You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com


Coming Home by Jenn_Lynn

Format: Novel
Chapters: 36
Word Count: 146,690
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: Fluff, Romance, AU
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lupin, Tonks, Draco, Ginny, OC
Pairings: Harry/Ginny, Remus/Tonks, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 11/15/2005
Last Chapter: 04/29/2007
Last Updated: 06/11/2007

Summary:


It's been almost five years since Harry left to fight in the war against the remaining Death Eaters. Ginny has been living in London and working at St. Mungo's. She gets a shock when she finds out that the war is over and Harry is on his way home. *Thanks to Ginny_Halliwell for the beginnings of the banner!*


Chapter 1: An Ordinary Day
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

The characters (with the exception of a few) that I have used in this work will always belong to the wonderful J.K. Rowling. She has created a wonderful, imaginative world for everyone to enjoy!


Chapter 1

“War ends! Wizards flock to the streets in Diagon Alley in jubilation!” read the headline of the Daily Prophet. Ginny picked up the paper to get a closer look at the enchanted photo splashed across the front page. A wizard grabbed a witch cheering next to him and kissed her passionately – not unlike the famous muggle picture that was snapped in the streets of New York City at the end of the Second World War. Smiling, Ginny reached over to grab her cup of tea to take a sip as her eyes roamed over the words that jumped out at her once again. The war was over – the remaining death eaters apprehended and sent to Azkabhan to await trial.

Ginny turned the page to have the headline in front of her jump out and grab her even more so than the front page. “Aurors to return to London next week” Her eyes drifted down to see a picture of Him – the Boy Who Lived - walking through the cobblestone streets of a foreign land where the last stand against the Death Eaters had taken place. Her heart skipped a beat – there he was her Harry – it was the first picture she had seen of him in 5 years – he looked older, his face showing the ravages of war. Not just physical scars but the emotional scars that Ginny knew wouldn’t be erased easily.

“Ginny? Break time’s up Hun – time to get back to it.” Ginny looked up to see her supervisor, Margaret Bones in the door way. Ginny set her cup and the Daily Prophet down and rose from the staff table.

“It’s been 20 minutes already?” She replied as she moved to the doorway to meet Healer Bones.

“25 actually – I’ve been trying to rouse you from your daydreams for the last 5 minutes.” Healer Bones said as she smiled at Ginny. “What is it that caught your attention dear? This is the first time since you started here at St. Mungo’s that you’ve taken more than a 5 minute sit down.”

“Hmm – nothing really. The Daily Prophet just caught my eye when I sat down to enjoy my tea. The war’s over you know.” Ginny moved into the hallway and down to the station at the corner to pick up her patients parchment.

“Ginny dear! That issue of the Daily Prophet is well over a week old. You’re just realizing the war is over now? Where have you been?” Healer Bones patted her on the arm and smiled again. Sometimes that girl’s head is so far in the clouds you could swear she was playing a Quidditch match and was looking for the snitch, she thought to herself.

Where have I been? Ginny thought in her head – between finishing her first year as a certified healer at St. Mungo’s and her life in general – she was lucky she was finding out about the war being over just a week after it happened.

“Well never mind that now my dear. We must get to healing – next week there is going to be a big transfer of former DA soldiers arriving from the front. St. Mungo’s needs to prepare. “ Healer Bones grabbed her patient’s parchments and headed off in the opposite direction of Ginny’s ward.
8 hours later and Ginny was on the way home from a very long shift at St. Mungo’s. She loved her work – no doubt about that – but the last 4 hours following her break seemed more like the 20 hour shifts she had to endure during her residency. Those days were behind her – but after reading about the war ending even the sweet little children she took care of every day couldn’t distract her from the fact that HE was coming back to London.

*~~*

“Miss Ginny? What might you be looking for? “Mr. Longworth, the Muggle grocer at the end of Ginny’s lane questioned as she hesitated over a stack of juicy looking tomatoes. Ginny looked up – as if surprised to see someone standing there talking to her.

“Oh! Mr. Longworth! Just deciding on what to bring home tonight – I just can’t decide what to do for evening tea!” Ginny smiled at the kind older man. He’d been grocer on this lane for well over two decades, starting this little shop after he fell in love with a witch when he was just a young man.

“Might I suggest you not dine on tomato sandwiches again this evening?” He said with a twinkle in his eye. “My dear wife has cooked up a wonderful chicken stew and you know she always makes too much – why don’t you take some to go?” Ginny smiled back - the Longworth’s did love to worry about her. And it had been such a long day –

“Chicken stew you say? And did she make those wonderful biscuits to go with it?” Ginny smiled as he nodded long before she finished her sentence. Thinking for a moment – well she was sick of tomato sandwiches – she agreed to take him up on his offer. “Okay – Mr. Longworth, you have me convinced. But I insist – this time let me pay for it.”

The kind grocer just shook his head no as he called to his wife –“Oy! Martha – bring out that container of chicken stew you set aside for Miss Ginny – she’s decided to take it!” A tiny witch – the size of old Professor Flitwick came bustling out of the back of the shop with a large container of stew in her arms.

Thrusting it at Ginny she smiled – “there ya’go dear! Now you enjoy that!” With a flick of her wand – Ginny hadn’t even seen her take it from behind her ear – she summoned a bag of warmed biscuits from their kitchen, hovering them in front of Ginny to take.

“Mr. Longworth, Mrs. Longworth – this is too much,” she protested – but they turned a blind eye to her.

“No dear – you’re looking so worn out these days. Your mother Molly would have our heads if she knew just how many times in the past week you’ve had a tomato sandwich or just a cup of coffee all day. Ah-ah-ah!” Mrs. Longworth held up her hand. “You can’t fool me dear – I’m a mother and a witch at that! I know how you young people live. You just never take care of yourselves anymore.” And with that – the elderly couple turned from Ginny and headed over to a wizarding couple that had entered the store.

*~~*

Knowing she had just lost the battle – Ginny set the bag of biscuits in her Healers bag and hefted the container in her arms and headed towards her flat.
Ginny climbed the final step of the stairway to her flat. Too exhausted to open the door with her muggle key she reached inside her St. Mungo's robes and took out her wand. Alohamora! She whispered and heard the latch click over and the door swing open.

Ginny dropped the healers bag on the floor just inside the door and reached down to dig out the bag of biscuits as a little black streak came into her side vision and grabbed her around the knees.

“Mummy!!” the little object cried. “You’re home! Nanny Edgy told me you’d be late – but you are not! You are early!!” Ginny smiled and looked down into a little face. So much like her own – but different and more familiar to her than anyone else’s could ever be. “Mummy! Lift me up! I missed you!” Ginny hooked her hands under the little person’s arms and heaved them upward. Smiling into bright emerald eyes, the stress of her day was forgotten. She was home with her wonderful little boy, James. Smoothing the unruly mess of black hair off his forehead she pressed a kiss in the middle.

“Hello my darling – how was your day with Nanny Edgy?” She asked her smile matching that of her son’s. Of course Nanny Edgy wasn’t her real name. She was a kind witch that lived in the flat next door named Martha Edgecombe. But as Edgecombe was too big a mouthful for James to say – he had resourcefully shortened it to Edgy.

“It was good! We played in the park and seen Aunt Mione (Hermione) and read books and Nanny Edgy levitated me in the air!! “ He kissed Ginny’s cheek – all wet and sloppy as only little boys can do and started to squirm. Reluctantly – she placed him down at her feet and smiled. “Is that chicken stew? Mmm – Mummy – I love chicken stew!!” He cried and flew from the hallway. Ginny chuckled to herself and grabbed the stew and biscuits and walked into the living area.

Ginny’s tastes hadn’t changed much over the years – the room reminded her of the Burrow where she had grown up in a family of 6 older brothers. The Burrow had always had a sense of chaos around it. With 7 children and 6 being rough and tumble boys how could it not. But there was always a sense of comfort there. Many of Ginny’s favorite memories included being curled up at the foot of her father’s favorite chair reading a spell book Charlie or Percy had left lying out. She would just be feeling content when there’d be a tug on her pigtail and she’d see one of the twins hovering above her on a broom with torment in his eyes. Her mother always seemed to know when the twins were misbehaving and Mrs. Weasley would scream from the kitchen – “GEORGE! FRED! I TOLD YOU – NO BROOMSTICKS IN THE HOUSE!” With a final tug on her hair they would swoop out before they could get caught.

“– and Hermione said she would be by this evening. Around 7:30.” Ginny snapped out of her daydream to see Nanny Edgy getting her things gathered after her day with James.

“Pardon?” Ginny responded.

“Dear – I said Hermione wanted me to tell you she’d be over tonight around 7:30. She met us today in the park – I heard James telling you when you came in. I didn’t think it would be an issue – she didn’t have much time today on her lunch break but she mentioned she had to tell you something. Oh and little Mr. James has his annual check up tomorrow at 12. Your shift is an evening one tomorrow isn’t it? I told Dr. Finnigan that you would be taking him in yourself.” Nanny Edgy repeated. Moving around Ginny she pulled her cloak off the hook behind the door.

Pausing - she turned to look at Ginny. My, she looked tired these days. Not taking care of herself the poor dear. For as long as Ginny had lived across from her she’d always been on her own. Of course her family was always in and out and looking in on her and the little one but Nanny Edgy could tell there was something making Ginny lonely. She never spoke of it but she could tell. “Now dear – would you like me to meet you at St. Mungo’s tomorrow after James check up? I don’t mind – then you can stay downtown and not have to deal with the daily traffic.”

“Oh Martha! That would be wonderful! I do wish I could have the entire day off tomorrow – but St. Mungo’s is preparing for a large influx of former DA soldiers. We need to start preparing before the place gets too crowded. Would you mind keeping James tomorrow night as well? I need to get in a bit of extra time.”

“Not a problem my dear! Me and Mr. James will make a sleep over out of it. How about we surprise him with that tomorrow. Now I want you to go into that living room and get a big cuddle out of that boy. And heat up that stew – the Longworth's will be checking with me to make sure you’ve eaten it. Have a good evening dear.” With that Nanny Edgy went out the door and across the hall to her own flat.

*~~*

Placing a bowl of stew in front of James chair, Ginny moved to sit down beside him. Although he was nearing 4 – he sometimes spilled his stew on his robes at mealtime. Plus – she needed to be near him and take him in. Sometimes working with the sick kids at St. Mungo’s would affect her. It depressed her that so many children had lost their parents during the war – to death eaters or accidents. And so many of them were hurt by those flying curses that they ended up in St. Mungo’s for treatment. She loved each and every one of them but at the end of the day she just wanted to be near her little boy and smell his smell of sunshine and freshness.

Spooning a bit of stew out of her bowl, Ginny took a bite and savoured the juices and spices of the fragrant stew. James imitated her motions and smiled a toothy grin at her. “This is good stew Mummy! I like chicken!” He ate with gusto – sending crumbs and droplets of stew flying about the table.

Just as they were finishing, there was a loud CRACK in the living room. James bounced out of his chair and flew out of the kitchen before Ginny could stop him. Although she knew he was in no danger – her fireplace had been put on the restricted Floo network when she moved in – she still had a fear that a death eater would somehow come in and steal little James away.
“Aunt Mione!!” Ginny heard James cry as he skidded to a halt. “Yay! You came to see me! Where’s Uncle Ron??”

