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34Harry Potter and the Sword of Gryffindor_(0)

“I cannot do this if I’m worried that you, any of you, might get caught in the crossfire.”

“But Har—” began Ron.

“But nothing. I have to get Snape out of there and I can’t worry about you at the same time!” The tone of Harry’s voice told everyone that his decision was final.

“Fine then, we’ll wait for you outside Hagrid’s hut,” Hermione said. Like Harry, the tone of her voice told everyone this was not a point to contest.

“All right then, let’s get this over with,” Harry said. He marched up to Hermione and crushed his lips to hers. He took as much comfort and courage from that kiss as he could.

“Come back to me,” she said when the kiss ended. Her eyes were shimmering with tears, fear, and hope.

“I will,” he said, hoping that fate would not make a liar out of him.

“Good luck,” said Ron, giving Harry a pat on the back.

“I’ll see you soon, Harry,” Luna said and kissed him on the cheek.

“Is the Prison Ward up?” he asked Dobby.

“Yes, Harry Potter, sir.” Dobby, who, like Hermione, was crying openly, wailed “Please, lets Dobby stay by yours side, Harry Potter, sir. Please. Dobby cans help Harry Potter.”

“No Dobby, I need you to keep an eye on my friends,” Harry said. “Make sure they stay safe for me.”

With his lip quivering, the House-Elf replied “Yes, Harry Potter, sir. Dobby wills make sure.”

Before stepping into the loo, Harry gave Hermione one last look and a lopsided smile, hoping to show her that he was brave and confident so she wouldn’t have to worry so much. The moment the door closed and he was out of sight of his lover and friends, Harry let the facade drop. His face and shoulders fell and he leaned against the door. 

This was it: in a few moments’ time, Harry would open the entrance to the Chamber, slide down the tube, and face his destiny.

‘Stick to the plan,’ he repeated to himself. As he slowly walked to the faucet, those four words became a mantra. ‘Stick to the plan.’ The scenario played out in his head – Harry would make a Portkey, Voldemort and his minions would show up, Snape would run to Harry while Harry swung the Sword of Gryffindor at the pillar Horcrux, and then, as the roof collapsed, Harry and Snape would be whisked to safety via the Portkey. Simple and easy and difficult to muck up, the way all plans should be. ‘Stick to the Plan.’

He bent over the basin and spoke the word “open” in Parsletongue. The sink shrank away and a large hole appeared in the wall. Just before he stepped into the tube, Harry screwed up his courage.

After sliding down the tube, Harry made his way to the main chamber. He was so afraid that his hands were like ice. He began to worry if this impediment would hamper his ability to hold onto the Sword much less swing it at the column properly. 

Upon entering the main, cavernous chamber, Harry eyed the Horcrux column and gulped down the burning bile that had been creeping up his throat. ‘Stick to the plan.’

He glanced at his watch. Nine forty-three. He had at least fifteen minutes before Voldemort and his minions were scheduled to arrive. 

Taking another deep breath, Harry conjured a long branch – slightly over four feet – leaned it against the Horcrux column, tapped it with his wand and incanted “Portus.” He wanted the Portkey as close as possible – he didn’t want to have to dive for it while the roof fell on top of his head. Now, he waited. Soon, he’d face Voldemort for the last time. One way or the other, it would be over tonight. If everything went according to plan, Harry and Snape would be safe and away while the so-called Dark Lord was crushed beneath tons of falling rock.

He paced back and forth, rubbing his hands together, hoping to chase away the chill that had settled in them. His mind wandered to Hermione and his friends. Surely they had gotten out of the castle and to Hagrid’s hut by now. The very first thing he planned on doing after this was all over was to run up to Hermione, take her in his arms and lavish her with kisses. That is, if every thing went according to planned and he got out of the Chamber alive.

Taking a calming breath, Harry repeated his mantra – this time aloud. “Stick to the plan.” Despite his confidence in the plan, his hands were still cold, bile still marched up his throat and his belly had clenched up into a tight little ball.

Checking the time again, Harry’s stomach tightened even more. It was nine forty-six. Only three minutes had passed. “This is going to be the longest quarter hour of my life,” he mumbled to himself. He just hoped it wouldn’t be the last.

Harry pulled out the Sword out of his robes. The heavy weight in his hands helped calm his nerves somewhat. The plan was sound. One swing of the Sword and it would be finished.

