rosevalleynb (rosevalleynb) wrote,

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FIC: Found Our Meaning In This Life (OC, baby!Katie Bell) T

Found Our Meaning In This Life (2377 words) by rosevalleynb
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Katie Bell's Father, Katie Bell's Mother, baby!Katie
Additional Tags: First War with Voldemort, mentions of stillbirth, mentions of miscarriages, Character Death, Angst, Hopeful Ending
Series: Part 2 of Through Their Eyes
Prompt: table: 8, prompt #40 Left Behind

“She was talking before your lot took her away,” Gary interjected as dread began forming in the pit of his stomach. “She told me off for overthinking, you know. Wagging her finger at me, like only she can. Your mediwitch- Your nurses said she’d be all right. They promised to take good care of her. Have they? Is she okay?”

Gary and Charlotte Bell would finally have that family they had envisioned because they’d gone through all the misery imaginable already. There wasn’t anything left to throw at them, was there?

The Gods, however, had a different idea about that.

Relatively safe and far, far away from her parents on a small island off the Welsh coast, Amelia Flint celebrated her eighteenth birthday. Instead of it being a happy occasion, though, she spent most of the day worrying about her feverish son, and when he wasn’t demanding her attention, the wounded Order members she helped to take care of did. And as she kept herself busy to the point of exhaustion to keep her mind from wandering to the life she’d left behind, the war raged on in Britain.

Good against evil, light against dark. The perception of evil and dark heavily depended on the side one aligned themselves with because, in the end, both sides were prepared to defend their beliefs by any means necessary. Up until a cold December day, shortly after one Amelia Flint’s eighteenth birthday, in fact, Gary Bell and his Muggleborn wife, Charlotte, had managed to stay out of the line of fire. Sheer luck, until they ran out.

Although most would say the that the misfortune that befell the young couple on that particular December day had nothing to do with Voldemort and his Death Eaters, Gary Bell had a different view. Because, no matter which way you turned it, he and his wife wouldn’t have felt the need to leave their charmed lives behind to hide amongst Muggles in Manchester. If it hadn’t been for the war, they wouldn’t have had to manoeuvre their way through the busy shopping streets. If it hadn’t been for the war, fate wouldn’t have taken Gary’s most precious possession at the same time it gave one back.

In the end, it all came down to this; if it hadn’t been for the war, they would have done their Christmas shopping in Diagon Alley and Charlotte wouldn’t have been hit by an automobile driven by a somewhat tipsy granny who had the gall to scold Charlotte for scratching the paint.

Before the war, their lives had been delightfully predictable. Finished with school, Gary had gone to work at the Ministry as a maintenance apprentice and Charlotte had hopped from odd job to odd job to figure out what she wanted in life. Ultimately, she'd settled for a job as a seamstress at Madam Malkin’s, joking that her mother’s insistence of teaching her needlework during the holidays from Hogwarts had paid off. Under the pressure of their respective parents who didn't understand the modern times, they got married exactly two years after finishing school.

Still, life was good.

Then the shift happened, almost out of nowhere because neither Gary or Charlotte had taken the wafting rumours seriously. They had truly thought that no one would be so ignorant enough to believe that Muggleborns stole magic, that they’d mud running through their veins instead of blood like the average witch or wizard had.

Unfortunately, ignorance prevailed. Suddenly, Death Eaters were a real threat instead of a ridiculous name for a group of wizards who deserved to be mocked for their idiocy. From one day to the other almost, it mattered that Charlotte’s parents were Muggles. She was accused of stealing the magic of a Squib born on the same day as her, and no one laughed at the stupidity of such a claim. Gary was asked more time than he cared to recount why he’d married Mudblood, by strangers and by people he’d once considered friends.

It wasn’t a big surprise when Charlotte lost her job at Madam Malkin’s. Having a Muggleborn run around in the shop in the current climate was bad for business, even Charlotte could see that. So, making the best of her situation, she had focussed all her time and energy on making their small flat a home and sewing clothes for their few remaining friends and families for a bit of pocket money. And then the baby-fever, as Gary had jokingly called it, had hit her. If only it had been a joke.