“James! You’ve grown a foot since this afternoon! Pretty soon you’ll be ready to head to Hogwarts!” Hermione responded “Uncle Ron couldn’t come tonight – he had to go and find a special boy his birthday present…. Now I wonder who that could be?” Ginny laughed softly as she watched the interchange from the door way. She was so lucky to have them both in her and James life. They were so supportive when they found out she had been pregnant with James. But not once had they questioned her. None of her family did – they just loved him and welcomed him into the Weasley brood the moment he was born.

“Me! Aunt Mione! Me! Is it for me?” James shouted as he bounced around at Hermione’s feet.

“James – why don’t you go down to your room and pick out the book you would like to read tonight. Mummy and Aunt Hermione are going to the kitchen to talk while I straighten up.” Ginny said trying to calm her little ball of energy down.

“Ok Mummy! Can we read Quidditch Charlie flies high again?” He didn’t wait for Ginny’s answer and dashed down the hall to his room.

Ginny beckoned Hermione to follow her to the kitchen. Gathering up the bowls and levitating them to the sink she set the kettle to boil and pulled down the tea pot. “Well Hermione – how are you doing today?”

“I’m fine Ginny – but how are you? You look tired. I don’t know how you do it – working all day at St. Mungo’s and then coming home to that darling boy. I’m going to have to fend off Ron’s advances and send him to bed early and I just have spent 10 minutes with the two of you!”

Ginny laughed out loud at Hermione’s exclamation. One of her best friends since their Hogwarts days – Hermione had always spoken her mind. A few years ago hearing her talk about fending off her older brother would have made her screw her nose up with disgust. But now that the two were married and so very happy – she had to realize that Hermione loved her brother – even if Ginny thought he was a giant prat at times.

“Oh Hermione – someday you’ll have little balls of energy of your own. You’ll find out just getting hugs will recharge your batteries and keep you going until you need to go to bed!” The kettle whistled and Ginny busied herself with making the tea. “Now my dear friend – to what do I owe the unexpected pleasure of this visit?”

Hermione looked at her friend. Ginny had all the Weasley traits. Red hair, freckles, a lust for life and a kindness for all around her but she was missing something. Of course Hermione had a mind of what it was but she promised not to bring it up and she hadn’t brought it up for almost five years. But the time had come for the sidestepping to stop. There were things to be discussed.

“Ginny – why don’t you relax and enjoy a quiet cuppa? I’ll go get James ready for bed for you. Then we’ll chat. It’s been such a long time since we talked like girls. How does that sound?”

Ginny stopped pouring the hot water and turned to Hermione. Nodding her agreement she took down the cups, set them on the tray and moved into her living room.

*~~*

“Night Mummy,” James yawned as Ginny came in the room to tuck him in. “Aunt Mione read me a good story. Will you snuggle later?” Ginny kissed his forehead and smoothed the blanket around his little form.

“I’ll come check on you once Aunt Hermione leaves ok? But for now I want you to try and get to sleep. Love you my Quidditch-bug.” Ginny kissed him once more and tried to smooth down his unruly hair – once more out in all directions after his bath.

James giggled softly at the sound of his pet name and snuggled down in his hand-me-down Chudley Cannon’s quilt. “Night Aunt Mione, thank you for the story.” Before the two women were out the door his eyes had already grown heavy.

*~~*

“I can’t believe he’s four already!” Hermione said as she sat in an overgrown chair to the left of the fireplace. With a flick of her wrist she summoned her cup of tea from the table and took a sip.

“Some days I can’t believe it either.” Ginny agreed. “It seems like it was just last week I was big as a house and waddling around the Burrow after Mom.”

“Oh Ginny! You were never big as a house… well maybe just the broom shed….. “ Hermione joked making Ginny choke on her tea!

“Hermione! You just wait... you’ll have babies soon enough and I’ll remember that comment!” Ginny laughed and suddenly turned sober. Running her finger along the edge of her mug she approached the topic that she had been dreading for the last 5 years. “So you wanted to talk – I can just guess what this is about. I saw the Daily Prophet today.”

Hermione sighed – she had avoided this topic for as long as Ginny. “You saw it? Then you know – he’s coming home Ginny.”

Ginny looked deeply into her teacup not trusting herself to look at her best friend. “I know – I seen his photo and the article about the Auror’s returning. Why - Hermione? Why did he have to come back now? Just when I am settled and happy!” A sob escaped as she drew her knees up towards her chest and buried her face in her arms.
Hermione sat for a moment and let Ginny cry. But seeing her friend hurt so much she couldn’t not try and comfort her. She sat on the arm of Ginny’s chair and rubbed her shoulders. “Oh Gin – I know it hurts….. But we knew it would happen.”

Suddenly Ginny stopped her tears and glared at Hermione. “You know? You know it hurts? How can you know? Ron never went off to fight in the war! He got to stay on the home front – boosting bloody morale for the troops at home! He never disappeared without a word! Leaving you wondering is he safe? Did he get discovered……..” She trailed off as a fresh wave of tears poured out of her brown eyes.

“Oh Gin – I don’t know what to say…. I know I can’t feel what you feel. But we all miss him. I was so angry when he left without as much as a goodbye. But he’s started to send Owls to Ron again. He’s on his way home. We can’t stop him from heading straight the Burrow. You’re going to have to tell him about James. It’s going to break his heart if you don’t.”

“Hermione – you know I love you and Ron with all my heart and I thank Merlin everyday that you met and fell in love with him and joined our family – but right now I need to be alone.”

Hermione looked down at her friend and gave a weak smile and nod. She squeezed her shoulders one last time and with a loud *crack* disapparated; leaving Ginny alone with her thoughts.


Please review! I'd love to hear what others think!

Chapter 2: Birthdays and Revelations
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Saturdays at the Burrow were always hectic – the entire family gathered on those days to enjoy a meal and catch up on the events of the week. This Saturday was going to be even more hectic as Molly set the dinner ham into the stove to cook. It was little James’ fourth birthday. How big he was getting! Molly Weasley watched her grandson out the window as he scrambled out of his mothers arms and ran straight for his Uncles Fred and George who were playing a game of stun the garden gnomes. Molly heard the front door close and felt her daughter’s presence behind her. Out of all her children, Ginny had inherited the Healer’s charm. She had a soft spot for every one of her children but as Ginny was her only girl she had a special place in her mother’s heart.

“Hello Ginny darling. I was just putting the ham in the oven so will be ready for dinner later. Are those presents all for little James?” Molly went over to help Ginny with the many packages in her arms.

“Hello Mum.” She said kissing her mothers soft cheek. “Yes – these are all for Mr. James. The Longworth's sent along something, as did Nanny Edgy, the nurses at St. Mungo’s and the list goes on. I passed a mountain of gifts on my way through the sitting room. I told you and Dad not to go crazy this year!” Ginny handed her mother the bags of gifts.

“I know, I know Ginny but I couldn’t help it – James is FOUR this year. Four is a very important year you know. A boy deserves the best at four!” Molly carried the bags out to the sitting room leaving Ginny to follow.

Chuckling to herself Ginny walked in behind her mother to watch her place the gifts in what seemed like a never ending pile. “Mum – you said that last year when he was three and the year before when he was two. I don’t want him to get spoiled. He’ll start to expect this every year!”

Molly Weasley embraced her youngest daughter in a bone crushing hug. “Ginny – he’s a special boy – we need to spoil him. After all, James’ the first Weasley in a century and a half that doesn’t have red hair!!” Laughing at what she thought was a wondrous joke Molly smoothed down Ginny’s bright and shiny red hair. “Now why don’t you go see if you can find the rest of the adults? You’ve seen George and Fred already – they’re trying to trick the little ones into giving their Uncle Ron some ton tongue candy and the rest are hiding.”

Ginny laughed and hugged her mum once more before heading out into the sunshine and fresh air of the Burrow.

*~~*

James opened gift upon gift after dinner was completed when he got to a small one from his Grandfather Arthur. Pulling off the wrapping paper with unequaled zeal he pulled out a box filled with an assortment of different muggle plugs from around the world. “Grampie?” He asked puzzled, “what are these?”

“Those, my boy, are MUGGLE plugs! They help make things work in the muggle world. When you’re older I’ll take you out to London so we can see them in action!” James giggled at his grandfather and his fascination of all things muggle. Too young to understand exactly why these plugs were so great but knowing that they were important to Arthur – James jumped up from the pile of presents surrounding him and hugged him fiercely.

“Thank you Grampie! They are my favorite ever!!” The older Weasley’s in the room laughed - they had grown up with their father’s fascination which never seemed to dampen over the years. At one point or another they had all received a box of muggle plugs from Arthur.

*~~*

Harry’s Firebolt touched down just outside the front door of the Burrow. He could hear the laughter and commotion inside. Ah it’s Saturday! He thought – family day! For as long as Harry could remember the Weasleys were like the family he never had. He loved spending time at the Burrow. Having Molly fuss over him, Arthur quiz him on muggle artifacts - since he spent his childhood in a muggle home, Harry was able to answer many of his questions like why do they use a fellytone to communicate Harry? Wouldn’t Owl’s and Floo powder be easier! Fred and George up in their room testing some new product for Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. Ron and Hermione bickering over some thing or another. And then there was Ginny with her quiet nature and big expressive eyes. Over the years Harry had always caught her looking at him. Only to have her blush and then concentrate on whatever she was supposed to be doing. That memory brought a smile to his face. It was things like that that got him through those 5 terrible years of war. Harry knew he had neglected his surrogate family over those years – mainly out of concern for their protection – but he knew he could return at any time and they would welcome him with open arms.

Suddenly a great bubble of laughter floated out the open window next to him. Smiling, Harry knew – he was finally home. Placing his broom next to the door he turned the knob and stepped into the middle of utter chaos.

*~~*

What Harry seen next stopped him dead in his tracks with the smile still frozen on his face. He looked around the room and seen Bill and Fleur – who had gotten married just months before he had left to go to war, Ron and Hermione holding hands and laughing – he had read in the Prophet they had gotten married – seeing the gold bands on their fingers flicker confirmed it. Charlie, Fred and George were on the floor. And there on the floor in the middle of huge pile of presents was his Ginny. She looked more beautiful than he remembered. Her hair had gotten darker and was longer than she wore it when he left and her freckles weren’t as pronounced as they had been but they were still there. She was small and curvy and looked as warm and soft as he recalled most nights in his dreams. What stopped him dead in his tracks was the little person cradled in her lap. He was small – only about 4 or so – with dark black hair that stuck up every which way, and bright emerald eyes that were sparkling as giggles escaped him as a result of being tickled by Ginny. He would have thought it was a neighbour visiting the Burrow but when he looked closer he seen a smattering freckles across his nose….. Harry drew in a deep breath and the boy in Ginny’s lap looked up at the sound.

“Hello Mister. Who are you? It’s my birthday – did you bring me a present?”

“James!” Harry heard Ginny say “mind your manners” As she said this she looked up and lost her train of thought. It was him….. He’s here… right here… in the middle of James’ party! What was she going to do?

Harry just stared at the two of them. The noise that had been surrounding the Burrow was now gone. The Weasleys sat still waiting to see who would say what first. She called him James – he has black hair – he has my eyes – my mother’s eyes.

“Mummy?” James said looking from his mother to this new stranger that looked like him. Harry heard the word through the fog in his brain – Mummy. This little boy in Ginny’s lap was her son. He didn’t know what to say – with a short stutter of apologies to Arthur and Molly Harry backed out of the room to the front door he had left wide open in his excitement to greet those he cared most about.