The minutes ticked by at an agonizingly slow rate. At one point Harry had wondered if his watch had stopped working. But it was just his anxiety that made time seem to slow down.

Then, with a series of loud whooshing sounds, over a dozen people appeared in the Chamber before Harry. At the front of this group was none other than Voldemort himself, flanked by Wormtail to his right and Snape to his left. Each of the new comers had a hold of a long length of rope, obviously the Portkey that had brought them here.

“Potter, what are you doing here?” demanded Voldemort. He was by no means stupid – Harry’s presence was not a coincidence. And he was smart enough to spot a trap when he saw one.

The villain quickly reached into his robes to draw his wand. Harry looked at Snape and shouted “NOW!”

Not knowing of the new Prison Ward prohibiting any Portkey besides Harry’s from working, Snape stuck to his part of the plan. The Potions Master tapped his wand to the rope-Portkey and it flashed in flames, destroying it, before lunging forward while Harry swung the Sword with all of his might. Harry felt the blade slice through the stone of the column like a knife through butter, destroying the final Horcrux. Now that the main support column had been demolished, the whole chamber began to tremble instantly. As planned, Snape wrapped his hand around Harry’s arm as the young wizard pivoted to face the Portkey. Harry reached out…

“CONFRINGO!” a cold, high voice shouted.

One word and one phrase made up of a contraction and another word sprang up in Harry’s head. They were “Bollocks” and “I’m screwed.” The reason for this was that Voldemort had cast a Blasting Curse with the special Portkey as its target – that or he had aimed directly at either Snape or Harry and the trembling, shaking ground had thrown off his aim. Either way, the curse had turned Harry’s only means of escape into a shower of splinters. There was no time to create another Portkey – the whole castle would collapse and crush him in the time it would take to conjure a new item, enchant it into a Portkey, and then activate it. Harry and Snape were stuck.

Massive chunks of the walls and ceiling started to break free and fall. Many Death Eaters scrambled, vainly trying to find cover. One Death Eater’s scream had been cut short when one bolder crushed him, turning him into a sticky jam.

As the chamber collapsed around him, Harry took a small bit of solace in the knowledge that at least he had succeeded in ridding the world of Voldemort. 

A tugging sensation on the hem of his robes drew Harry’s attention. He looked down into the bright green, tennis ball sized eyes of Dobby. A triumphant smile stretched across Harry’s face. The Prison Ward did not affect House-Elf transportation. Dobby must’ve transported into the Chamber when Harry and Snape did not show up outside Hagrid’s hut once the castle began to fall. After taking Dobby’s hand in his, Harry glanced back at Voldemort. The fiend was reaching out to grab Wormtail’s silver hand.

The next thing Harry knew, he, Snape and Dobby were standing just outside Hagrid’s hut. There was no unpleasant squeezing as in Apparation, no mad spinning as there was in Floo travel, and there was no uncomfortable hook behind the navel and tugging as there was in Portkey travel. One moment, he was in the crumbling Chamber, and the next, he was standing in a grassy field.

“Wow, elf transport is a whole lot more enjoyable than any other magical transportation,” he said to himself.

Remembering his vow to take Hermione in his arms, Harry spun around in order to find the witch he loved. As he turned, his eyes quickly surveyed the devastation caused by the falling of the castle. Centuries of dust had been thrown up into the air due to the ancient building’s collapse; this created a dense cloud that covered the ground and reach upwards, hundreds of feet. Even though he couldn’t see a thing, Harry assumed that the Astronomy Tower would have fallen by this time, and that the walls of the castle had begun their inevitable structural failure.

Ignoring the castle and its fate, Harry continued to turn until he found the woman he loved. Tears of joy cascaded down her cheeks and he couldn’t wait to kiss them away. He had barely taken two steps when the joy in Hermione’s eyes drained in an instant, replaced by panic. Ron and Luna, who were standing on either side of the brunette witch, pointed over Harry’s shoulder with trembling hands.

Harry turned to face where his friends were pointing and his stomach fell.

There, standing with his black robes billowing in the wind, with the cloud of the collapsing castle behind him, holding Wormtail’s disembodied silver hand was Lord Voldemort.

