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In Preparation for Arrival

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It was odd, no doubt, that they had two children and no nursery. But Annie had been fifteen months and Gilbert three-and-a-half when they came home from the war orphanage to Percy and Oliver's tiny flat and became Weasley-Woods, just a year ago. The children they were expecting now—well that was the thing; they were expecting them. A Muggle was carrying a wizard's babies (twins, and likely boys according to old Dr. Samuels) who would come home to Percy and Oliver's new house soon after they were born. Even in the wake of the Second War wizards remained bloodline sensitive and adoption-averse, and half-Muggle children in particular were considered hard to place.

Percy ran around the countryside to pick up hand-me-downs from various relatives, while Oliver built the two cribs himself. They were stretching their resources to be sure, but all the work Oliver had done to rebuild professional Quidditch was finally paying off and neither of them could imagine stopping at only two children. Besides, Percy's own parents had certainly never put off having children due to timing; they'd had two of them while the last war was raging.

To be honest, Percy was a little panicked by the idea of infancy and was reading as many books as he could get his hands on, even Muggle ones. He intended to take his paternity leave when the Quidditch season was back on, when the twins were two or three months old, and the idea of not having Oliver there backing him up was admittedly a bit scary. But he had clear memories of spending time with his father when he was very small, and he wanted his own children to have the same experiences.

Oliver jumped into the decorating with his usual focus and enthusiasm, painting the walls with snitches and quaffles and the ceiling with fluffy clouds in a blue sky. It was the offseason so Oliver was home with the children, though even when he was coaching the balance was so effortless for him; he could do seemingly anything with a child or two hanging off his arms, reminding Percy of his mother. Percy was inclined to be a workaholic, to stay at the Ministry all hours to get the details right, and he knew that he needed Oliver and the kids to balance him every bit as much as Oliver needed them to keep him from being as obsessed with "The Game" as he had been at school. Odd, how close they'd come to some other, lonelier life.

One night when they weren't doing much more than waiting, Percy came home to find a very excited Annie peeking out one of the nursery windows. "Papa! Come see!"

Percy shed cloak and bag quickly and took the steps two at a time to find Annie, Oliver and Gilbert sitting on the floor in the darkened room. "Sit by me, Papa!" Gilbert said, patting the floor next to him.

"I shall sit between you," he said, and did so. "Oliver, why are the shades lowered?"

"Watch," he said, closing the door behind Percy to block out the last of the light. "Lumos," he said, lighting the lamp in the middle of the ceiling.

Then Oliver set the two little mobiles, one over each crib, aspin, and they cast shadows on the wall of animals and shapes. Now Percy could see that Oliver had found a spot for all the bits and pieces that Percy had found and thought were interesting: embroidered pillows, hand-crocheted blankets, old wooden toys that now sported a fresh coat of color. The banged up changing table had a new top and drawers that worked, and under the window table was a shelf perfect for baby books. Percy had seen the cribs in progress and they were beautiful then, but polished to a shine and put in place they were gorgeous and glowing dark brown against their crisp white sheets and the pale green walls.

"It's lovely, Ol," Percy said, hugging his other two children close.

"Well, you found all these things," he replied. "I just put them together."

"Thank you," Percy said, and leaned forward. Oliver got the hint and squatted down to kiss Percy, soft and loving.

"Kisses!" Annie shouted.

Oliver turned to her. "Kisses for everyone!" he said, laughing. And so there were.