*~~*

Harry stood outside the Burrow – his mind racing. He was home – his Ginny was sitting in the sitting room – cuddling a small version of him in her arms. Presents everywhere… the entire Weasley family staring at him. Harry flung his broomstick down to the ground. He didn’t know what to do. Sinking down to his knees on the front walk – Harry heard a noise behind him.

“Harry?” Ginny said as he swung himself around to face her. “Is it really you?” She couldn’t believe her eyes. Not in a million years did she expect this was how she’d see him again. But there he was – at the Burrow after nearly 5 years.

“Ginny? What’s going on? “ Harry said softly. “Is that little boy yours?” Before she could answer he continued, “Is he mine?”

Ginny took a deep breath – “Yes.” She answered. “Harry – I didn’t want you to find out this way….. I didn’t know you were going to be back so soon.”

“Didn’t want me to find out? Didn’t think I’d be back? Did you think I’d just abandon you? Ron? Hermione? Your Mum and Dad?” He didn’t wait for her answer. “How old is he? When did it happen? Why didn’t you send me an Owl? “

The pain in his bright emerald eyes was too much for Ginny. “No! I didn’t want you to find out this way! I didn’t think you’d just show up one day out of the blue. Yes I thought you had abandoned me! After you left you didn’t write to me and eventually stopped sending Ron and Hermione updates! All I had was Daily Prophet reports of dead Aurors – of course I thought you were never coming back!” She shouted through her tears – feeling the need to lash out at him, she continued. “James is 4. Today is his birthday. I found out not long after you had left to join the DA – I couldn’t bring myself to send you and Owl. I thought you had abandoned me. I was alone! Pregnant with Harry Potter’s baby! Do you know how dangerous it was at that time? If anyone would have realized who the father was? There were Death Eaters everywhere!”

Harry was speechless as she finished yelling. He suddenly looked over her shoulder at the small child standing in the Burrow’s door way. His green eyes were wide in his tiny face as he watched his mother yell at a man he had never met and a stuffed golden snitch clutched in his hand. The words he said sounded small and terrified, “Mummy? Why are you crying? Can we have cake now?”

Harry didn’t wait for a response. He picked up his discarded Firebolt and straddled it. Looking over – he seen Ginny scoop her, no THEIR, son up in her arms and hug him tight. Not knowing what else to do he kicked off the ground and soared up into the sky. Watching as the two got smaller the higher he went.

*~~*

“Mum – no we’re fine.” Ginny insisted as she gathered up James’ belongings to take home. Looking over at her mother’s worried expression she set down the play-broomstick Ron and Hermione had given her son and set her hands on Molly’s shoulders to look directly in the eyes. “I mean it Mum, we’ll be ok. I’LL be ok. Please don’t worry.”

“But what if you just stay here at the Burrow for the night? I can have your bed done in a jiff. James is already sleeping – you don’t want to disturb him do you?” Molly said, not believing a word that came out of her youngest child’s mouth.

Ginny embraced her mother and moved over to where James was napping on the couch – he was still clutching the stuffed snitch he’d been carrying around since he was old enough to walk. Scooping him up in her arms she set his sleeping head on her shoulder. “Mum – when has James’ sleeping stopped us from flooing before? “ She held up her free hand as Molly opened her mouth to protest. “If I stayed here every time James fell asleep after a wonderful day with his family – we’d live here!” Throwing some floo powder into the fireplace, she stepped inside the green flames with her son. “We love you Mum – say good night to Dad and I promise I’ll floo tomorrow and let you know how we are. “ She stepped deeper into the fireplace and shouted “number 18 blooming drive!”

*~~*

Ginny tucked James snitch in beside him and sank down onto the bed beside her. James stirred at the sudden movement. “Mummy? Are we home?” he asked sleepily.

“Yes we are. Now I want you to go back to sleep. You’ve had such a long day haven’t you? Turning four takes a lot out of a boy. Now go back to sleep my little Quidditch-bug.” Ginny whispered, leaning down to place a soft kiss on his cheek. She watched his eyelids flutter close making his long dark eye lashes brush against the freckles dusted across the bridge of his nose.

“Love you Mummy.” Ginny heard him say as he fell back into dreamland. Never ceasing to amaze her, she watched her little boy in his sleep. After a while Ginny rose to move to her room and prepare for bed.

As she tied her long red hair back in a ponytail – Ginny looked at herself in the bathroom mirror. Goodness, she thought, I look like a hag that would frequent Knockturn Alley. She leaned closer to the mirror – turning on the water and charming it to warm – she grabbed a wash cloth from the edge of the sink. Wiping the grime of the day away from her cheeks her thoughts drifted to the events of the day.

Suddenly Harry’s face swam up to the fore front of her mind. Ginny had suppressed his image for longer than she wanted to admit. Not that it was easy mind you – having a mini-version of him grow up in front of her eyes could be taxing on her emotions. Thankfully – St. Mungo’s had allowed her to borrow one of the employee pensieves for her to use. Shutting off the water and placing the used face cloth on the towel rack to dry she moved to her closet to take it down.

Dipping her wand in the silvery cloud she swirled her memories around to churn up the one she had locked away long ago.

“Ginny? Are you awake?” she heard him say. Smiling and keeping her eyes closed Ginny snuggled closer to the warm body beside her. She could feel his lips on her shoulder, kissing it softly.

“mmmm.. no, I’m sleeping Harry, let me be.” She sighed as his lips roamed along her shoulder to her neck. Opening her eyes she looked deep into his.

“I knew that would wake you” Harry smiled and kissed her on the lips. “We need to get up. I need to go back to Ron’s flat before he realizes I’m gone.” He looked down into her brown eyes and felt the need swell up inside his heart. Never had Harry felt such love for anyone. He loved Ron and Hermione like siblings and when he spent time with the Weasley’s he felt the comfort of being in a family that loved him even though he wasn’t theirs but with Ginny the feelings he had were different than what he felt before. He loved her – he knew they were meant to be together – but with the fall of Voldemort and the Death-Eaters being even stronger than ever he didn’t know how he was going to keep her safe.

“Knut for your thoughts.” He heard Ginny say as she sat up beside him pulling the soft cotton sheet around her.

“Hmmm? Oh – nothing…. Just thinking about how you used to be such a skinny little runt of a Weasley. Hey!” Harry jumped as Ginny pinched his side.

“Runt of a Weasley? Is that what you think of me Potter?” Ginny laughed and pounced on top of him pushing him down on the bed. Letting her red hair tickle his shoulders, she kissed him on his scar, moving her mouth down to his lips.

Harry looked into Ginny’s brown eyes and then down her body, his heart swelling with more love for her…”Well…. Not as skinny as Ron….”he trailed off as he appraised her, “but I suppose you’ll do.” Ginny opened her mouth to protest his comment but he covered it with his – kissing her more deeply, pouring as much love as he could into it.


Thinking she heard a noise come from James’ room she pulled her eyes away from her memory. Listening closely, she heard her son roll over in his sleep. Sighing she glanced back at the pensieve – of all the memories that hurt the most – that was it. It had been the one of the first times Harry had stayed with her and they had made love. Of course, the contraception charms she performed had been half heartedly; she had loved Harry so much that at the time she didn’t care if she got pregnant. At the time she had been so sure that Harry would never leave her – it was that particular night that James was conceived. Looking back when Dr. Finnigan told her she was pregnant she knew what night it had happened. And although her heart was broken with Harry’s abandonment Ginny knew at that moment she had a new life to think about.

Ginny wiped away a tear she hadn’t felt falling and closed off the pensieve. Placing it back in the open closet she closed the door and moved to the side of her double bed to turn down the covers. Most nights, she fell into bed content and with a smile on her face. And although today was the day her beautiful baby boy had turned 4, a weight was still on her shoulders. Climbing under the thick quilt Molly had made for her last Christmas, and whispering “Nox” she extinguished the light beside her bed.

Chapter 3: Old Friends and Sleepless Nights
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“Cripes mate!” Ron exclaimed as he opened the door to see Harry. A smile broke out on both of the men’s faces as they grabbed each other in a fierce hug. “Come in!” Ron broke the embrace first to usher his best friend into the flat he shared with his wife, Hermione.

“It’s so great to see you Ron. I’m sorry about Saturday. I didn’t realize…..”Harry trailed off – not knowing what to say. The shock of it all still hadn’t worn off.

“Harry – no need to apologize – well to me anyway – it was just a shock to see you home after all this time.” Ron gestured for Harry to sit in the armchair by the fire. “The family knew you were coming – none of us realized that you’d arrive on one of the biggest days of the year!”

Harry blushed. He was dreading the moment he seen Ron again; especially after his grand entrance on Saturday. But thankfully, Ron was still Ron and welcomed Harry back as if he had never had disappeared for nearly five years.

“Want a butterbeer?” Ron asked and got up to fetch them from the kitchen when Harry gave a nod of his head. Harry looked around the living room of the flat. It was so strange to know that Ronald Weasley, best mate, was on his own and married to his other best mate Hermione. You could tell Hermione ruled the roost in this place – her touches were everywhere. Books were strewn across the coffee table, notes with spells beside them and fresh yellow and pink flowers on the mantle above the fireplace. Not many people knew this about Hermione; she loved to have fresh flowers in every room of her home. But as Harry looked closer he could see touches of Ron. The broomstick propped up in the corner by the entrance hall, the latest copies of which broomstick and quidditch weekly mixed in with Hermione’s books.

Harry could hear Ron moving around in the kitchen and decided to get a better look around the living room his friends now shared. Moving over to the fireplace, he examined a grouping of photos on the mantle surrounding Hermione’s flowers. In the first, a very happy Ron and Hermione looked out at him and waved on their wedding day before turning back to gaze at each other lovingly. Harry had so wanted to be there for both of them. Ron had sent an owl asking him to be his best man at the wedding but Auror commitments and the need for staying undercover meant Harry had to turn him down. It was one of the hardest things Harry had ever had to do but it was done out of the need to keep those he cared for the most safe.

Next was a picture of Ron in action at a Quidditch match. After finally gaining the confidence that everyone around him knew he had at being the keeper for the Gryffindor team in their fifth and sixth years at Hogwarts, Ron went on to be keeper for his favorite Quidditch Team, the Chudley Cannons. Two years ago, during the height of the war, the Quidditch Cup had been played in nearby France. Harry had proudly gone, albeit undercover in his invisibility cloak to cheer on his best friend as he played keeper for the national team.

Harry’s eyes were roaming over the sea of other pictures - Hermione and her parents in the jungles of the Amazon, the Weasley family portrait - when his eyes zoned in on one particular. It was of Ginny and Hermione sitting on the big, comfy couch at the Burrow. Both were laughing and waving to the camera, but on Ginny’s knee was a small black haired baby. Still chubby with baby fat he squealed and bounced in her arms. Harry felt like someone had just punched him in the stomach.

Harry sighed heavily… seeing Ginny as a mother was the last thing he expected when he returned from war. He wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to happen. The entire time he was gone he hoped that she hadn’t found anyone else to replace him. Harry recalled the jealousy he felt when Ginny had started seriously dating in his sixth year and of course the conflict of the new feelings he had felt for her. She was his best mate’s younger sister after all.