“I always have an escape plan, Potter,” Lord Voldemort said, with hate bubbling up in his cold voice. “Did you honestly think I’d give one of my lowly followers such a precious gift without ulterior motives?” He held up the metallic limb, clearly taking pride over his cunning. “It’s an emergency-transporter of my own design – it can mimic and follow the last form of any magical travel used within a twenty foot radius – and unlike most wizards, I am powerful enough to mimic even House-Elf magic. When I created my wondrous device in this specific form to quiet that sniveling pillock, Wormtail, I knew that it might come in ‘handy’ one day.” The fiend giggled at his own poor pun.

“Now it’s time to deal with the traitor.” This was the only warning anyone got before Voldemort began firing curses. Snape grunted in pain as a massive gash was cut into him. The greasy haired wizard began to pitch forward, a fountain of blood and gore spraying from his side, just below his ribs.

Harry dove at Snape. A yellow bolt of magic rocketed by Harry, missing him by fractions of an inch, as he grabbed Snape by the shoulders.

“RUN!” shouted Harry to his friends. “GET BEHIND THE TREES!”

While dragging Snape behind him, Harry bolted to the tree line a few feet away, bobbing and weaving as best as he could in order to dodge Voldemort’s attacks. Unburdened, Harry’s friends reached the trees a few seconds before he did. Hermione and Luna jumped behind the trunk of a massive oak while Ron and Dobby took shelter behind another. Grunting, Harry jumped and landed with a thud just as a curse blew a chunk out of a tree next to him.

As Voldemort continued to fire off a rapid series of deadly hexes, he mocked; “You’ve only delayed the inevitable, Harry. After I kill you and your friends, I’ll rebuild my army and I will destroy everything you care about, boy.”

Snape coughed. Dark red blood spewed from his mouth, spattering his lips and chin. One look told Harry that his former professor did not have much time life. The older wizard let out a shuttering breath and his eyes closed.

Harry held the dying Potions Master in his arms. This was a difficult, messy task – not because of the wizard’s lifeblood flowing from his gaping wound that soiled Harry robes, rather the young wizard didn’t want Snape’s greasy hair to touch him. Harry knew that blood could come out of his clothing, but he doubted that whatever the substance in Snape's hair could ever be completely cleaned. 

As he awkwardly cradled Snape, Harry wondered what he should say to the wizard. Should he forgive the man for all of his misdeeds, for all the wrongs he had committed against Harry? 

An explosion shook the tree behind Harry. He could see Hermione and Luna a few feet away, holding onto one another in fear and support.

Suddenly, Snape’s eyes snapped opened. Looking up at the boy he had persecuted for so long, Snape muttered; “I regret joining the Death Eaters.” A shuttering, rattling breath escaped his lungs. “I regret all the harm I caused through my deeds and actions. But most of all Potter, I regret not getting the chance to-” another spasming breath, “...wank to your mother’s memory just one last time.”

As his mother’s stalker’s eye fluttered closed, Harry resisted the urge to drop the dying prick to the ground. Harry was, after all, the hero and heroes do not do such things – even to hated ponces who wanked over the memory of said hero’s mum.

Then Snape’s eyes shot open one last time. He looked deeply into Harry’s brilliant green eyes and spoke, his voice was barely above a whisper. “Potter, grant me this, my dying wish: pretend to be Lily, you have her eyes after all… and you can use my blood to dye your hair red like hers… and then… touch…m—”

Thankfully, the fates interceded and took Snape to the Next Great Adventure before he could give voice to complete his final request. Of course, Harry had wished that they had taken the arsehole a few moments before, that way the young wizard would not have been scarred by what he had been asked to do.

“I know this is wrong of me to say, but God I hated that prick,” Harry said, letting the still warm corpse slide to the ground with less dignity than a hero of his stature should have.

“Well, at least he was in so much denial that he couldn’t see that he was truly attracted to your father and not your mother, as proof of his Patronus,” Hermione said from her nearby cover, having the misfortune to have overheard Snape’s dying words. “Otherwise, his last request could have been significantly more awkward.”

Another blast from Voldemort shattered a tree trunk no more than five feet away from Harry. It was obvious that the villain was toying with his prey. 

“Yeah, that greasy bastard’s death was tragic and all, but what the bloody hell are we going to do now?” Ron demanded frantically.

“Let’s make another Portkey and escape!” offered Luna, her eyes even wider than normal.

