The next few months passed in a haze of a new-found normality. Harry would train for several days a week and, once he was two months old, Ginny would leave James with Molly for a few hours on those days to go and help out in George’s shop. When they weren’t working, Harry and Ginny were kept busy organising the rebuilding of the house at Godric’s Hollow. They spent a lot of time over at the Burrow and often found themselves mediating some new melodrama occurring between Ron and Hermione. Teddy was now spending two nights a week with Harry and Ginny, sleeping in his own bedroom and Harry used every opportunity to tell him about his brave parents.
In April they were all summoned to St Mungo’s for the birth of Fleur and Bill’s second child; a girl named Victoire who looked identical, almost, to her older brother. With May, and the end of the quidditch season fast approaching, Harry’s practices were becoming longer and longer and on the morning of May 14th, two years to the day since Voldemort was defeated, Ginny and James appeared at the training ground and waved him down. Harry looked towards Oliver who nodded and he swooped down to the ground.
“Morning, love,” he said, hopping off the broom as he kissed Ginny’s cheek and took James from her arms, “Everything alright?”
“Everything’s fine,” smiled Ginny as she placed a warm hand on Harry’s jaw, “Happy Potter Day.”
“Thanks,” grumbled Harry.
“Did you forget?” Asked Ginny with an amused grin on her face.
“As if,” said Harry before nodding over his shoulder to where his team-mates were practicing, “That lot won’t stop going on about it. I’ll never forgive Kingsley.”
“Oh come on,” laughed Ginny, “People just wanted a proper holiday to celebrate.”
“It didn’t have to involve me though,” said Harry grumpily before turning his attention to James who had grabbed his glasses and was attempting to chew them, “Hey trouble, you being good for mummy?”
“He is,” smiled Ginny as she watched Harry attempt to remove the spectacles from James’ fingers, “There was actually a reason I came down here, apart from reminding you of Potter Day and giving you your son for a while.”
“Uh-huh, Angelina’s gone into labour,” explained Ginny.
“Should we go to the hospital?” Asked Harry, glancing up at Alex Spinnet.
“I think she’ll be a while yet,” said Ginny, “How much longer are you practicing?”
“Forty-five minutes,” said Harry, glancing at the familiar old watch on his wrist.
“I’ll just wait here with James and we can go together afterwards,” said Ginny, tugging her son from Harry’s reluctant arms.
“Plan,” said Harry, laughing as he finally managed to tug his smudged glasses from James’ fingers, “I better get back up there.”
He gave Ginny another quick kiss and hopped back onto his trusty Firebolt to rejoin his team. Ginny moved over to the benches and sat with James on her knee, explaining the rules of quidditch to the oblivious boy who was happily gazing at his father. After a few moments Alex flew down, having set the team to practice a few manoeuvres, and joined Ginny and James.
“He gets bigger each time I see him,” he said, ruffling the black hair on James’ head.
“He’s still small for his age, but he’s definitely catching up,” smiled Ginny.
“Harry said Angelina’s gone into labour finally.”
Ginny laughed, “That baby’s been waiting for just the moment, a week late now.”
“Alicia will be delighted,” sighed Alex, “This has been hard on her… she and Fred were so close, even once they’d broken up and gone their separate ways he was the only person she confided in and now… well it’s about time she had some good news.”
“How has she been?” Asked Ginny, concern lacing her words.
“Better in the last year definitely,” said Alex sadly, “She talks a lot to George, Lee and Angelina, and it’s been good for her to meet Anna. Deep down I don’t think she was ever in love with him in the way that they were meant to be, they were just such good friends. She’s been seeing someone though and it’s been going pretty well.”
“Who is it?”
“Alasdair Corner, he was a couple of years above you at Hogwarts.”
“Oh, I know him vaguely, nice guy,” smiled Ginny, “I used to go out with his little brother, Michael, he was in my year, a Ravenclaw though.”
“Well they got engaged a few days ago which is all very exciting,” said Alex.
“Definitely!” Exclaimed Ginny, “You must be so proud… and a little sad too?”
“My little girl… all grown up,” sighed Alex nostalgically, “But, yes, very exciting news. I daresay she’ll tell you herself at the hospital.”
“Yeah, I haven’t seen her in a few months actually, it’ll be good to catch up,” said Ginny, “We really must organise some sort of ladies’ night out.”
Alex nodded and asked, “What are you doing with yourself these days? Besides taking care of this one.”
“I help out at the shop in Diagon Alley a few days a week,” said Ginny, “It’s not really what I want to be doing but with James so young it’s good to have something so flexible.”
