteenth time, a very crowded waiting room. Everyone had been notified of Ginny's early labour and rushed to St Mungo's. Bill and Fleur along with Victoire, Dominique and Louis, Charlie, George and Angelina with Fred and Roxanne, Ron, Hermione, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley who had brought James, Albus and Teddy, Luna and Neville with their two sons, Lorcan and Lysander, Percy and Audrey with Lucy and Molly and Teddy's grandmother, Andromeda. The only person missing was Harry. The Minister of Magic had been notified of his wife's current state and dropped everything, but not even the Minister of Magic could beat the traffic in London on a Friday afternoon.

All of them were sitting in the waiting room, waiting anxiously for Harry's arrival or for word from Ginny. Hermione couldn't help but remembering the arrival of all the Weasley/Potter children for she had been present for each of them. She knew the waiting room of St Mungo's better than she knew her own apartment. She and Ron were waiting by the door for Harry, their hands clasped together. Ron had taken the first Portkey back from Bulgaria, where he was currently on an Auror mission. They did not see each other often as Hermione spent most of her time at Hogwarts and Ron was abroad a lot. They didn't talk much anymore either.

The doors to the waiting room burst open and Harry came running in, his black hair sticking out in every direction and his glasses half falling of his nose.

"Thank Merlin I'm not too late!" He nodded at the rest of the family before heading over to Hermione and Ron. They quickly embraced their friend before all of them went into the Delivery Hall to welcome the new Potter to the family.

"Her name is Lily Luna Potter," Harry proudly announced as each of the family members came in to Ginny's room to see the new baby. It was a girl, just like they had hoped. She was apparently very obedient, since she didn't waste any time coming into the new world. Hermione smiled at her friends, but she couldn't help being a little envious. She wanted children of her own, but right now it simply wasn't possible and it would never be.

"Hermione?" Ginny asked when everyone had gone home and all that remained was Harry, Hermione and Ginny. Ron had to hurry back to Bulgaria. Hermione was cradling little Lily in her arms, the girl had her mother's eyes and she could tell that Lily would be just like her mother and grandmother.

"Yes?" She handed the little bundle back to Ginny, who was beaming with happiness.

"Would you mind if we asked Luna to be the godmother instead? It would mean a lot to her and to us."

"Of course not, I'm sure Luna would be honoured." Hermione smiled at her best friend, she didn't mind at all. Luna was a good friend and she was so proud of Harry for naming his only daughter after her as a symbol of their friendship. Hermione yawned before looking at her wristwatch, it was already one am. Where had the day gone?

"Go home," Ginny said seeing Hermione yawn. "You can come and visit Lily and me tomorrow." Hermione nodded and Harry got out of his chair, walking her to the doors of the hospital.

"Is everything alright Harry?" Hermione inquired. She noticed that he was a little absent from the night's proceedings. He nodded, pulling her in for a hug.

"Yes, I'm the Minister of Magic, I'm supposed to be stressed all the time," he said chuckling, but Hermione wasn't convinced. She wondered if she should push him on the matter, but then decided that he would tell her if it was serious. Hermione and Harry said goodbye and she was just about to apparate back to her apartment when she remembered that she came here in her car. Sometimes that was irritating, apparating was easier than driving but in some cases driving was the best option. She fished her keys out of her purse before heading toward the parking lot. It was almost deserted, which was not surprising for this time of night. The wind started to howl through the streets and she rushed to her car. She was just inside before the rain came down hard and heavy.

She debated leaving the car here and just getting it tomorrow but decided against it. She started the car and was just about to pull out of the parking lot when she spotted a figure bundled up in black at the far side of the parking lot. The figure appeared to be trying to shield itself against the rain. No one should be out here in this weather, Hermione thought before casting a water repellent charm on her hair and clothes. She got out of the car, rushing over to the figure.

"Excuse me, sir? You can't be out here you'll freeze to death and it's not healthy."

The man raised his head to look at her and Hermione's jaw almost hit the pavement.


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