“No, we don’t know if Voldemort could use Wormtail’s hand to follow us again,” Hermione said.

“Besides, it has to end now,” Harry said. He stood and squared his shoulders, ready to face his destiny. He took one step from behind the tree with his wand already raised and prepared to fire a curse when the ground a foot in front of his feet exploded. The concussion of the blast threw Harry back, slamming him against another tree.

With his head still spinning from the blow, he overheard Ron exclaim; “What about Harry’s power boosts? He could just lean around the tree and blast You Know Who to kingdom come.”

“Dear, you’re forgetting that You Know Who’s has gone through his own power boosting rituals. And he’s got decades worth of fighting experience over Harry!” explained Luna. “Even if Harry had more power than him, You Know Who would still have enough skill to easily block and counter anything Harry threw at him!”

Voldemort, still launching Blasting Hexes at Harry and his friends in a sadistically playful manner, called out “I don’t know how you found out about my Horcrux, but you’ve lost, Harry. You have only destroyed one of my Horcruxes! I have four more hidden where you’ll never find them!” He added bitterly, “I’d have five if Lucius wasn’t an idiot and lost my diary.”

Harry quickly gestured to his friends to remain silent. He feared that if one of them let slip that they had in fact destroyed all of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, the dark wizard, who was terrified of his own mortality, would retreat and this opportunity to end Voldemort’s reign of death and terror would be lost.

Suddenly, Harry saw something spark in Hermione’s eyes. She locked eyes with him and said, “Harry, I’m pregnant.”

The young wizard looked at the witch he loved. Her eyes were full of dread, worry, doubt and something that made Harry believe she had done something terribly, terribly wrong. He assumed that she had forgotten to recast her Anti-Conception Charm and this was the cause for this odd expression. 

“I’m pregnant, Harry,” she repeated with the same look of worry, dread and odd guilt.

“What? Do you expect some sort of congratulations from us?” Ron asked, piercingly.

“Congratulations, Hermione,” Luna said earnestly. “I hope we live through this so I can throw you a baby shower.”

The world faded away for Harry. His mind left Voldemort and the destruction around him and entered a world where Hermione was expecting. In his mind’s eye, Harry saw Hermione a few months from now, her belly large and round. He had his hands on her stomach, feeling the baby kick and move inside her womb. His mind flashed forward and he imagined holding his and Hermione’s baby a few moments after he or she was born. His mind raced, coming up with possible names for his child.

Another explosion rocked the ground and violently drew Harry out of his daydream. He looked at Hermione. He had to stop Voldemort. Harry had to do it, for his family – for his and Hermione’s unborn child.

As Harry stood, he focused on his love for Hermione and their child. A powerful golden light once again emanated from his body. Shimmering rays floated from his body and coiled and undulated like tendrils. 

“Not this again. Not the pure love thing,” moaned Ron. “It makes me feel funny! And I really don’t think now is a time to feel funny!”

“Now’s the perfect time,” Harry said, stepping out from behind the trees. With the thought of his future family warming his heart and soul, Harry drew up his wand.

“What’s this?” asked Voldemort, confused by the strange golden glow surrounding Harry.

The knowledge that his child was growing in Hermione’s womb had allowed Harry to tap fully into his love core – more so than ever before. This incredible power coursed through him, making his body burn. He could feel his feet hovering an inch above the ground as he slowly walked toward his target. 

Overcoming his confusion, Voldemort launched a lethal cutting curse directly at Harry’s throat. The silver crescent of magic soared through the air and struck the glow encapsulating Harry with a reverberating clang. The curse shattered like crystal, leaving the young wizard unscathed.

Voldemort’s red eyes burned with hatred. He raised his wand and his mouth opened, ready to spit out another incantation. Before any sound could leave his lips, one of the golden tendrils that extended from the glow surrounding Harry lashed out, slashing Voldemort across the hand. The villain cried out and recoiled. A dark burn mark smoldered where the tendril had touched his skin.

Clutching his burnt hand to his chest, Voldemort hissed “I took your blood! The cursed blood protection shouldn’t harm me anymore!”

“That’s not the blood protection, that’s the power of love,” Harry said.

Harry heard his best mate gripe, “If I wasn’t scared shiteless right now, I’d think that was the lamest thing I’ve ever heard one bloke say to another.”