“Of course,” said Alex, “You were a pretty talented quidditch player at Hogwarts from what I hear…”
“Harry would say that!” Laughed Ginny.
“Actually, this I heard from Minerva,” he smiled, “Plus, everyone knows that you, a chaser, caught the snitch three years ago to secure the House Cup. I can’t help but be impressed.”
“I don’t play much anymore,” said Ginny, still laughing as she remembered that day, “Harry and I just throw the quaffle about some evenings. We do try to have a Weasley family match every other weekend, but nothing serious.”
“I think you should consider getting back into it,” said Alex seriously, “You’re talented, it would be a shame to lose all that.”
“I don’t know about that…” said Ginny, biting her lip.
“From what I hear, Holyhead Harpies would be looking for a couple of new chasers in the next couple of years. You should think about it.”
“James is too little,” protested Ginny.
“They’d probably let you do something similar to what Harry’s done this year with us. Have a year to get back into game shape without a really hectic training schedule. By that time James will be a bit older and the team provides a nursery, there’s loads of options,” explained Alex.
“You really think they’d take me?”
“I don’t see why not. You’re one of the best players to come out of Hogwarts in recent years. Let me have Margarite Mayflower over at the Harpies get in touch with you.”
“You’re recruiting people for other people’s teams!” Laughed Ginny.
“Puddlemere and the Harpies have always had a good working relationship. Big rivalry, but that’s because outside of matches we’ve always been very friendly.”
“I’m not in game shape,” sighed Ginny, “But I suppose I could talk Harry into playing on the weekends.”
“I’m shocked you haven’t already!” Grinned Alex, reaching out and gently tugging James out of Ginny’s arms, “Grab a broom and go join them for this one,” he said with a nod towards the team.
“Oh I don’t know,” said Ginny with a glint in her eye, “I’d just be getting in the way…”
“Nonsense, nonsense,” said Alex with a hearty laugh as James tugged on his blonde hair.
Ginny relented and clambered on a broom to join the team for the last fifteen minutes of practice. She was surprised at how easily she managed to keep up with the three Puddlemere chasers and she knew that if she got back into practice she could probably be as good as they were.
When she landed and walked to Alex to relieve him of her small son she was exhilarated, “That was fantastic!” She explained excitedly, “Really put me through my paces.”
“Thought you’d enjoy that,” grinned Alex, “I’ll have Margarite owl you soon.”
“Thanks!” Said Ginny before turning to take Harry’s hands, “We’d better go, Angelina will never forgive us if we miss the birth.”
Harry nodded and waved goodbye to the others, “Shall I take our boy?” He asked Ginny who nodded and handed James to him who squealed with delight to be in his father’s arms.
“St Mungo’s, yeah?” Checked Ginny before spinning on the spot and appearing in the lobby of the magical hospital, to be joined seconds later by Harry and James, who was crying angrily at the unpleasant sensation of being squeezed as if sucked through a tube.
“Hey, hey, little man, don’t cry,” said Harry soothingly, brushing the unruly black hair back from his son’s red face. At Harry’s voice, James settled a little and Harry nodded to Ginny that they should go.
They quickly located a welcome witch and found their way to where the rest of the Weasley family was waiting patiently in comfortable seats while the children played at their feet with little quidditch toys and fake magic wands. Mrs Weasley jumped up to greet them and inform them that it would most likely be another hour at least. She took James from Harry’s arms and returned to her spot next to Mr Weasley so she and her husband could fuss over the boy.
Ginny raised her eyebrows at her husband as she watched their son get spoiled by his grandparents. Harry laughed and led Ginny to sit down between Anna and Bill, with no room left Ginny sat on Harry’s lap and he placed his chin on her shoulder and his arms around her waist. They greeted Anna who was watching Lyla wander around with Teddy’s hand gripped tightly in hers.
“Exciting, isn’t it?” Enthused Ginny.
“Definitely,” smiled Anna, “The family’s getting bigger and bigger by the day.”
“Where’s Hermione?” Asked Harry, noticing one of his best friends was missing.
“She and Ron had an argument and she’s gone off to get some space,” sighed Anna.
Harry squeezed Ginny’s shoulders and raised her up so he could stand, “I better go see her,” he said with resignation in his voice and he walked in the direction Anna had nodded in, shooting an unimpressed look at Ron who was following his every move.
Ginny nudged Anna and turned to her with a smile, “How are you? It feels like I hardly see anyone anymore.”
“You see us every week! It’s just ’cause you’re so caught up with James…” laughed Anna, “I’m good, actually. I thought I’d be sad today since it’s two years since Fred died, but with the new baby on the way it just feels good.”
