A/N: Welcome back for Round Two! Thanks again to Jadis LeStrange, One-N-Jen and Thrennish for all their help in the creation of this text, and a big thanks to you for reading.
Since I am not sitting on a beach with my every whim being catered to at the moment, I don't think I own Harry, or anything in his world. If you know something I don't, however, please e-mail me immediately.
". . . and that was Andromache Syren, singing “You Charmed Me”! Now, a look at the weather. You couldn't have asked for a better August! Sunny and warm today, with a slight chance of showers this evening, but not to worry, it should be clear skies all day Tuesday for the Holyhead Harpies versus Wimbourne Wasps match. . . "
Molly hummed along absently with the wireless as she sifted the dry ingredients for some cinnamon biscuits into a mixing bowl. The boys were still outside, challenging each other on how far they could fling gnomes out of the garden.
Bill, being the tallest and strongest, was the best at long distance tosses, but Charlie was excellent at catching them before they could dive into their underground sanctuaries. Even the younger boys were helping with the fracas. Percy was pointing out which gnome holes hadn't been searched yet, while Fred and George raised enough ruckus to bring out the dead, let alone entice a few gnomes into coming above ground. Ron just pointed and laughed at the whole situation, toddling around the garden after the gnomes Charlie missed.
Molly watched out the kitchen window for a few moments, patting her extended stomach with her free hand and smiling to herself. "Just three more weeks before you can come out to play now," she said softly to the tiny life growing within her. "I wonder if you'll enjoy playing with your brothers? Will you like to play in the mud with Fred and George? Will you run after the strange animals Charlie keeps bringing home? Or will you be too feminine to play with your brothers. . . a little china doll to pet and dress up?"
"Who on earth are you talking to?"
Molly wheeled from her reverie, covering her husband's trousers with flour in the process. "Oh, Arthur, I am so sorry! Merlin's Beard, you should know by now not to sneak up on me like that! Here, let me clean you up. . . scourgify."
Arthur leaned into his wife and brushed a bit of flour off of her own nose before planting a tender kiss on her lips. "I'm sorry, dear. I didn't mean to startle you. Who were you speaking to when I walked in?"
"I was talking to myself a bit. Dinner should be ready in a few moments. Do you want to call one of the boys to come and set the table?"
Arthur looked out at his sons. "No, they look like they're having a ball. Let them play for a few more moments. Maybe they'll all wear themselves out and go to bed early!"
"When, in the last thirteen years, has that ever happened?"
"Well, a man can dream, can't he?" He sidled up behind Molly and placed his arms around her, eyebrows waggling suggestively.
"Oh, stop," she scolded lightly, batting him with a towel. "If you don't want to interrupt the boys, you can set the table yourself. Dinner should be ready any minute now."
She giggled at her husband as he sighed audibly before heading off to do her bidding. She turned back to the scattered biscuit mix and began cleaning up. "How are things in the office? Did you figure out what happened with the toaster?"
"The one that kept spitting flaming toast at everyone? No, I didn't get to do much work with it today. We had another cursed tea set come in and a few boxes of suspect jewelry. Oh, and a very odd pair of socks that never let the wearer sit down. Mad Eye has definitely kept me busy lately. I never knew there were so many cursed items in existence!"
"Mmm. . . I suspect you'll be seeing it for quite a while now, Arthur. I am assuming all these items belong to. . .people. . . who are in Azkaban now?"
"Yes. They certainly had an interesting array of items bent on Muggle torture. Sad, really, the lack of understanding between us." Arthur looked almost pensive for a moment, before turning his smile onto her again. "Let's talk about something else for now. How's the wee one doing?"
"Hungry." Molly answered with a grin. "I've been snacking on lemons all day."
"So I see! I'll have to pick you up some more tomorrow before I come home. Oh, I thought of some more names this afternoon."
"Yes, I did. Personally, I like Maximilian, but I know you miss your great uncle, so I thought you might want to name him Clancy, after him. Daedalus wouldn't be a bad name, but then Diggle would probably think I was naming the boy after him, and then I'd never hear the end of it. Hmmm. . . . maybe Jason? I don't know. What do you think, Molly?"