Harry heard Ron approaching from the kitchen and turned. “Oy!” Ron said, setting two full mugs of butterbeer on the table near where they had first sat when Harry arrived. “Here we go. Two cool, crisp butterbeers.” Ron looked over to where Harry stood. “Harry – what’s up? You look like you just lost your best mate – which you haven’t because I’m right here!” Ron chuckled and Harry smiled slightly at his attempt at humour. Moving over to the couch Harry picked up his mug and drank deeply. It had been nearly 3 years since his last cold butterbeer. While on Auror duty he hadn’t been allowed to have anything except what was standard issue from the ministry. And that had resulted in pumpkin juice and water and in no particular order.

“Ron – you must think I’m the world biggest prat.” Harry said quietly, setting his mug down. “First I get Ginny pregnant, abandon her and everyone else around me, disappear for near 5 years, and miss both of my best friends’ wedding!

Ron’s mouth opened and closed – this what not what he had expected Harry to say. “Geez Harry – you are a prat of course, possibly not the world’s biggest one though. Sure I wish you had been around for the wedding and for Ginny of course – but you were saving the world!! You didn’t know that after Voldemort was defeated that the Death Eaters would continue their campaign. None of us could have forseen it. And if you could have – you would have made it to the wedding. As for Ginny and James… well we all told her to Owl you when she first found out and told us – but she refused.” Ron took a long swig of his drink and set it down, waiting for Harry to say something.

Harry was speechless – being defended for his actions; especially regarding Ginny. “She refused?” Harry couldn’t believe it. After all they shared and planned for after the war – but then that was before he left her without a word of goodbye

“Yeah – even with Hermione and Mum and even Dad telling her to find you – let you know you were going to be a father but she was adamant. At first she was just angry with you for disappearing on her and not saying goodbye. But then that grew into a fear of you being distracted and getting hurt doing your auror duties. Then she was just afraid that the Death Eaters would target her if they found out she was pregnant with Harry Potter’s child.” Ron chuckled at the shocked expression on his friends face. Harry wasn’t accustomed to Ron speaking his mind – that was Hermione’s job in their friendship. “I can see where both of you are coming from. You’ve got me torn mate. Part of me wants to rip a strip off you because Ginny and James have been on their own since the day he was born. And the other half of me wants to celebrate that you are home and safe AND that you helped to save the world and end the war."

Harry opened his mouth to say something – he wasn’t sure what it would be until the words started coming – when he heard a loud crack in the entrance way. “Ronald Weasley!” came the shout. “Were you raised in a barn? Why is there a broomstick lying in the hallway and dirty Quidditch robes in my closet!!” Ron smiled at Harry and jumped up from the chair he had been occupying.

“Darling –“he replied. I was just about to put those away when company arrived. I have practice first thing and I didn’t want to dirty a new set.”

“Company? Who is calling at this hour?” Hermione rounded the corner to the living room with a scowl on her face – seeing Harry however, made her smile wide as she launched herself at him as he was rising to greet her.

“Harry! How lovely to see you! I’m so glad you are here! I’ve been worried about you since last Saturday – why did you take so long to visit?” She hugged him fiercely.

“Hi Hermione.” Harry greeted her sheepishly – not knowing which answer to give first.

“A hug for the hero I see – but not even a kiss for your husband. And that after his long day on the Quidditch pitch. See Harry? This is what you have to put up with when you get hitched. An ungrateful –“ Ron’s sentence was cut short by Hermione who had heaved a pillow at his head.

“Oh – Harry never mind my silly questions – do you have a place to stay? I imagine you do – it’s only been 2 days since your return. You have your rucksack with you? Great – you can stay here! We’d love to have you stay. Our couch is very comfy. Just ask Ron – he’s spent many a night on it!” Hermione laughed as she finished her sentence glancing at Ron with a look of love. Harry watched his two friends – feeling on the fringe but at the same time being so happy they were together. As mismatched as Ron and Hermione seemed at times, he knew they would never have found a more perfect match for each other.

*~~*

Harry sank down onto the couch in Ron and Hermione’s living room. He smiled as he listened to them both go through the routine of getting ready for bed – still after all the years of knowing the two of them – they still playfully bickered over things.

As Harry lay in the dark his mind began to clear. Although he had failed his Occumency lessons with Snape – during his war service he had honed this ability. Feeling safer than he had since his first night ever at Hogwarts – Harry fell asleep.

Waking with a start – Harry grabbed his wand from underneath his pillow. Despite clearing his mind before going to bed – he dreamt of Ginny. As he did many nights, the dream wasn’t a good one. In it – a death eater had kidnapped the Weasley’s and was holding them for ransom. Try as he might – Harry couldn’t save them all. The last scene he would dream before jolting himself awake would be Ginny lying amongst the dead members of her family saying ”You didn’t save us, Harry,” right before she would die along side her brothers and parents. Tonight the dreams were along the same lines except now a little boy was sitting alongside his Mum – his dark hair falling in his eyes as he cried in fear of what was happening around him.

“Harry?” came a voice in the darkness. Lumos, Harry chanted making a ball of light appear at the end of his wand, he reached for his glasses to see Hermione in the door to the kitchen. “Oh – did I wake you? I was just heading to get a glass of water.”

“No – no, you didn’t wake me. I was having a dream that startled me.” Sitting up straight he motioned for Hermione to join him for a moment. She climbed into the chair across from Harry and drew her knees up underneath her. “Glass of water eh? Is Ron snoring still that bad?” He grinned wickedly.

Hermione rolled her eyes – “Never been worse! You think that after hearing the stories from you and Neville and Dean and Seamus I would know better than to share a room with the git. I tell him that if he would just perform the allergen reducer charm before hitting the Quidditch pitch he wouldn’t be so stuffed at night. But he never has listened to me!” Hermione looked over at Harry, who was sitting there with a strange smile on his face. “What?” she replied.

“Oh nothing – I’ve always known that the two of you had to be together forever eventually – but knowing it’s happened. Well it makes me happy – lets me know that all is not lost in this world.” After a pause, Harry ventured on with what he wanted to know. “Hermione? Can you tell me what he’s like?”

“Ron? You want to know what Ron is like?” Hermione answered, a look of shock passing over her face

A look of equal shock passed over Harry’s features. “Ron? No! Oh NO!” He paused and looked at Hermione, “I meant James. What is my son like?

Hermione sighed heavily – this was not what she wished to do at 3 in the morning. But Harry was her one of best friends so she proceeded in answering him. “Well – as you know – his name is James and he’s four years old. He’s a wonderful little boy Harry! So smart and loving! He loves to watch Ron play Quidditch – I swear Ginny’s been taking him since he was born!” Seeing the look of hurt on his face, she stopped. “But I can’t tell you everything Harry, it’s not up to me. You need to talk to Ginny.

Harry nodded his head in agreement. “I know Hermione, I know. But after our last encounter I don’t know how I am going to face her again.”

Hermione moved to the couch to give her best friend a hug. “Harry?” she asked. “Do you still love and care for Ginny?” Harry’s eyes flew up to meet hers and she saw the truth staring back out at her. “Well then you know you have to do. You’ll not be fully content until you do."

Chapter 4: Encounters
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Ginny pushed at the stray hairs that had escaped the knot of hair at the top of her head, even though it was a lost cause to even think about fixing it – she heaved the large pile of blankets off of the shelf in the supply closet at St. Mungo’s. The influx of injured DA soldiers had finally tapered off – but the hospital was at capacity. They were taking on as many witches and wizards as they could and the architects were trying to build extra wings as quickly as possible but it still resulted in wizards lying in the halls on cots. Being a first year Healer, Ginny had been taken off duty on the children’s ward to help out downstairs.

She entered the make shift ward which had formerly served as a lunch room. Witches and wizards of all ages were lying in rows. Ginny moved over to the far edge of the room and to begin to hand out additional blankets. Most of the patients in the room were non-communicative. Thrown into an awake coma by too many Crucio! Curses they lay on their cot staring at the ceiling. Ginny set the blankets on a table and performed a quick wingardium leviosa spell to keep the blankets in the air and close by – she took the first off the pile and moved to the first bed in the row. Smoothing down the blanket she moved to the next, silently saying a prayer for each witch and wizard that lay on the cots.

Smoothing the blanket down across the shoulders of her fifth patient, Ginny looked down at a witch in what seemed to be her late twenties. Her eyes showed no life as she stared at the ceiling. Ginny moved to the end of the bed and picked up the scroll attached to the foot of the cot. Reading the name at the top, she let out a sharp gasp – the lifeless body laying in the cot in front of her was none other than Nymphadora Tonks! Ginny looked her over –once a vivid and strong spirit, Tonks hair was limp and greasy- no longer a bright vibrant colour it lay on the pillow as a dull blonde. Ginny’s eyes ran down the scroll – victim of the Cruico curse. An intense sadness washed over Ginny – it was always harder for her when she knew her patient personally. Tonks had been such a wonderful person. Ginny had met her when Voldemort had first returned and Dumbledore had reconstructed the Order of the Phoenix to fight against his evil, The first time she was introduced to her at Grimmauld Place, Ginny knew that Tonks had a good soul. She cared about all those around her and wouldn’t let harm come to them if she could help it. And when she had declared her love to Remus Lupin not long after Dumbledore’s death during Ginny’s fifth year, Ginny knew Tonks was special. And now here she was, lying on a cot in the middle of St. Mungo’s; trapped inside her mind, her spark for life seemingly gone.

And that is how Harry first came across Ginny for the second time since returning to London. He had traveled to St. Mungo’s for two reasons. Mainly, knowing that he had to see Tonks and find out for himself how she was doing. During the war years, Tonks had become a close friend to Harry. On many a reconnaissance mission, the two aurors had shared their hopes for what they would do when the war was over. For Harry, it was simple – he wanted to return to the regular wizarding world, settle down, and start a family. Tonks had other dreams, wanting to travel the world with Remus and take in as much as she could.

His other reason for being there was for a standard checkup – the Aurors were required to see a Healer when they left action. The official statement was that it helped them to reintegrate with regular wizarding society. Because Harry had never taken time off during the war he had been able to steer clear of Healers altogether and that is how he generally liked it. However, looking across the room at Ginny, he thought there was one certain red-headed Healer he’d like to let take care of him.

Great, Harry thought, now what do I do? If she would just move away from Tonks, I could go forward see her and be done with it. But Ginny didn’t appear to be moving any time soon. Her eyes moved from the patient scroll in her hands and then to Tonks lying on the bed; Harry could see the sadness cross over her face as she read further down. The scroll probably had a detailed account of what had happened to Tonks. The injustice of it all was the fact that it had happened only 2 days before the war officially ended.

Deciding it would be near impossible for him to visit Tonks and not be noticed by Ginny, he walked down the narrow aisle towards his colleagues’ bed.

“Never expected to see Tonks in here did you?” Harry said softly near Ginny’s ear. Startled, Ginny whirled around, her free hand flying to her heart and her expression changing from sadness to shock.

“Harry! What are you doing here? “ After the words were out of her mouth, Ginny realized the absurdity of it. She was standing in front of Tonks after all.

“Hello Ginny,” Harry said, “I’m sorry I startled you. I was just coming for a quick visit with Tonks before I head to the eighth floor for my examination.” Harry moved over to look at his friend lying motionless in the bed.

“Your examination?” Ginny queried. Then realization kicked in. “Oh! You’re medical examination!” She could feel her cheeks getting hot, not two days ago Ginny was performing examinations on some of the DA soldiers and aurors that were returning home.

“Yeah – its some standard thing they make you do I guess. Try to get you to acclimate as quickly as possible back into the general wizarding population.” Harry looked up at Ginny. “So do you know what the course of action is going to be for her? Will she get better?”