“I know what you mean,” sighed Ginny, glancing at the door behind which George and Angelina were preparing to welcome the latest addition to the family, “And what’s going on in your life?”
“I’m just about to finish college, only a couple of exams next month and I’ll be done… out into the real world for me,” she laughed.
“I think Lyla will have pulled you into the real world long ago!” Said Ginny, smiling happily at the exuberant little girl playing on the floor, “What are you planning to do?”
Anna sighed and leaned back in her chair, “To be honest, I have no idea. I don’t know how I’m supposed to reconcile the magical and non-magical worlds.”
“It seems pretty simple… keep living in Diagon Alley but do your work in the muggle London. Even better you could do paintings in the wizarding world.”
“That wouldn’t work… my paintings don’t move!” Laughed Anna, a little sadly.
“It’s a niche in the market!” Ginny said and then leaned a little closer, “What about your love life… we never hear anything about that.”
“That’s because I don’t talk about it!”
“A-ha!” Exclaimed Ginny in victory, “So there is someone!”
“No. Yes. Sort of…” babbled Anna.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Why?” Asked Ginny, leaning in a little closer and looking at her conspiratorially.
“Many, many reasons.”
“We’re going to be here a while,” said Ginny seriously.
Anna sighed again and cast around the room for a moment or two before relenting, “Fine! But you mustn’t tell a soul. I know you’ll say to Harry, but no one else.”
Ginny nodded vigorously in agreement and Anna continued, “He’s a wizard. We’ve been talking a lot recently and he’s been helping me get settled in… it started out as just him helping out because of your family… but, well, it sort of developed.”
“So what’s the problem?”
“For one thing, he’s a lot older,” sighed Anna, “And he thinks I’d be better off with someone my own age.”
“How much older?”
“Well I’m twenty-one and he’s in his mid-thirties,” said Anna sadly.
“Oh that’s not that bad!” Said Ginny, “When they died, Remus was thirty-seven and Tonks was twenty-four. And they were very happy.”
“Well apart from that, he’s a busy person, and he says he is too messed up from the war… that I deserve someone healthy and whole.”
“Oh Remus said exactly the same thing to Tonks, but it’s a silly argument if you really care about each other,” said Ginny, already exasperated by Anna’s mystery man.
“I don’t know… what would everyone think? I mean, it’s only been two years since Fred died and I’m already talking about getting together with someone else. Besides, he’s a friend of the family.”
“I think that we’d all think it was great, no matter who it was as long as he was a good man and you were happy. And, no, it’s not too soon to be moving on. We can’t stay stuck in the past. If it really worries you, you should talk to George about it when his hands are less full, he’s been thinking about it a lot too,” said Ginny kindly.
“You’re good at this… talking to people… helping,” shrugged Anna shyly.
“Trust me, I get plenty of practice with Harry. We both had to talk ourselves through some really tough times, it’s better than just ignoring it.”
“It is,” agreed Anna before sighing and slumping back in her chair, “I need to sort this out.”
“Yes, you do,” smiled Ginny kindly before glancing up, “Oh, look, Harry’s found ‘mione.”
Harry walked over and moved Ginny back onto his lap and smiled wryly at Anna as they all watched Hermione self-consciously take a seat next to Ron. Harry shook his head and chuckled lightly into Ginny’s ear, “Those two are ridiculous.”
Ginny nodded her agreement as Ron took Hermione’s hand and whispered in her ear as the noisy chatter of the group resumed, “What was this one about?”
“You know, I don’t even know anymore,” sighed Harry, “There’s always something. I hope they get over this constant petty arguing and figure out that they’re perfect for each other.”
“Hmmm, me too,” said Ginny softly, “But Hermione’s over-sensitivity and Ron’s permanent state of foot-in-mouth doesn’t lend well to a harmonious existence for them. Or any of us for that matter.”
Harry laughed and shook his head, “Well I told Hermione that they should get away for a bit, away from all this family pressure – you know since they’re practically the only ones who aren’t engaged or married or with kids – and maybe that’ll help a little.”
“Maybe it will. Did she agree?”
“Yeah, well they should both have a couple of months free once they’ve done their exams. I suggested that they should go abroad,” explained Harry, “They’ll either sort it out or kill each other.”
Ginny laughed quietly and began to respond when a flustered looking Alicia Spinnet rushed into the room, “Is the baby here yet?” She asked excitedly, looking around the room expectantly.
They all shook their heads and she looked relieved, “I was worried I’d miss it; I had to wait ‘til I could get off work.” She took a seat next to Fleur and looked impatiently at the door with everyone else.
“Alicia,” called Ginny, “I hear congratulations are in order!”