She looked at him shrewdly for a few moments before answering. "What if we have a girl?"
Arthur laughed aloud at her. "Molly, I've told you a hundred times. We won't have a girl. We can't have a girl."
"And why, pray tell, can we not have a girl?"
"Good genetics," he replied with a shrug. "Weasley men don't have daughters. Haven't had one in nine generations. . . we have sons." He failed to notice the narrowing eyes that were glaring daggers at him.
"Do you think a daughter would be somehow less important than a son?" she asked him quietly. He was still grinning like a maniac, completely unaware of the anger seething through her veins.
"Now, don't be silly Molly. I like girls fine. I married you, didn't I?" he teased her lightly. "I just think it's silly to consider having a daughter when I know for a fact we won't."
Molly couldn't believe the smug certainty on the face of the man before her. "Silly? Silly?!" She could feel the child inside her kicking in righteous indignation as well. "You think my intuition is silly?!?"
The smile suddenly ran away from Arthur's face as he viewed the angry behemoth that stood where his sweet and loving wife had been a moment before. "Now Molly, no! I never said that. . . "
"Yes, you did, you just called me silly!"
"I did no such thing!"
"Yes, and you implied I was stupid for even thinking our child could be a girl!"
"Well, Mum, he has a point you know. Odds are definitely against you on this one. Hasn't been a Weasley-ette in the family for about a hundred and eighty-seven years," Bill chimed in. Molly wheeled around to see all six of her boys crammed into the doorway, staring at the bickering couple. It was all too much for her.
To the sheer horror of every male in the vicinity, she did the last thing any of them were expecting. She dissolved into tears.
"Molly, what on earth. . . "
"Daddy, why is Mummy crying?"
“Dad, it looks like Ron is going to. . . “
“Never mind, too late.”
Molly sank to the floor in a heap, pulling a screaming Ron onto the last vestiges of her lap in the process. "Arthur, I'm sorry I yelled, but I really do think we're going to have a girl, and I don't know what to do with a girl, and I'm so scared. . ."
Arthur looked from his distraught wife to his alarmed children with an amalgamation of sympathy and terror. No matter how many times over he was a father, the emotions of a pregnant woman would always be a challenge. Molly continued to cradle Ron on the floor while Percy looked ready to burst into tears any minute as well.
"Boys. . . I think we could all use a bit of fresh air this evening. Percy, grab some silverware for everyone and take it out under the willow tree. Fred, George, please take a few old blankets from the cupboard and spread them out. Bill, Charlie, you'll be in charge of bringing out the food and plates."
"What are you gonna do, Daddy?" Fred asked impishly.
Bill looked at both of his parents and started herding the younger boys out of the room. "Shut up, Alfred. C'mon, lets go."
With a loud snuffle, Molly raised her head enough to see Charlie reach down to collect Ron from her and then lead the rest of the boys out of the kitchen. Arthur knelt down beside her and stroked her hair.
"Is that what this is about, Molly? You're scared?"
Molly looked up at him with a watery sigh. "Partly. Arthur, I know I am going to have a girl. I am almost certain of it. . . but I've never had a girl before, and I don't know how to handle one. I know that sounds ludicrous, but every child I have ever tended has been male. How will I know what to do?"
Arthur took her head in both of his hands and kissed her forehead gently. "Molly, you're a wonderful mother. I think you could give birth to a jarvey and know exactly what to do. I just don't think you have anything to worry about. . . Darling, you know we're going to have a son. That's just the way it's always been. Now come and eat something. I'm sure you and the little one will feel better after you do."
She glanced up at him, wiped her eyes on her apron and nodded her assent before he helped her ungainly form off the floor. "I'm sorry I went to pieces, Arthur. Really, I am. I just think you should be prepared. . . just in case. There might be some changes to the Weasley family tr. . . " she couldn't finish the sentence through the shock of pain that wracked her body.
"Molly? Molly! What's wrong?!"
She looked down upon her soaking dress and almost doubled over as another contraction drove through her body.
"Arthur," she gasped out. "Call the Mediwitch. . . I think I'm going into labor!"