Ginny stared back at Harry – not knowing what to say to him. “Harry…. Do you want the honest truth?” Not that she could have given him anything but the truth. One thing she had never been able to do and that was to lie to him. “The curse she was hit with was pretty severe.”

Harry snorted, using sarcasm and anger to cover the hurt he was actually feeling. “Severe isn’t the word for it. She was hit with 3 simultaneous curses. The Malfoy’s were at the centre of them - I was there. She didn’t have a chance to deflect any of them. And that’s all that scroll says – is she was hit with a severe curse?”

Ginny’s cheeks turned a deep shade of pink as her temper rose and she responded in a harsh whisper. “Gee Harry, if you already knew what happened to her – why did you bother to ask? I don’t know if she will improve. I don’t know what course of action we’ll take. She just arrived – that’s why she’s lying on a cot in the middle of our cafeteria.”

Instantly Harry knew he had said the wrong thing. “Ginny…. “ He began.

But Ginny’s temper had already started to flare up and she knew she had to try and control it before she created a scene. “No Harry – don’t say a thing – don’t even bother. I think you had better get upstairs for your appointment. The Healers that are performing them are on a tight schedule. It’s on the fifth floor.” With that, Ginny set Tonks’ scroll down, turned on her heel, summoned the levitating blankets and moved to the next patient.

Knowing he gone about the whole encounter wrong and he had been dismissed; Harry moved over to Tonks’ bedside, gave her hand a gentle squeeze and promised softly that he would return later to see her again. Giving one last look in Ginny’s direction, Harry left the makeshift ward.

*~~*

“Mummy? Can we play in the park tomorrow?” James asked his mother as she soaped his wild black hair in the bathtub. Ginny loved this time of day – when she got to come home and see her son. When she had returned today she’d grabbed him up in a fierce hug and hadn’t let him go until he squirmed out of her embrace.

“Hmmm?” Ginny said, gently massaging berry scented bubbles into his hair. “The park you say? Well I think we can do that. How did you know Mummy had the day off tomorrow?”

James giggled and splashed in the tub. “Nanny Edgy told me right before you came home. I’m excited! I wanna swing high on the swings!” Ginny giggled with her son, and smoothed his hair into a mohawk with its soap. Reaching for a mirror she kept on the side of the sink she held it in front of James’ face. Shrieking with laughter he splashed even harder.

*~~*

Ginny tucked James under his blankets and kissed his forehead. “Now I want you to go to sleep. Mummy is going to straighten up the flat. “

“Ok Mummy” James yawned. “And we’ll go to the park tomorrow?”

“Sure will my little Quidditch-bug. And… “ Ginny paused, “ Uncle Ron plays Quidditch tomorrow in Chudley. “

“Can we go? Can we? Can we?” James bounced under his covers and Ginny laughed at his excitement. She had planned to wait until after the park to tell him but after her encounter with Harry that afternoon at St. Mungo’s she changed her mind.

“Well we will… but only if you’re a good boy and go to sleep this very moment!” James threw his arms around his mother’s neck and squeezed hard.

“Yay! I love you Mummy!” Ginny untangled herself from his arms and tucked him back in. Pressing a kiss once more on his forehead she rubbed her nose against his.

“I love you too Quidditch-bug.” Ginny then moved to the door way and extinguished his light with a Nox spell.

Moving out into the living room, Ginny started to pick up the toys and books that had been left out around the room. When she had arrived home that evening after working at St. Mungo’s, she had just wanted to spend time to James and not worry about the little tasks that needed to be done. They had spent the time before his bath playing with his enchanted wizard set and reading Quidditch-Charlie books.

Ginny was placing the last of the books onto the shelf when she heard a ‘swoosh’ behind her. Turning around – she was surprised to see an owl perched on the back of her sofa. Doing a double take – she realized it was not just any owl, but a beautiful snowy white owl that hooted at her softly when she laid her eyes upon her.

“Hedwig! Hello!” Ginny moved from the bookshelf to the sofa to see what Harry’s owl had brought to her. Sticking its talon out to her, Ginny carefully removed the scroll that was attached to Hedwig. “Thank you Hedwig – just one moment and I’ll get you an owl treat from the kitchen.” Ginny jumped up from the arm of the sofa and moved into the kitchen; returning with some mouse flavoured treats. Holding them in the palm of her hand, Hedwig gently took them in her beak. Swallowing them down, she clicked her beak at Ginny and held out her talon once more. Taking this to mean that Ginny should read what was on the scroll and respond, she opened the scroll slowly, her heart quickening in her chest, afraid of what she may read on the parchment.

Ginny ~ I just wanted to apologize for this afternoon. As you know, we have much to discuss now that I have returned. Would you possibly be able to meet tomorrow? Hedwig has been told to stay at your flat until you respond. And you know my owl won’t take ‘no’ for an answer! ~Harry

Ginny looked over at Hedwig who paused in her preening and looked at Ginny with her yellow-lamplight eyes. “Ok – Hedwig, one second and let me get some parchment. Ginny rose from the chair she had sat in to read the letter and moved to the old roll-top desk in the corner to fetch her quill and her parchment. Dipping her quill in the ink she wrote:

Harry ~ no need to apologize, but you must remember that even though it was a few years ago, I also knew Nymphadora Tonks at one time. She was a great witch and didn’t deserve what happened to her. None of them did. As for meeting you tomorrow – I think it is quite important that we do. I will be heading to the park near my flat at noon tomorrow. James and I are having a picnic and spending the day there. Ask Hermione or Ron for the address when Hedwig returns with this letter. ~ Ginny

Re-reading it at least a half-dozen times, Ginny finally tied the note onto Hedwig’s talon and with one final click of her beak as if to say – thank you, she flew off into the night


Chapter 5: Picnics and Quidditch
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Ginny couldn’t remember the last time she had been this nervous. Thinking back it must have been the first summer Harry had to come to visit Ron at the Burrow. She had had a terrible crush on him most of her life and all of her brothers had teased her mercilessly about it. Now old insecurities and shyness were bubbling up inside her.

On top of the fact that she once more felt like a teenager with a celebrity crush, that had resulted in an entire night of restless sleep; James had been a bit of a holy terror in the morning. He had refused to eat the Wizard-O’s she poured him at breakfast, stating Nanny Edgy always hexed them to shout OOOOOO as he ate them and if they didn’t say OOOOO then he wasn’t going to eat them. Then when it came time for the two to dress, James felt the need to wear a set of robes that were covered in paint stains from his artistic endeavors. Once Ginny settled him down with stern, if you do not behave from now on James Arthur Weasley – you will not be seeing your Uncle Ron playing Quidditch this evening and instead will be coming straight home and going to bed – she had to decide what to dress herself in. After going through what seemed like her entire selection of robes, she settled on a set of dark green robes that made her long, red hair seem redder and shiner than usual. After a few touch ups in the mirror, she and James left and made their way down to the park near their flat.

Harry saw them coming as Ginny and James made their way through the entrance of the park. He watched as she carried a large bag that seemed to be overflowing with toys, a blanket and of course, the makings of a picnic that she had mentioned in her response last night. She was wearing a set of dark green robes which that Harry noticed was complimenting her features and making the knot in his stomach grow more intense. With her free hand, Ginny was holding tightly to James – even from the distance he was at – Harry could see that Ginny was smiling widely and telling the small boy to calm down and they would be settled soon enough.

As they drew nearer, Harry began to get more nervous. How would she introduce him to his son? Would she introduce him at all? Or not acknowledge him until after James was occupied with the other small wizards on the jungle-gym or the swings? Harry’s thoughts were quickly diverted when Ginny looked up from watching James in front of her and locked eyes with him. Lowering her eyes back to James quickly, she murmured something to the boy that Harry could not make out and maneuvered him in his direction.

“Hello Harry.” Ginny said as they approached, hoping he wouldn’t hear the wobble in her voice. “I’m glad that you could come and spend the day with us.” She lowered her bag onto the ground and kneeled by her son. “James, this is Harry Potter. Harry is a good friend of Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione and Mummy. Harry is going to spend the day with us, if that is ok with you? Harry, “she paused looking up at him, “this is James.”

James, naturally an up front little boy, decided to play shy upon introduction. As Ginny rose he hid behind Ginny’s robes, peeked up at Harry and said, “You’re the man that made Mummy cry at my birthday.”

Harry could not hide the look of surprise on his face. Obviously this boy didn’t miss a beat so he tried to cover up that incident as best he could. Kneeling down to James’ level, Harry looked into a matching set of bright green eyes. “Nice to meet you James.” He said sticking out his hand for the boy to take. “And yes, I am the man that made your Mummy cry at your birthday. I am really sorry about that and I would like to apologize to the both of you for that. Your Mummy hadn’t seen me in a long time and it was quite a shock to her. We used to be very good friends before you were born.” At the end of the sentence, Harry looked up from his position near the ground to look at Ginny. Trying to gauge if he had said the right thing, he searched her eyes for the right answer. She quietly nodded to him, holding his gaze for a moment; then turning her gaze on James and smoothing down his hair she said,

“Harry is right, it was a shock, but right now I am very hungry and I think we should set up for our picnic, what do you say about that Quidditch-bug?” James nodded to her and then hid himself in her robes once more.

Ginny attempted to pry James away from her so she could set up the blanket and get the picnic ready. It was already thirty minutes past his lunch and if he didn’t eat soon he was going to get cranky, but suddenly he was like a leech stuck to her. Ginny assumed it must be Harry’s presence that was making him shy. James was a very intuitive boy and he would have easily picked up on both of the adult’s nervousness. “James honey, Mummy can’t get lunch out unless you let go. “ This statement resulted in him pressing his face harder into the backs of her knees.

Harry took this site in and tried to hide his smile. “Ginny? What can I do to help? I can set out lunch if this is where you would like to stay.” They were situated under a large oak tree near the edge of the park and with a good view of the jungle-gym and the swings. It was the usual spot that she picked when she and James spent the day outside.

“Yes, this is fine. It’s actually where were usually set up. Good choice Harry.“ Ginny responded. “And it would be great if you could set up the lunch. I’m not sure what’s gotten into him, he’s not usually this shy.”

Harry laughed and grabbed the blue checked blanket out of Ginny’s huge bag. Unfolding it he set it down on the ground and spread it out. “Well, you know,” Harry said catching Ginny’s eye and holding it, “I seem to recall that I used to have that effect on his mother at one time.” Ginny felt her face grow hot, like she had just downed a piece of George and Fred’s fever fudge.

Once the blanket was out, Ginny was able to pry James away from her legs and sit cross-legged on a section of the blanket. No sooner was she settled when James scuttled into her lap, cuddling as close as he could to her. Ginny sighed and gave him a little squeeze and pressed a kiss on the top of his head. Of course she should have expected him to be shy and wary of Harry. The last time he had encountered this man, he had burst into the boy’s birthday party and then the two adults had been engaged in a shouting match in front of the Burrow.

Ginny watched Harry sink down on the opposite side of the blanket and pull her bag beside him. He had grown up a lot since the last time they had spent time together before he disappeared and re-joined the DA to fight the Death-Eaters. His eyes were a touch darker, possibly as a result of seeing so much death, his hands looked rougher than she remembered and his shoulders had filled out considerably.

