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Chapter 17: It\'s All About Time
After what seemed only a couple of days, Hermione found herself devouring her breakfast with barely three days left before Halloween.
From her point of view she had spent those days doing only three things; eating, sleeping and learning, in that order. As she found out a few days ago, according to Madame Pomfrey, she should consider herself to be quite fortunate not to suffer morning sickness at all. However, it seemed that whoever was growing inside of her now decided to multiply his efforts in other areas. As a result, the young witch found herself permanently exhausted, hiding yawns behind her hand for the most part of the day.
She was in the process of doing just that when Ginny jumped into the seat next to hers.
“Good morning, Sunshine!” she exclaimed.
“It depends for whom. While you manage to rest with barely four hours of sleep and look like a blooming dandelion, SOME of us get eight hours of sleep and end up feeling like they’ve been planting blasted Mandrakes all night,” murmured Hermione, stifling yet another yawn.
Ginny shot her a sympathetic glance.
“You are exhausted, aren\'t you?”
Brown eyes with dark circles beneath them scrutinised the redhead witch.
“What do you think?”
Catching the hint, Ginny quickly busied herself with her own food. As it was Saturday, only a handful of students were seated at their tables for most of the school body had finished eating some while ago, including Harry and Ron.
As if catching the trail of her thoughts, Ginny addressed Hermione without looking up from her bacon:
“As I haven\'t seen any greenness in either Ron\'s or Harry\'s face, am I right to presume that you haven\'t told the boys about your situation yet?”
Silently thankful for her friend\'s careful choice of words, Hermione still looked nervously around. This was something that she did not wish to reveal right now.
“No, I haven\'t.”
This time Ginny did look up with clear annoyance in her light brown eyes.
“And why not?”
“I can\'t just come up to them with ‘Hey, guys, how was your day? Ah, and by the way, I got knocked up!’”
The younger witch seemed on the verge of rolling her eyes at Hermione\'s reasoning.
“Herm, it’s not my business how you tell them but you have to understand that sooner or later they will find out about it. And I do not think they will take it nicely when they realise that the person they have regarded a best friend for over six years did not tell them about her pregnancy.”
This was not the first time the two of them had this conversation and Ginny always ended up with a logical statement that Hermione did not know how to argue with. This time, however, she felt her defenses crumbling down under the reasoning look of the girl beside her.
“Fine,” she snapped. “What do you suggest?”
Ginny was unable to suppress a slight smile but nevertheless managed to shrug her shoulders.
“Your decision. However, I suggest that you tell them no later than this evening.”
This time Ginny did not even try to mask her smile.
“This way it gives them a full day to recover in Infirmary before school on Monday.”
Feeling that a retort was not needed, Hermione glanced moodily into her porridge, feeling like bloody Trelawney with her blasted crystal ball. Needless to say, her breakfast did not reveal to her how to approach the subject, not to mention the consequences that confession will bring.
Hermione and Ginny ambushed the boys in the Gryffindor Room. The two wizards were just coming back from a late Quidditch practice and were rather a sight with their clothes caked in mud and similar brown smudges across their faces.
“Honey, could you come over, please?” Ginny cried heartily, waving her arm over to Harry.
He and Ron shared a long look between the two of them before finally coming over rather hesitantly. As they approached, it was Hermione’s turn to stand up from the sofa where she had been nervously biting her fingernails since dinner. During the whole day she couldn’t concentrate enough to write even one foot of parchment for homework, instead thinking of what was to happen in the evening. And when her brain wasn’t playing horrible scenes, she was taking occasional naps. Damn that flaming tiredness.
“What’s up?” asked Ron casually. His look, however, was suspicious.
“Do you think the two of you could come up to my dormitory? I want to get an opinion from both of you and Hermione on something that I thought to give Mother for her birthday.”
At that, another look passed between Harry and Ron. Hermione was starting to get annoyed by it but instead forced herself to give a somewhat stony smile. The most important thing now was to lead them away from the public eye, preferably in a calm state. There was time for everything else later.
“Marvelous idea, Ginny,” she said and headed towards the girls dorm rooms without waiting for the others.
Once everybody was assembled and the door closed behind Ginny, Hermione took a place as far as possible from her best friends who positioned themselves upon Ginny’s bed. The redheaded witch grimaced at the sight of mud soaking her blankets. Fortunately, she remained silent.
A somewhat awkward silence settled thickly in the room as Harry and Ron regarded Hermione and Ginny with guarded expressions.
About three minutes later, Harry cleared his throat.
“Well...what do the two of you want?” he said but almost immediately grimaced at the fierce look in Ginny\'s eyes. “I mean, what do you wish to tell us?”
The redhead pointed towards Hermione.
“I believe that your best friend has some very happy news to share with the two of you!” she exclaimed.
At this, both boys\' faces suddenly broke into grins.
“You don’t need to live with Snape anymore?” demanded Ron.
