Warning/s: Explicit sexual situations; character death
Disclaimer: All characters, settings and other elements from the Harry Potter franchise belong to J. K. Rowling.
When she told Poppy the next day that they had decided to have the baby, the younger witch threw her arms around Minerva, squealing, “Congratulations! I’m so happy for you!”
“Thank you, Poppy,” said Minerva, beaming at her friend. They were sitting in Minerva’s quarters enjoying tea.
“You’ll need to decide where you want to have this baby,” said Poppy, suddenly all business.
“I thought here … unless you think there’s some reason not to,” Minerva said, her brows knitting slightly.
“No, it should be fine. You’re healthy enough; I just wasn’t sure if you’d want me to attend you,” said the mediwitch.
“Of course I want you, who else would I have?”
“Well, it’s been a few years since I’ve delivered a baby,” admitted Poppy. “But I’m fully qualified, and I can do a bit of an obstetrics refresher with Jean-Baptiste before your time comes,” she added.
Poppy had been dating a French Healer she had met during a spell-damage conference on the Continent the past winter. The two had found they shared an interest in wizard chess and unconventional anti-jinx spells, among other pursuits. He was doing a research fellowship at St Mungo’s and had been visiting her on weekends for several months.
“Thank you, Poppy,” Minerva said for the second time. “I think I’d feel better with you than with anyone else, especially a stranger.”
“You say that now,” said Poppy. “Wait until I start riding you about getting too fat!” she joked.
Minerva laughed; Poppy was always after her about eating too little.
“How did the chess game turn out?” Poppy asked, cocking her head at the chessboard that still sat on the side table.
“Oh, um … we never got to it,” said Minerva, smiling to herself.
“You lucky girl,” said Poppy.
When she complained to Albus that she was getting behind with her latest journal article, he gave her a sympathetic smile and said, “I imagine this is just the first sacrifice of many you’re going to have to make for your child.”
She threw him a dirty look. “Yes, well, I don’t see you making any sacrifices as yet,” she said.
“Ah, my love, I am mourning the loss of your sunny demeanour and your firm backside,” he said, giving the latter an affectionate swat.
“Albus Dumbledore, there is nothing wrong with my backside!” she exclaimed, craning her neck around to see if she had missed anything in the daily assessment of her figure that had become habit since she had found out about her pregnancy.
“Not yet, there isn’t, but Esmeralda assures me that it will soon fall like Icarus before the sun,” he teased, knowing that the merest mention of the Divination professor would make his wife cluck like an angry hen.
“If you have any intention of getting into my knickers tonight, you will leave off this line of conversation post-haste,” Minerva warned, smiling in spite of herself.
“Actually, my intention was to get you into a warm bath, and then we’ll see about your knickers,” he said.
“A bath?” she asked, surprised.
“Yes,” he said, coming up behind her and massaging her shoulders with strong hands. “I thought a long soak with a glass of wine and a good book might do you a world of good.”
It suddenly sounded very appealing. “That sounds lovely. But I’m not sure I could stomach the wine at the moment.”
“Ginger-root tea, then. Poppy tells me it’s good for the queasy tummy,” he said.
She was touched at the thought of him consulting Poppy about her morning—or rather, all-day—sickness.
“Come, let’s get you squared away, then I’ll get the tea,” he said, taking her by the hand and leading her to the bathroom. He started the taps and opened the cabinet above the sink. He selected a phial containing some of the lavender bath salts one or the other of the staff had given her last Christmas but that she had never used, and added it to the bath. As she started to unbutton her blouse, he put up a hand to stop her.
“I’ll take care of that,” he said, and proceeded to undress her while she watched him, a bemused look on her face. When the tub was full, he took her hand and helped her step into it. She settled down into the water, and he said, “I’ll be right back with the tea.”
“Mmm,” she sighed in answer, closing her eyes.
He returned a few minutes later, steaming cup in hand, and put it on the side of the tub, then he undressed and slid into the tub behind her. She leant back against him and closed her eyes again. After a moment, she felt warm water cascading down her head and neck.
“What are you doing?” she asked, opening her eyes to see a pitcher of water floating in the air next to them.
“Washing your hair, my love.”
“Oh, Albus, that feels divine,” she purred as he gently massaged shampoo into her scalp. When he was finished, the pitcher magically filled with more warm water as he rinsed the soap from her hair. He then took a soft flannel and began to soap her body, starting with her neck, working his way slowly down to her feet, being very careful not to put any pressure on her tender breasts. He rinsed her with more warm water from the enchanted pitcher, then Banished it. He kissed the top of her wet head and moved his hands gently over her belly, rubbing in slow circles. Moving his hands lower, he slipped two fingers between the folds of her sex, rubbing her clitoris gently, then harder, in the way he knew she liked. She began to moan and pushed her hips up to meet his hands, signalling her approval of his methods. He kissed her ear then her neck for a few minutes, moving from one side to the other as he stroked her to climax.
When she was able to think clearly again, she lifted her hand up and behind her to his cheek and stroked his beard for a moment. “Thank you, my darling. That was lovely.” Feeling his erection straining against her back, she stirred to get up, saying, “Now, what can I do for you?”
He put a hand on her shoulder to still her and said, “Nothing at all, my angel. You’ve already done everything.”
“But Albus—” she began.
“Shh,” he said, moving her forwards so he could climb out of the bath. “I’ll be right back. Don’t even think of moving.” He charmed himself dry and took his bathrobe from the hook then stepped out of the room. When he returned a moment later, he was holding a slim volume in his hands. He conjured a padded stool and sat.
He began to read in his sonorous bass:
Proserpine may pull her flowers,
Wet with dew or wet with tears,
Red with anger, pale with fears;
Is it any fault of ours,
If Pluto be an amorous king
And come home nightly, laden
Under his broad bat-wing
With a gentle earthly maiden?
Is it so, Wind, is it so?
All that I and you do know
Is that we saw fly and fix
‘Mongst the flowers and reeds of Styx
Where the Furies made their hay
For a bed of tiger cubs,
A great fly of Beelzebub’s,
The bee of hearts, which mortals name
Cupid, Love, and Fie for shame.
He read to her for the next hour, charming the bath water to stay hot, as she sipped her tea. When he was finished, he closed the book and Banished it. He helped her out of the bathtub, and rather than charming her dry, wrapped her in a large bath towel, gently drying her. Then he lifted her in his arms and carried her into her bedroom, laying her gently on the bed, which had already been turned down. He slipped off his dressing gown and got into bed next to her, pulling the bedclothes up to cover them.
She thought he would make love to her then, but he just put his arms around her and held her, gently stroking her neck and back, until she fell into a deep sleep.
When she woke several hours later, it was dark, and he was gone. She was tempted to believe it had all been a lovely dream brought on by sheer exhaustion until she saw the slim volume of poetry from which he had read to her sitting on her bedside table. She turned over and slept until morning.
← Back to Chapter 1 On to Chapter 3→