“Ok – here we go. We’ve got some pumpkin juice.” Harry said pulling out the container and setting it beside him. “And some delicious looking chicken, salad, crisps and wait!” Harry exclaimed pushing his head in the bag. As he unpacked he was watching James pretending not to watch him. Determined to at least get a smile out of the little boy, he decided to play silly and not acknowledge the fact that he was being shy. Making a big act out of searching the bag, Harry produced what Ginny knew was James’ favorite lunch item – pumpkin chips. “What have we here now?” Harry asked with a silly smile on his face. “These look absolutely delicious! Ginny – how did you know I loved pumpkin chips?”

Ginny returned his smile and felt James look over at Harry. “You like pumpkin chips?” He asked in surprised tone. “Mummy says that only little boys and Weasley men like pumpkin chips. She says no one else would be as silly as to enjoy a food that Uncle George and Uncle Fred make!” Ginny laughed and thanked Merlin for the fact that Harry had just bonded a tiny bit with her son.

“Well you know James, your Uncles are pretty good friends of mine. What do you say we share these for lunch?” Harry responded and held the bag of them out to the little boy who was slowly easing himself off his mothers lap.

“Harry – have you ever tried pumpkin chips? “ Ginny asked, raising one of her eyebrows as she looked at him warily. “They’re not for everyone you know…”

“I’ve heard of them.” Harry responded. “Why do you ask?” Harry asked as he extracted a chip from the box and handed the rest of James.

“Well, they’re not for everyone. Fred and George put some kind of charm on them, so when an adult eats them, they well don’t taste the greatest. Unless of course, you are just big kids at heart, like Fred and George.” Looking from Ginny down to James who seemed to be watching Harry pretty intently, deciding that whatever happened to him would be worth it if he could win the affection of his son; Harry took a large bite of the chip in his hand.

It was like he had bit into a lemon that had its juice removed and replaced with the ear wax flavoured bean of Bertie Bott’s but still had its sour punch to compliment its waxy taste. Harry’s mouth twisted up into a sour puss face and his eyes began to water. Deciding it would be easiest to choke the piece he had in his mouth down his throat than spit it out, Harry swallowed. Resisting the urge not to cough it back up, Harry wiped his eyes and looked over at Ginny and James who were both clutching their sides and laughing madly. The box of pumpkin chips lay on the blanket beside James as he rolled around giggling like mad.

“Mummy! Did you see that! He acted just like Uncle Percy did when Uncle Fred gave him one! “ As he remembered the moment – he fell into a fit of giggles once more.

“Oh Harry!” Ginny said still laughing as she poured him a glass of the nearby pumpkin juice and handed to him, which he drank down quickly, trying to erase the taste from his mouth.

“Did you know that was going to happen?” He said, trying to fight the smile that was tugging at the corner of his lips.

“Well – I didn’t think you would have quite that reaction to it. As James said you did look like Percy the day Fred gave him one. Although when Percy ate it – he turned a wonderful shade of purple for the day!” She paused at looked at him closely. “Although – since you’re not as much of an uptight prat – I think you’ll stay your normal shade!” Ginny laughed again and wiped the tears away from her eyes. “How about we have some real food now?” She said reaching for the bowl of chicken.

After the pumpkin chip incident, James seemed to open up and began telling Harry about what seemed to be every little detail of his four year old life. Harry listening intently to him, taking in as much as he could of the little bundle of energy that talked a mile a minute as his hands flew back and forth as he told his stories. Ginny leaned up against the tree trunk and watched the two, letting herself fall into the moment and enjoy the fact that her son was enjoying talking to this man that was his father.

“Mummy! Can I go play on the jungle-gym? Please?” James said snapping her out of her reverie. Bouncing from foot to foot, Ginny teased him slightly, pretending she had to think about her answer. “Well – I don’t know… can Mummy had a kiss first?” Laughing as James launched himself at her and planted a big, wet sloppy kiss on her cheek, she could feel his sticky fingers in her hair, but she didn’t care, she was happy. “Ok – ok! Go play! But stay where I can see you.”

“Ok Mummy – I promise! “ James turned to Harry just before he ran off “Will you watch me climb to the top? Mummy says I’m the fastest climber ever!!” With that he took off towards the jungle gym his dark hair flying in every direction.

“And be careful!” Ginny sighed happily and turned to Harry, now that they were alone without the distraction of James between them, she suddenly felt awkward and nervous once more.

“Well.” She said at the same time Harry said “He’s great Ginny.” Followed by nervous laughter, Ginny insisted that Harry go first.

Feeling uncomfortable now that he was alone with Ginny, he plunged in –“ I was just going to say he’s great Ginny. You’ve done a wonderful job in raising him. “ Behind him he could hear an excited shout, turning he could see James scrambling up the jungle-gym to the top, waving madly and laughing. Harry raised his hand in acknowledgement and felt a rush of warmth move over him. He realized he loved his son more than he ever thought he could. He turned back to Ginny who was busy cleaning up the remains of lunch. “Let me help with that Gin –“ Harry said reaching for the empty salad bowl. Ginny immediately took it from him.

“Its ok Harry – if you could keep an eye on James for me – that’d be great! Sometimes he thinks he’s a monkey and tries to do things he shouldn’t.” She smiled up at him and Harry felt a knot grow in his stomach. Suddenly he wanted to tell her that he still loved her, never stopped loving her and beg her for forgiveness. But Harry knew that wouldn’t go over well with Ginny. He’d have to take things slow and getting to know his son had to be at the forefront.

“So where exactly did George and Fred come up with the idea for those pumpkin chips?” Harry asked as he watched James swinging off the top rung of the monkey bars.

“Me, actually.” Ginny said matter of factly. She chuckled softly when he looked at her surprisingly. “Don’t look so shocked. I was going on one day about James not eating his veggies when I wanted him too. George and Fred ran with the idea. The charm makes the pumpkin chips taste different each time you eat one. Kids love them. Adults not so much – as you know. Depending on how much “kid” you have in you the better they taste. George and Fred love them of course. I tried one by accident once and to me it tasted like tripe. They are working on a prototype for cabbage and carrots right now.”

“Ginny – that’s pretty amazing. “ Harry said, “On your part for coming up with the idea and George and Fred for making it a reality. So maybe some good can come of their talent.”

“Well Harry – if you hadn’t given them that start up money – they would probably still be trying to get enough cash together to buy their first shop. They’ve expanded you know – now they supply a vast array of Weasley Wheezes products to France and the United States.” Ginny smiled at Harry when he blushed at her compliment. Glancing at her watch she pushed herself up on her knees. “It seems like it is almost time for Ron’s Quidditch match over in Chudley. Are you heading there as well?”

Harry looked dumbstruck. He vaguely recalled Ron saying something about Quidditch this morning before he headed into London to meet with Ginny and now she was asking him if he was going. “I suppose I am – Ron did mention something this morning over breakfast, and what sort of best mate would I be if I didn’t go to his first match since I arrived home.”

“That is true.” Ginny said quietly. Spending this afternoon with Harry had made her almost forget that the past four and a half years had happened. Determined not to put a damper on an otherwise wonderful day, she stood and began to gather her things. “Would you mind watching this while I go fetch James? I’d call him over but he never listens when he’s on the jungle-gym. I’ll be a moment.” Harry nodded and picked up the heavy bag that she had carried into the park, surprised at the weight of it. Ginny was stronger than she looked it seemed. To him, she’d always been small and sweet. The perfect fit for him. She moved over to the edge of the monkey bars and called to James who had been playing with the other children. Harry couldn’t hear but she must have said the word Quidditch because he jumped off the side right into her arms. Squeezing him in a hug, she began to walk back to Harry.

“Harry! Harry!” James called to him as the two neared, “did you see me up on the monkey bars? I climbed all the way to the top!”

“Sure did! You’re a really good climber!” Harry responded reaching over to ruffle James’ hair, as he did so, his eyes met Ginny’s over the boy’s head. He stopped and looked at her, wondering if she was having the same sort of thoughts as himself. Harry was thinking how natural this all felt. Ginny, himself and James spending an afternoon at the park, picnicking and then watching James play on the monkey bars while the two adults talked. To be honest, he had pictured this scene in his mind a time or two when he was out on reconnaissance as an Auror. He had kept these thoughts close to his heart, although when he had played it through in his mind – it was a little girl that Ginny held in her arms. But now, after meeting James and falling in love with his son, he wouldn’t replace him for all the brooms in Northern London.

“Harry? Would you like to come up to the flat with us while I get James changed? Its just nearby and we can use my port key to Chudley – all of the players families get one. I would apparate but I am still afraid of James getting splinched.” Ginny set James on his feet and took his hand. “And if you come, then I won’t have to lug that bag back to the flat myself!” She laughed and caught his eye and smiled at him. All Harry could do was nod and return the smile, so together the three of them walked back to the flat.

*~~*

“Harry? “ James asked as they walked into the stadium at Chudley. “Are you going to cheer for Uncle Ron? Because if you don’t you can’t sit with us.”

“James!” Ginny cried in surprise. “Harry can cheer for whomever he likes and not just your prat of an uncle! However,” she continued, “if he doesn’t we may just have to perform my world-famous bat bogey hex on him!” James laughed heartily at this and looked at both of the adults holding his hands as he walked in between him. He had decided he liked this tall, quiet man that spent the day with him. Liked him very much indeed.

The group made their way up the stands where Hermione was waiting for them. “Harry! Ginny! I didn’t realize the two of you would both be coming. Although Ginny and James never miss a game if they can help it. Ron had been unsure of whether or not you were coming.”

“Hi Aunt ‘Mione! You know my new friend too? Harry Potter spent the whole afternoon at the park with me and Mummy! He made her cry before but he said he was sorry and then she laughed at him when he ate one of my pumpkin chips on our picnic!” Hermione laughed at James’ enthusiastic telling of recent events and gave him a big hug hello; looking from adult to the other as they sat down. Harry’s face remained impassive and Ginny murmured a quiet we’ll talk later.

*~*

During the first of the game – Harry teased the 3 of them – Ginny, Hermione and James - by stating that he was in fact NOT going to cheer for Uncle Ron – his reasoning was that his former Gryfinndor captain – Oliver Wood was manning the opposition’s goal. He shared with the group stories of Wood’s practices and drills – embellished of course – how he had made them train in the rain for days on end, in the rain, snow and sleet. Ginny and Hermione didn’t buy it of course – but James sat on the edge of his mother’s knee, wide-eyed at the stories. It wasn’t until Ginny drew her wand and mimed ‘bat-bogey hex’ to Hermione that he gave in and promised to cheer for Ron.

And so Harry cheered heartily at the game although his thoughts were elsewhere. Ginny was sitting entirely too close for his liking. Harry could smell her shampoo – lavender? – but when she glanced in his direction he averted his eyes – it was like they were back at Hogwarts and he was finally realizing she was there and was more than just the youngest Weasley. Or in the days following Voldemort’s demise – when he wrestled with ways to tell her that he still cared deeply for her and he wanted her to take him back. Merlin’s beard, Harry thought to himself, What am I going to do? I’ve hurt her twice – how will she take me back now?

He heard the screams of joy erupt around him when the seeker finally found the golden snitch. Harry thought to himself that it had taken her entirely too long to find. He’d seen it flit by at least 4 times and it made his hands itch to get back on the broom. Perhaps at the next Weasley Sunday Dinner he would see if the boys would like to get up in the air and let him stretch his broomstick. Harry wondered if Ginny would like to play as well – she had been a good little seeker in her day as well as a scorer. But now that she was a mother – did she spend her time in the kitchen with Molly? Did she spend the day watching the new batch of Weasley children with Bill and Charlie’s wives? What did she do now? He was still thinking of the possibilities when the witch that had been the centre of his thoughts for the past week invaded them bringing him to the surface and back to reality.