“Is he going to be whisked off to Azkaban at last?” This from Harry.
“Or perhaps you are finally getting divorced! Congratulations!”
With every spoken word, Hermione\'s annoyance returned full force. Instead of shrinking into her seat with every wronged exclamation, she straightened herself out in her chair until Ginny\'s eyes worriedly followed her every move. Whether the youngest Weasley had doubts about her safety or the guys\', Hermione did not know.
“Let’s see,” loudly murmured Hermione. “Wrong, I live in the same apartment as him. No, he is rather comfortable at the moment where he is now. No, we’re not divorcing. And, thanks!”
Hermione observed with a look that was something akin to sadism as Harry and Ron tried to process what has just taken place.
“Eh, Ok. So Snape\'s judgment day has not come yet,” at last summarised Ron.
“So what are the congratulations for?” enquired the frowning Harry.
This time, Hermione\'s smile was pure sarcasm as she fondly patted her sweater covered stomach.
“For Professor Snape\'s baby, of course!”
Sunday dinner found the Great Hall bustling with excitement as the students mooned over the Halloween Ball that was to be happening the following day. The enchanted ceiling almost seemed to be reflecting the laughter of the numerous voices. The only voices that did not ring out like the rest were of two girls- young women sitting in the middle of Gryffindor Table.
An uncomfortable silence stood between Hermione and Ginny as the two of them picked at their food with forks not looking at each other. Most of dinner had passed in complete muteness but when it finally came to the desert, Ginny looked up.
“I know why I’m so upset, what are you pouting about? Isn\'t this what you wanted?” she asked.
“Firstly, I am not pouting. Secondly, this is not what I wanted. My only goal was to give them a taste of the same shock I had when I was first told about it,” Hermione replied calmly.
Ginny set her goblet down with a bang.
“Well, mission accomplished! Your success has sent my brother into unconsciousness and my boyfriend into Infirmary with a splitting headache!”
“But this is what you wanted me to do, Ginny! Reveal the truth to them without you caring about how I do it!”
“There are limits!” hissed the redheaded witch.
“The only thing it shows is that both Harry and Ron have to work hard to control their nerves. With everything going on nowadays with Voldemort, it’s surprising that they don\'t have a heart attack every time they see the colour black!” exclaimed Hermione.
Thankfully, all the chattering around them was too loud for either the forbidden name or for the topic of their conversation to seep through. Nevertheless, her comment produced a very disapproving glance from Ginny.
“This is not something you should joke about.”
“I know. I am sorry. It is just - everything seemed to just fall on me in one big mass and I have no idea how to solve this tangled mess,” muttered Hermione.
Ginny gave a tired sigh.
“Did you tell him yet?”
Hermione did not need to be told who they were talking about.
“No, not yet. Somehow I have a feeling that this conversation with him is going to be much more problematic than it was with Harry and Ron.”
The youngest Weasley snorted.
“Of course, \'Mione. Do you expect Professor Snape to fall in a dead faint like Ron? I rather think that he will express his opinion on this subject in more words - or sounds - than my darling brother,” she said.
“That\'s so horrible of you, Ginevra Weasley! You should be encouraging me instead of patronising me!” she cried and pinched Ginny’s arm in mock horror.
The tension that had been present between the two witches for the past two days disappeared in a matter of seconds as they laughed at something they and no one else in the Great Hall understood.
The rest of the meal passed almost eventless with the only exception being an argument that quickly developed as the subject of the Halloween Ball came up between them.
“And why not, may I ask?” exclaimed a scandalised looking Ginny.
“Because I don’t feel that well and I just don’t want to go in general,” replied Hermione in the vain hope that her friend would drop the subject without further interrogation.
No such luck.
“Bullshit! I saw your dress at the beginning of term when I came over to say hello to you the first day back. So don’t even think of ferreting around it!”
“I am neither Draco Malfoy nor a ferret to do such a thing,” muttered the older witch.
That earned another attempted swat aimed at Ginny’s shoulder but the redhead managed to lead the silliness back into the subject that concerned her.
“Stop being such a prude and come, Hermione. See it this way; this is practically your last chance to fit into a dress for the next couple of months!”
Hermione gave her a dirty look that Ginny promptly ignored and continued to preach with the same vigour:
“Have fun, Hermione, for the sake of your friends, at least.”
Much later in the evening when Hermione was getting ready to leave the Gryffindor Common Room, Ginny stopped her with a hand upon her shoulder.
“Hermione, promise me that you will tell him about the child. He has the right to know before everything ends up going public,” she whispered.
The older witch\'s lips visibly thinned at yet another reminder to do the thing she dreaded most, but nevertheless, slowly nodded her head in agreement.
“When?” sternly persisted Ginny.
“Tomorrow, at the Halloween Ball.”
The redhead witch took a last long look into the eyes of her friend before at last letting go of her arm.
“You better. You don’t have all eternity, \'Mione. The time is getting short.”
Sweet Surrender by witch