Harry eyed the damage to Voldemort’s hand. The pure power that emanated from his body hurt Voldemort. It was feasible that he could actually kill Voldemort with it. He just needed to focus the power somehow. A spell, perhaps, that would concentrate the pure love Harry felt and launched it at Voldemort.

Harry smiled. He already knew a spell that concentrated pure emotions: the Patronus Charm. The Patronus was powered by pure happiness. If he could focus the love he felt into the charm, he could direct it at Voldemort. Hermione had actually theorized that he could use a Patronus as a weapon against Voldemort a few weeks previously. Of course, Ron had also theorized at the same time that Harry could defeat Voldemort with an Expelliarmus Charm, but Harry thought that Hermione’s theory had the support of logic and intelligence behind it.

With the image of him sitting on a bed next to Hermione as he held their newborn baby, Harry pointed his wand at Voldemort and shouted, “EXPECTO PATRONUM!”

His wand jerked in recoil as a giant, glimmering stag leapt from the tip of the weapon. It was larger and more brilliant than any Patronus Harry had ever conjured before. He could feel the pure love super-charge the energy in the stag. The magical animal’s hooves pounded silently on the ground as it charged, full-bore, at Voldemort. It lowered its head, pointing its sharp antlers at the fiend’s chest, and crashed into the snake-like wizard.

The moment the stag struck Voldemort, the Patronus exploded and engulfed the dark wizard in flames. Voldemort reared his head back and screamed in utter agony. The flames swallowed him – the power of love literally burned the man who knew nothing but hate. 

Through the flames, Harry saw Voldemort’s flesh blacken and large chunks fall to the earth where they burned to ash. He also saw pure hate and anger in his foe’s red-eyes. 

Knowing this may be his final act, Voldemort focused all of his rage and hate on Harry. He leveled his wand at the black-haired wizard and screamed “AVADA KEDAVRA!”

Just as the Patronus was the embodiment of pure joy, the Killing Curse was pure hate – to cast it properly, someone had to hate their target enough to kill them. And, just as Harry’s power sprang forth from his love, Voldemort’s came from hatred, giving the fiend a true knack for the Unforgivable.

The green bolt blazed through the air, rocketing at Harry. It moved so rapidly, the young wizard did not have time to react. The dreaded curse hit its target.

But, just as his mother’s pure love had shielded him from the Killing Curse when he was a toddler, the pure love that surrounded Harry right now had the same effect. Whereas Lily had sacrificed herself out of love and thereby shielded her son, Harry’s shield was powered by the thought of his family – Hermione and their child – and had the same power as Lily’s sacrifice. The green beam of magic struck the golden shield and rebounded upon its caster, just as it had over fifteen years before. The power of the rebounded Killing Curse combined with the magical fire which had engulfed him turned Voldemort into a pile of soot in an instant.

Harry stared at the smoldering pile of ashes that used to be the monster who murdered his family and hunted him his whole life. As he watched the smoke rise up into the air, Harry realized that this pile that used to be Voldemort had done far more than kill his family – he had terrorized an entire society for a generation. He had murdered, tortured and maimed countless people. And now he was gone. He wouldn’t be coming back like he had done previously. Voldemort was truly and completely dead this time, thanks to Harry’s success in finding and destroying all of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. Harry continued to stare at the ashes for a full minute, letting the awe of his victory wash over him, before shouting “I WON! I BLOODY EFFING WON!”

Hermione was the first to rush out from her protective cover. She leapt at Harry and threw her arms around his neck, sobbing in joy that he lover was alive. Ron, Luna and Dobby quickly joined the embrace with the red-head shouting “You did it! You bloody did it!” over and over.

Suddenly, every single member of the Order of the Phoenix appeared around Harry and his friends, each one holding onto various objects that had obviously been turned into Portkeys. McGonagall rushed forward and said “The moment Hogwarts fell, the House-Elves let us go and I Apparated to Grimmauld Place and activated the emergency beacon!”

“We all popped over and Minerva told us what was going on. We got here as quickly as we could,” added Tonks.

“Where are they?” demanded Mad-Eye Moody, ready – and eager – to hex someone. “Where are the Death Eaters and You Know Who?”

Hermione, Ron, Luna and Dobby looked to Harry. Each one assumed that since Harry was the hero of the hour, it was his right to tell everyone of the defeat of the most feared wizard of their time.