They had fought and argued for weeks, him telling that wartime was the worst time to think about procreating and her claiming that it was never a right time for it. He’d tried to make her understand that he was worried for her as it was, the stress of adding a baby to the mix would surely kill him if getting caught up on the wrong end of a battle between Death Eaters and the Order didn’t. In answer, she had rebuffed that at least she’d have something to remember him by. In the end, she had just stopped taking her contraceptive potions and countered his charms and didn’t tell him until she was five weeks along.

By the time he got his head wrapped around the unwanted family expansion by week seven, there wasn’t a baby to speak of any longer. The pain and disappointment of losing something he hadn’t wanted in the first place had caught him off guard. Furthermore, seeing the love of his life hurt and lost beyond measure had gutted him to the core. When Charlotte approached him three months later to try again, he had agreed without a fight. They had moved to her Muggle parents’ house in Manchester to sit out the war and raise their baby that was sure to be born in the next year or so.

It wasn’t meant to be, though. Numerous miscarriages had followed, each more painful than the other. And then, two years ago, one had stuck long enough for them to get their hopes up, only to end in a stillbirth. The loss of their son, the perfect looking boy with his golden hair and Charlotte’s button nose, had nearly driven them apart. Whilst the Daily Prophet had run article upon article filled with gossip about that wanton Flint girl who had run away with her bastard child, their baby’s three-line obituary got lost in the newspaper's mailroom.

Nevertheless, despite their unbearable heartache, Charlotte had refused to give up. She had refused to give herself and Gary time to heal from the loss, mentally and physically. They were going to having a family one day, whether he wanted to or not. So, when she told him almost six months ago that she was late for the fourth month in a row now, he hadn’t been as happy as her. While she’d been musing about names and nurseries, he had seen the lifeless body of their son.

Three months turned into four, then five and six while Charlotte grew rounder and happier. Against expectation, Gary had gradually dared to hope again. The baby, a girl as the Muggle midwife had told them, kept her steady, strong heartbeat, moving and kicking up a storm inside her mother until she ran out of room to do so. With a due date on Christmas Day, it was the best present he could’ve hoped and asked for. He and Charlotte would finally have that family they had envisioned because they’d gone through all the misery imaginable already. There wasn’t anything left to throw at them, was there?

The Gods, however, had a different idea about that.

“No, love, we have to wait. The red man says so.” Gary tried to pull Charlotte back on the pavement as he pointed at the traffic light, annoyed that she ignored the Muggle rules she’d spent ages teaching him.

She just laughed and counterweighed his efforts, her belly protruding out her winter coat she couldn’t close anymore. Or perhaps she could but didn’t care to use her wand to help her out, enjoying her belly too much. “Just look left and right, everyone else is doin’ it.”

“We’re not everyone,” he snapped, not understanding why she’d take such a chance to begin with.

“C’mon, we only have a half an hour left before the shops-”

Gary didn’t think he’d ever forget the sound of shrieking brakes, rubber on wet asphalt and sickening thud that had followed. One minute, he had been holding Charlotte’s hand and the next she was flying through the air just like the many times she’d fallen off her broom during Quidditch matches. He would never forget how suddenly the world had gone mute around him and how everything seemed to move in slow-motion. He would never forget the warmth of her blood seeping through his clothes as he held her, screaming and begging for help.

“The ba-baby, they need to save the baby. Tell-tell them.”

“Just save my Charlie,” he muttered as he softly banged his head against the window. A prayer to his in-laws’ Muggle God he didn’t quite believe in popped up out of nowhere. He’d happily sacrifice himself if the deity wanted him to, as long as it’d save his wife.

“What’s taking them so long?” he said with a sigh as he ran his bloodied hand through his hair in frustration. They had been here for hours already. Surely, they’d have fixed her by now, wouldn’t they? How he wished that he could have taken her to St. Mungo’s than this grimy looking Muggle hospital.