“Earth to Harry.” Waving her hand in front of her eyes – Ginny looked at him – he was definitely lost in his thoughts. Poking him with her wand she said in her best McGonagall impression. “Potter – if I catch you one more time daydreaming – you’ll be serving 10 detentions with Professor Snape!” Laughing as he snapped to and focused on her, Ginny patted his knee. “I knew that would get you. Come on – we’ve got to meet Ron down by the team room. Hermione’s already gone ahead with James. I swear the boy won’t stay still sometimes – keeps me on my toes for sure.”

Harry sat for a moment – stunned. She was patting his knee! Much to close for comfort – Harry was glad he was wearing his robes in addition to his muggle clothing. Ginny’s hand on his knee brought back memories of a time when they’d be sitting quietly together in her flat –and she would place her hand on his knee and then stroke his thigh – it had always been her way of inviting him to her bedroom. Clearning his throat – Ron in the shower, Snape in a bathing suit! Malfoy kissing Pansy Parkinson – he thought quickly trying to dispel the warm thoughts of Ginny.

“Sorry about that.” He said sheepishly as he blushed. “My mind wandered there for a moment.”

“That’s fine Potter – but next time – I’m leaving you behind!” Ginny hopped to her feet and with a final glace at him proceeded down the stairs to the Cannon’s team room.

*~~*

“Uncle Ron – you were great!” James said running over to where his uncle was signing autographs for his adoring Quidditch fans.

“Oy! Thanks mate! Made those saves for my best girl! Speaking of which – there she is!” Ron looked up to see Hermione running down the corridor.

“James Weasley! You were supposed to stay near me – when your mother finds out – “ Hermione’s tirade against her nephew was cut short when her husband grabbed her around the waist to plant a big kiss on her lips.

“EEEWWWWW” Came a young voice followed by retching sounds below the two. James moved in between them and pushed them apart. “Uncle Ron – don’t you know girls give you cooties?” He said in quite a matter of fact voice. “The only girl you should kiss is your Mum.” Earning a huge laugh from both his aunt and uncle – Ron scooped up James in a fierce hug.

“True you are mate! But every once in awhile I need to kiss my wife.” He responded jovially. “Otherwise I end up having to sleep on the couch in the sitting room.” He turned to Hermione to see her expression – she was fighting back a grin. “But James you need to stay with your Aunt Hermione – if your Mum has left you with her. Speaking of Ginny where is she?”

“She waited back for Harry. They arrived at the match together.” Hermione said – adding extra emphasis on the fact that Ginny and Harry had arrived together. Ron raised his eyebrows at this statement but was not able to garner an answer from his wife as the two in question rounded the corner to the left of him.

“Great game Ron!” Ginny said as she seen the three standing off to the side of the door. “I was a little afraid there for awhile. Almost felt I needed to pull out the old ‘Weasley is our King’ song. But once again you’ve surprised me!” She laughed and dodged out of the swing of her brother’s arm.

“Ginny – I swear – one of these days I’m going to catch you – and not even your hexes are going to save you!” Ron joked to his sister. Setting his nephew down – he gave her a hug and whispered in her ear. “What’s up Gin?” Ginny hugged him back and replied,

“Nothing.” Which in fact was the truth. Ginny couldn’t believe that she and James had just spent the entire day with Harry only to have nothing come about. Once they had gotten over their initial awkwardness – it was like they were old friends again. Well, friends that shared a son. And a pretty rocky past. They hadn’t even broached the subject of explaining to James exactly who Harry was to him. But of course that was easy when they had James between them to help distract them from the big white elephant in the middle of the room.

“Hey guys. Why don’t we head down to the pub for a quick butterbeer. Ginny – I know you would like to get James home but he’s so wired right now why not come down for a bit?” Hermione asked the group of them.

“Yeah! Mummy? Please can we go? I’ll be good and not be tired in the morning – I promise!!” James bounced in the middle of the loose circle of adults.

“How can I refuse?” Ginny said laughing – normally after the match – she headed home with James to make sure he was tucked into his bed at a normal time. But since today was not a normal day - he was likely not going to sleep right away anyways – she took his hand and followed Ron, Hermione and Harry out into the street outside the Quidditch stadium.

*~~*

“Ginny!” Came a cry from the side of the pub as they entered. Ginny turned her head to see Colin Creevey waving from a corner table where he sat with his younger brother Dennis and a gaggle of younger witches. The two Creevey brothers hadn’t been separated it seemed since Dennis became a member of Gryfinndor House in Ginny’s second year. The two made a great duo in the wizarding world of journalism. Colin had become a world famous photographer – finding himself in the deep trenches of the war. While Dennis reported to The Daily Prophet from the front lines. Being a close friend to Ginny, Colin had reported back to Ginny whenever he had caught a glimpse of Harry while he was on assignment, even though it was not often.

Colin got up and wandered over to the spot where the group was settling themselves. It was then his eyes fell upon Harry. “Harry Potter! Is it really you then? You’re back from the front? I never expected to see you back in Britain so soon!” Harry’s cheeks pinked from the adoration in Colin’s voice – even after all these years he hadn’t gotten used to having a ‘fan base’, contrary to what the general public thought.

“Hello there Colin – how are you doing? “ Harry responded – hoping not to answer his questions. The truth of the matter was that Harry was supposed to spend another 6 months at the front helping to repair and rebuild the areas damaged during the war – but as his sleepless nights had increased – Mad Eye Moody and Lupin had sent him home on leave. Telling him to recharge and releax. So far neither had been accomplished. The nightmares that plagued him were still hovering on the edge of his sleep and after seeing Tonks lying in the bed at St. Mungo’s – anxiety and worry about what could have happened kept creeping up at him when he least expected it.

“Not bad – not bad. Taking in Ron’s Quidditch match were you? Perhaps we’ll soon see you on the National Team. Talent like yours never disappears there Harry!” Colin responded making himself at home at the table.

“Erm – yes – well who would like a butterbeer? My treat.” Harry asked eager to get away from the table and Colin. His boisterous speech was causing eyes to turn in their direction.

“Make it four Harry and a pumpkin juice for James please.” Ginny responded, looking over at her son. Being as it was creeping up to his bedtime, James had gotten quieter and was snuggling up to his mother’s side. Ginny figured by the time she drank her butterbeer it would be time to head home.

Harry moved over to the main bar to place his order. Feeling someone approach his side he turned to see Ron. “Figured I’d help you out mate – somedays I can’t stand old Creevey myself. We should be glad Dennis was occupied with those witches. Otherwise you’d have been holding a press conference right here at the Creaky Broomstick.

“Yeah – heads were starting to turn weren’t they? That’s all I need is a press conference. What is he doing anyways – coming over like he’s a long lost friend?” Harry asked as he picked up two of the butterbeers and James’ pumpkin juice, leaving two of the mugs for Ron to carry.

“Colin? Well Harry you got to admit he is sort of a long lost friend. You’ve known him since he started at Hogwarts you realize.” Harry shrugged – that was true. “Plus – he and Ginny are pretty good friends. They get together once every two weeks or so to have dinner.” At that statement – Harry felt a twinge of jealousy start to grow in the pit of his stomach. Ginny – Colin? Good friends? They get together for dinner? Harry looked over at the two in question at the table. She was laughing at something Colin said her brown eyes lighting up and her head thrown back, she patted Colin on the shoulder and hugged James to her side. Maybe she has feelings for Colin now. Harry thought watching the two interact. It certainly seems like she does. Suddenly Ginny looked his way and caught his eye. She smiled and beckoned him. Getting a nudge from Ron – Harry followed.
*~~*

Two hours later, the group was once more alone without Colin. Finally his brother Dennis had come to fetch him. The witches that were at their table were preparing to leave and he wanted to follow. Reluctantly, Harry watched Colin hug Ginny and ruffle a sleeping James hair. Harry grinded his teeth in frustration, Colin was acting like the two were a couple! Harry watched Colin head to the door, waiting for it to shut behind him before he turned back to see Hermione watching him from the corner of her eye. She quietly slid over to him and gave Harry a quick squeeze around the shoulders. Leaning over she whispered “Harry – not everything is what it seems.” Smiling at her old friend she turned back in time to see Ron waving down the waitress to order another round.

“Well – I think I had better head home.” Ginny said laughing as she watched Ron and Hermione on the dance floor. “Little boys don’t believe in sleeping in. Try as I might to get him to do it – when James knows its morning its time to get up!” Ginny looked over at Harry who seemed to be brooding in his butterbeer or wait – was that firewhiskey? Try as he might to cover his feelings Ginny could tell that something was bothering him. “Harry? I’m just going to let those two know that James and I are heading home. Can’t have my poor baby sleeping the night away in a pub. We’ll wait until he’s at least 5 for that!” Ginny joked trying to get Harry to smile. “Would you mind watching him?” Ginny shifted James’ sleeping form from her lap to Harry’s arms.

“Not at all.” Harry said as Ginny moved onto the dance floor to catch her brother and his wife. James shifted in Harry’s arms and seemed to snuggle in closer to his chest. Looking down at his son, Harry took in his soft features. His hair was mussed – but then in the times Harry had seen him in the past week – it never seemed to take on any other form. Just like his own. He didn’t need James to open his eyes to know his own eyes would stare back at him. And although he had never seen any sort of baby picture of him save for the ones in the small scrapbook Hagrid had given him at the end of Harry’s first year – he knew without a doubt that James looked more like him than he looked like Ginny. Harry smiled to himself as he pictured taking the two to visit his awful relatives, the Dursley’s. He imagined Aunt Petunia would probably open the door and scream – shutting it quickly in their faces; only to have Uncle Vernon reopen the door to roar at them to get off their property. No doubt Dudley was still lurking about his parents’ home. Harry recalled the last summer he had spent time there – Dudley went on and on about how he would live with his mum and dad for as long as possible while Harry was out on the street – begging for a place to stay.

“Harry?“ Ginny snapped her fingers in front of his nose – rousing him out of yet another day dream. “My, my – you have been lost in your thoughts today. Ron and Hermione are planning to stay another round. May I have James please?” Ginny said holding out her arms. Harry rose gently but swiftly out of the chair he had been occupying while holding James.

“Let me carry him out. It’s quite crowded in here and since I’m taller I can move through without having him jostled too much.” Ginny watched as he started towards the door. Quickly gathering up her things she moved to follow. Yes – Harry was quite a bit taller than her. For some reason while every other Weasley in her family had inherited their father’s height – she was stuck with her Mother’s. Had to be something to do with being the only girl. As a result – Harry was almost an entire head taller than her – but when they had been together it was never a problem. She had seemed to fit in his arms perfectly – making her feel as protected as she imagined her son must feel at that very moment.

The cool air hit Ginny’s face as she exited the pub. Harry stood off to the side and watched her exit. Her cheeks were a rosy pink and her hair was curling at the ends as a result of the heat in the pub. She moved over to where he stood.

“Would you like me to give you a lift on Ron’s broomstick? It would be much easier than portkeying back to your flat wouldn’t it?” Harry said looking down at the small sleeping form in his arms.

“Oh no – using the port key is fine. James is quite used to it – I’d be surprised if he even wakes up before I lay him down in his bed.” Harry looked quite unsure of the whole thing – causing Ginny to chuckle. Laying a hand on his arm, she said “Don’t worry Harry, we’ll be fine. I’ve been port keying and flooing home with a sleeping baby for ages now. If Mum can be fine with it – well then we all should be.”