With a joyous smile splitting his face cleanly in two, Harry cried out “I’M GOING TO BE A DADDY!”

Hermione let go of Harry and instantly began wringing her hands. Harry was too delirious over the joy he felt to notice this small, but guilty action.

“Really? That’s fantastic!” Arthur Weasley said with naked excitement.

“Oh, what wonderful news!” added Molly Weasley, looking at Hermione questioningly.

“Yeah, yeah, congratulations,” Moody said dismissively. “Now where’s the Death Eater Scum?” The old Auror was clearly aching to hex someone.

“They’re all dead!” announced Ron.

“What about Voldemort?” asked Remus Lupin.

“Erm, you’re stepping in him, Professor Lupin,” Luna replied, pointing at the pile of soot and ash around Remus’ feet.

“It’s over?” Tonks asked. “He’s finally dead?”

“Yeah, and he’s not coming back this time!” cheered Ron.

“This calls for a celebration!” cried Kingsley Shacklebolt.

“I’m going to be a dad!” repeated Harry. This news was obviously far more important to him than Voldemort’s defeat.

“I think this calls for a double celebration!” Arthur said, bristling with pride. “For the defeat of You Know Who, and to celebrate Harry and Hermione’s joyous news!”

Harry felt a tear roll down his cheek while Hermione began to chew on her lower lip almost frantically.

“Let’s go to the Three Broomsticks and break open a case of Fire-Whiskey!” announced Remus as he gave Harry a congratulatory pat on the back. “So Harry, who’s going to be the godfather of your baby?” he asked, hoping to be the one the young wizard had in mind.

“Not gonna happen, Remus, that job’s going to his best mate, yours truly,” Ron said, thumbing himself in the chest as nearly everyone standing outside Hagrid’s hut began making their way to the School’s gates.

“I can’ wait till I get to take yer kid on his firs’ year boat ride ta the castle,” Hagrid said to Harry with happy tears flowing freely. “’Course we’ll have ta rebuild tha’ castle.”

Harry let his friends congratulate him and offer name suggestions for his baby as they walked out of the gates and down into the streets of Hogsmede.


Just outside Hagrid’s hut, Hermione stood, wringing her hands and worrying her lip madly. She stared, wide-eyed, at some unknown point far off in the distance.

The only other people with her, Molly Weasley and Tonks, stood a few feet away from the distraught witch, conferring beneath their breath to one another. After a moment of discussion, Molly jotted a note down on a piece of parchment. Then the two walked up to the brunette witch.

“Hermione dear, do you have something to tell us?” asked Molly.

“I’m a horrible, horrible person,” Hermione wailed. 

“You’re not horrible,” Tonks consoled her.

“But I lied to Harry. I lied to him in the most horrific way!” Even though Hermione had lied to Harry in order for him to fully access his power to defeat Voldemort, she felt as if she was lower than the lowest animal.

“It doesn’t have to be a lie,” offered Molly.

“Just a delay in the truth,” added Tonks.

“What do you mean?”

“Here,” Molly said, handing Hermione the note. “The first is a spell that cancels out all anti-conception charms. The other is a charm that will help you ovulate.”

“Mind you it’s not as good as the Prewitt Ritual you and Harry accidentally tricked me and Remus into performing,” Tonks commented, “but I think Harry might get a little suspicious if you pop the baby out in a couple of weeks like I did.”

“Now, you perform these two charms and ride Harry like a pony,” Molly said with a smile. Both Tonks and Hermione looked at the Weasley matron in surprise. “Oh please, you don’t get to have seven children by being chaste.

“As I was saying, you have your way with Harry – which I’m sure he won’t mind in the slightest – every day and night until you change that lie into a ‘delayed truth,’ as Tonks called it,” concluded Molly

“Basically, shag him until you really do get knocked up,” clarified Tonks.

“Nymphadora Tonks,” Molly said, scathingly. 

“What? You used the term ‘ride Harry like a pony’ and you’re mad at me?” defended Tonks.

“I’m upset that you used such a foul word,” the red-head said. She smiled at Hermione and added with a happy lilt, “Didn’t you know it’s improper to curse in front of a mother-to-be?’

Hermione looked at the charms Molly and Tonks had given her before saying, “Or at least a mother-to-be-shortly.”