A wide grin appeared on her face and she reached over to show Ginny an engagement ring as the Weasleys all loudly proclaimed their congratulations to her.
Suddenly George burst through the door of the delivery room. There was a collective movement as everyone leapt to their feet and looked to him eagerly for news.
He was pale and sweaty but grinned as he said, “A boy!” and rushed back through to his girlfriend as a cheer went up in the Weasley family.
Twenty minutes later George emerged again, this time carrying a small bundle wrapped in a dark grey blanket, with an even bigger grin on his face. Molly burst into tears, causing Ginny to rush over and retrieve the startled James, as everyone crowded round to look at the newborn child.
“Have you decided on a name yet?” Asked Mr Weasley softly as he stroked flaming red hair off the tiny forehead.
“Yeah,” smiled George, raising his head to meet Harry’s eyes, “He’s called Harry.”
Harry felt he could burst with emotion as George passed his namesake into his arms and tears sprung to his eyes, “George… I don’t know what to say…”
“You don’t have to say anything, I’m proud to call my child after you,” said George, “Harry Fred Johnson Weasley – there are no two other people I’d rather have my son be named after.”
Ginny squeezed Harry’s upper arm gently and he moved forward to give George a rough one armed hug, “Thanks.”
George shook his head before gently taking the baby back into his arms, “I better get back in there before his mum misses him too much,” he smiled as he allowed Mrs Weasley to give both father and son a motherly kiss on the forehead, “We’ll be allowed home tonight so we’ll see you all tomorrow at the Burrow for lunch before we go up to Hogwarts.”
They all nodded as he departed and Harry and Ginny said farewell to the group before heading back to their own home. When they arrived Harry began cooking dinner immediately as Ginny fed James.
“It’ll be good, won’t it, tomorrow to go up to visit Fred’s memorial?” Asked Harry, seeking a little reassurance from Ginny.
“Definitely,” said Ginny certainly, “We haven’t all been up together since it opened and we’ve never been with Anna and Lyla. I don’t know why you worry so much.”
“It’s the time of year. It makes me twitchy,” grimaced Harry as he waved his wand wildly to send some dirty dishes into the sink. Instead they crashed through the window and into the flowerbed below, “Bugger!” He exclaimed, dropping his wand and gripping the counter tightly.
Ginny placed James gently into his cot and rushed over to Harry, “Hush… calm down, love,” soothed Ginny, rubbing his arms and pulling him close to her. She felt his tension ebb away slightly as he leaned into her, “Now tell me what’s wrong.”
Harry sighed and they sank onto the kitchen tiles next to each other and he leaned his head on her shoulder, “Harry, talk to me,” she whispered as she interlaced their fingers.
“It’s the same thing it always is,” he responded heavily, “Guilt. Always guilt.”
“I thought you were getting better,” said Ginny sadly.
“I was. I am,” explained Harry, “Like I said; it’s the time of year. So many reminders.”
“I’m going to say what I say every time we have this conversation: none of the awful stuff that happened was your fault. The only people to blame are Voldemort and his followers. You have done nothing to feel guilty about,” said Ginny urgently.
“Most of the time I believe you,” said Harry weakly, running his free hand down the side of her face.
“You were fine earlier today. What happened?” Asked Ginny.
“I was distracted… but it’s been on my mind for a few days.”
“You need to tell me these things,” she said softly, tightening her grip on his hand.
They sat in silence for several minutes, gripping onto each other tightly, before Harry said, “George and Angelina’s son’s birthday will always be on Fred’s death day. It’s awful.”
“No, it’s not,” sighed Ginny, “It’s more proof that it has all been worth it, Harry.”
“They named him Harry,” he whispered, “They called him after me, after everything…”
“You saved us all, Harry, there would be no baby without what you did. There would be no me, no you, no James.”
Harry didn’t respond but after a few moments Ginny felt Harry’s shoulders begin to shake and she heard wracking sobs tearing out of him. She pulled him down, pulling his face against her bosom as she cradled him, pressing her lips on his forehead and tangling her fingers through the unruly black hair.
Ginny wondered whether her husband would ever truly be free from his past but inside she knew that it would haunt him forever. The things he had been forced to do, the terrible things he had seen and, most of all, everything he had lost along the way were going to be a part of him no matter what she said. The most she could do would be to make him happy in the present whilst protecting his future, and reassure him of his own total innocence in all that had happened.
When Harry eventually settled down she pulled him to his feet and smiled softly as he looked sheepishly at her, “Go into the sitting room and spend time with our son. I’ll make dinner,” she offered, kissing him softly on the lips and gently pushing him away from her embrace and towards the sleeping baby.
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