Behind him, his mother-in-law was softly crying as his mother tried to console her while swallowing her own tears. His father-in-law was still pacing up and down, muttering under his breath. Gary wished that he had the strength to comfort them, tell them that Charlotte would be fine. But he didn’t, and the small bit strength he had, he wanted to save for Charlotte. For when he'd have d to tell her that they had lost their little girl. Because that was the only acceptable worst-case outcome he was prepared to accept.

How much longer were they going to make them wait?

“Mister Bell?” A young-looking doctor stood in the door opening, anxiously wringing her hands as four people turned to her in hope.

“My wife? How is she? Can I see her?” Gary wanted to grab her shoulders and shake the answers out her when she didn’t speak up immediately.

“I’m sorry, sir, but-”

“She was talking before your lot took her away,” Gary interjected as dread began forming in the pit of his stomach. “She told me off for overthinking, you know. Wagging her finger at me, like only she can. Your mediwitch- Your nurses said she’d be all right. They promised to take good care of her. Have they? Is she okay?”

“Maybe, we can go to my office first,” the doctor said as she eyed the other three. “It’s more private.”

“No.” Gary folded his arms and jutted his chin in the air. “We’re all family here. How is my wife? How is Charlotte? When can I see her? She doesn’t like strange places. I’m sure she wants to see me too.”

The doctor nodded, chewing her bottom lip as she dropped her gaze to the clipboard in her hand. Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders as she closed the door behind her and took a seat next to the older Mrs Bell. For a fleeting second, she offered the woman an apologetic smile.

It said it all.

“Your wife had extensive wounds when she was first brought in…”

Until his last breath, Gary was sure that he would remember the grave expression on the woman’s face, he’d forever feel the pain of his breaking heart and spirit when the woman muttered her condolences. He would never forget the long walk to an isolated room somewhere in the building and how heavy his leg felt. It would take him years to forgive himself for not paying any attention to the soft cries that had filled the room upon entering. In the years to come, each time those big brown eyes looked up to with love and adoration -and as she grew up, with anger and defiance at times- he’d feel a pang of regret for pleading with the Gods to take the her and bring back his wife, his Charlie.

But in that moment, the future was still far away, and Gary’s pain had yet to manifest itself in its fullest form. So, when he pushed the nurse holding his child aside, all he had eyes for was his too pale wife on the bed. To him, the restless, squirming little girl didn’t exist; she had died together with her mother. It took him three long strides to reach Charlotte and see for himself that the doctor hadn’t been lying. As he clambered next to his wife and took her lifeless body in his arms, his repeated whispers of denial at what he was seeing, turned into heart-wrenching sobs at the top of his lungs. This was not how he had imagined this day to go. The day should have never ended with a tit for tat.

Only hours of crying and begging later, when his father-in-law managed to coax him into letting go of Charlotte, he remembered the nameless girl who had started her life when the one he had once known ended. As she lay in the cot in the nursery between other newborns and looked up at him with still unseeing eyes, he had expected to feel nothing for her.

He wanted to blame her for taking away the most important person in his life, tell her that in a roundabout way it was her fault that he and Charlotte had to live amongst Muggles. If they hadn't chosen to have a baby, they would have still been living safely in their small flat, just him and Charlotte.

However, no matter how hard he tried hard not feel anything for her, his daughter, he couldn’t.

“Katherine,” he mumbled when the memory of just a few days ago popped up out of nowhere.

“I want to name her Katherine, Katie for short. Short and say. If she’s anything like me, it’ll suit her. What d’you think?”

“Are you like your Mum?” Gary asked softly, his hands and forehead pressed against the cold window separating them. The watery chuckle that escaped him at seeing her yawn felt foreign and inappropriate at a time like this. Still, despite his guilt, the smile didn't leave his face. How could it while a permanent reminder of Charlotte dozed off before his eyes?

“Katie it is, then. You’re gonna make your Mum proud. I know you will.”
Tags: fanfic50, hp fanfiction, oc, one-shot, rating: pg-13
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