As her fingers lay on his arm – Harry felt a warmth flood through him. He wanted to stay with them for as long as he could – his idea to fly them home was only to keep them with him for a few more moments. Quickly he said, “Well if you are sure – perhaps I can port key with you to your flat? It would ease my worries just a bit.”

Ginny giggled – the butterbeer was making her lightheaded - and looked at him. “Why Harry Potter – if I didn’t know any better I’d think you were worried about me!” She declared flirtatiously and smiling wide when his cheeks turned pink. “Oy! Have I made you blush? I’m just teasing you – I’d be delighted if you would see James and me home. He turns into such a dead weight when he’s sleeping. And don’t worry – I figured you would do this – so I‘ve already told Ron and Hermione that you would be making sure we got home ok. Here’s the deal – I hold the port key and your arm. You hold James. Sound good?” Harry nodded as she began to rummage in her bag for the port key that took the form of a baby rattle. Pulling it triumphantly from her bag – she grabbed Harry’s arm tightly and squeezed up against him as she felt the familiar tug at her belly to signify that the port key was about to move them.


“Would you like me to take James from you?” Ginny asked as they stepped through the front door of her flat. Harry groaned a yes and allowed the sleeping boy to be taken from his arms. Ginny had been right – when he fell asleep he was heavier than a sack of potatoes. “If you would just like to have a seat – I won’t be long. Just have to take off his robes and get him in his jammies, you’re welcome to come down and see his room if you would like.”

Harry hesitated and then nodded no. He wasn’t yet ready to see his son’s room or be that close to Ginny’s bedroom for that matter. He’d dreamt about being in her room since he’d left it that last time. Slipping away from her arms – he’d left without saying good bye. At the time – it had seemed like the right thing to do. Looking back he wished he had known she was pregnant. Harry knew he still couldn’t have and wouldn’t have stayed but he’d have left differently. He sighed and looked about the living room. Ginny hadn’t changed much by way of her decorating styles but the walls were now peppered with photos of her and James throughout the stages of his life. Harry looked at them all with a bittersweet feeling – Ginny looked so happy in the photos – just the way a new mother should but every so often he would notice a melancholy wave pass over her smiling face as she waved to the camera and Harry knew he had been the one to put it there.

Looking down the wall – Harry noticed one of Ginny when she was still pregnant with James. A particularly intimate portrait - she was dressed in her finest robes with her shiny red hair falling around her shoulders – her arms lovingly cradling her protruding belly. Not once did the enchanted Ginny look out at the camera – she stayed in position while her hands moved over her stomach. Occasionally, Ginny would smile wistfully and Harry knew that her smile came from the baby kicking as he turned around. Looking closely he noticed a signature near the bottom in gold that kept rewriting itself over and over again - C.C. The jealousy Harry felt earlier in the evening once more reared inside of him. Colin had been there to share those things with Ginny – while Harry never had been.

“Oh don’t look at those pictures Harry – I was big as a house!” Ginny said with a soft chuckle as she approached the wall where he was standing. “Sorry it took so long – we had a bit of a stuffed snitch emergency. James won’t sleep without it and it was kicked far back under the bed. He did want me to say good night to you though…” Ginny trailed off as she met Harry’s eyes.

“Is there anything between you and Colin Creevey?” Harry said bluntly to her.

Surprised, Ginny opened and closed her mouth a few times trying to think of a response. “Me and Colin? Why goodness Harry – no! What makes you think that?”

Harry gestured towards the wall of photos as he spoke. “Well Ginny – most of these were shot by him. He wouldn’t leave you be tonight at the Creaky Broomstick. I’m surprised Dennis didn’t have to drag him away from you!”

“Harry – Colin and I – we’re just friends. He sometimes wishes there could be something more – but if we were really together do you think I’d have let him leave with 3 of the loosest witches in all of London?”

Harry stared at her and felt the jealousy ebb away ever so slightly. She was making sense. Merlin’s beard- she’s beautiful - Harry thought as he stared.

Ginny’s heart started to race as Harry looked down at her. He was jealous of Colin! A small voice inside her head declared. The means he still cares for me! Ginny looked back up into Harry’s face – feeling him move in closer.

For Ginny – Harry’s kiss did not last entirely long enough. She knew the exact moment when he’d decided to take the plunge, moving in he’d kissed her softly on the lips, as if testing the waters to see if it was safe for him to move deeper. Ginny felt Harry’s arms wrap around her as he deepened the kiss. Teasing her he nipped at her lower lip before running his tongue along it. Harry felt Ginny’s hands press up against his chest as she stood on her tiptoes and kissed him back. Then abruptly – Harry let go of her and dropped his arms to his sides.

“I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to – “ Harry said as he took in her slightly disheveled appearance. Here he had promised to himself to take it slow with Ginny and his first real moment alone with her he grabbed and manhandled her!

“Sorry? For what Harry?” Ginny responded – but it ended up being only to thin air. As quickly as Harry ended their kiss he disapperated from her flat. Leaving her standing by the wall of photos – shocked and speechless.


Chapter 6: Babies
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“He kissed you?” Hermione cried out causing many of the wizards surrounding the two witches to turn and look.

Ginny immediately blushed and shushed her friend. “Hermione – perhaps you would like to say that a little louder – I don’t think Professor Flitwick heard you at Hogwarts!” Ginny pulled her chair a little closer to the small table inside the café by St. Mungo’s. It had been almost a week since Harry had left her stunned by his kiss and she didn’t know what to make of it. “Yes – one moment he was going on about me being with Colin Creevey - of all wizards - and the next he was kissing me senseless in my living room! Hermione it’s been almost a week since then and not an Owl or a visit by the man. I am reaching the end of my rope here!”

Hermione laughed at her friends’ exasperation and took a sip of the steaming cup of chai that was sitting in front of her. When Ginny had sent an owl yesterday asking they meet for coffee she hadn’t been sure what to expect – but she was rather relieved to hear that it was to discuss Harry. “Sorry for the shock Gin – but I didn’t expect you to say that. Harry’s been pretty mum since he arrived back at our flat the night of the match. Unless he’s said something to Ron – he’s been flying off early in the morning and then arriving back late at night. I usually hear him come in and leave and as to where he’s going and what he’s doing – its beyond me.”

Ginny sighed and took a drink of her roasted almond coffee and looked out the window at the passersby as they moved to and from their destinations in London. Here she had hoped Hermione could shed some light on Harry’s actions. “Well - if you don’t know what he’s up to – I guess I’ll have to wait for him to come to me. Much as I don’t like it – James has been asking where his new friend Harry is almost every day now. And I don’t know what to tell the poor little guy – sorry baby but Harry kissed Mummy while you were asleep and it scared him off?”

“Ginny! Don’t be so silly – you know you didn’t scare Harry off. He’s just being a prat and thinking he pushed too far somehow, Harry still thinks of you as delicate.” Hermione paused and watched the temper rise in her sister-in-law. “Now Gin – calm down - I know you’re not delicate. You’re one of the strongest witches I know! I figure he’s brooding. He’ll turn up soon enough – and if he doesn’t I’ll be giving him a talking to next time I catch him at the flat!”

Ginny laughed as she thought of the sort of lecture Hermione was bound to give Harry. She’d probably ambush him and give him a book on how to handle the opposite sex. Which would leave Harry as clueless as ever – silly git that he was. Pushing her too far! If Ginny had her way that night – Harry would have been pushed right back into her bedroom. She had been surprised that after nearly 5 years her feelings for him could surface with just a kiss but they had – no need to brood on it though – she knew Harry would do more than enough brooding for the two of them.

Eager to change the subject, Ginny said “So Hermione – what’s new with you?”

“Well Ginny – I’m so glad you asked. I need a favour from you. I need to swear you to secrecy for the time being though. Do you swear?” Hermione looked at her friend – waiting for a response.

Ginny didn’t wait a beat. “Of course – you know I’d never tell a soul unless you want me to. What is it?” Hermione nervously took a long drink from her cup and started twisting her napkin in her lap.

“Gin – well I need – I need a pregnancy test!” Hermione laughed a bit as Ginny’s jaw dropped to her chin in shock. “Please don’t tell anyone. Even Ron doesn’t know yet. But I read in Wizarding Medicine that normal muggle tests won’t work most times. I was ready to just pop out and get one of those until I read about the wizarding tests. If you can’t, I understand Ginny but I thought maybe because you were a healer at St. Mungo’s you could maybe help me – “

“Hermione! This is so huge! And great! Huge and great! When did you figure out you might be pregnant? And of course I can get you a test! In fact – I can do the test myself if you would like. Whenever you like – it’s a simple procedure. “ Ginny felt the tears well up in her eyes with happiness – she jumped up and moved around the table to hug her friend tightly.

Hermione felt her own eyes grow damp. “Wow – Ginny – I think you just became more excited than me! I figured it out just a few days ago. Things have been so busy at work and with Ron’s Quidditch and Harry coming home that I didn’t realize right away that I was late. It’s a simple test? Oh my goodness – is butterbeer harmful to the baby? Alcohol is really harmful to muggle babies!”

Ginny gave her friend another squeeze and sat back down in her chair. “No Hermione – you and the baby – if you are indeed pregnant – will be fine. Butterbeer only really can affect house elves. Wizards and witches can get a glow off of it but it can’t affect the baby.”

“Could we perhaps do the test today? I notified the ministry this morning that I was taking the day off and I know you are working but maybe at the end of your shift? Would that be possible? I just would like to find out soon, so I can start reading as much as I can about pregnancy and motherhood!”

Ginny laughed – leave it to Hermione to want to know just so she can read about it. “Of course we can do the test today. Why don’t you take the afternoon to relax and come up to the third floor at four o’clock? My shift will be getting over by then and I’ll set up a room for us.” Ginny threw back the rest of her coffee and stood up. She squeezed her friends shoulder. “And don’t worry – you’re secret is safe with me.” Ginny placed some sickles down on the table for the server witch and headed back out to St. Mungo’s.

*~~*
Precisely at four – Ginny looked up from her last chart and seen Hermione striding through the doors of the third floor. Waving to her friend as she hurried over – laden down with bags from her shopping excursion. “Ginny! I know – I know, I’m right on time! I was in the middle of a fascinating lecture on the uses of gillyweed in underwater herbology when I realized the time! I think I shocked those that were there with my quick exit – but I couldn’t wait any longer!”

Ginny laughed at her friends’ enthusiasm. “That’s fine Hermione – I am just finishing up with this chart and I’ll be right with you. I’ve set up for the test the examining room down the hall – fifth door on the left. If you’d like to go and get changed we can start as soon as I’m finished.” Hermione nodded and set off to get ready.

“Ok – this is a very easy test; won’t take but a minute. Are you ready?” Ginny laughed softly as Hermione sat eagerly on the edge of the examining table. Of course she was ready – if she had her way – Ginny would have been performing the test right after coffee at lunch.

“Just lay back on the table and relax Hermione.” Ginny instructed. Her tone was gentle and firm – just as Hermione expected it was when she was dealing with her patients each day at St. Mungo’s. Ginny certainly had grown up since the days immediately following Voldemorts demise. She was now confident in everything she did from her work as a healer, to being a Mummy to James. To Hermione it seemed like she knew it all.

Ginny reached into her healer’s robes and extracted her wand. First running her hand over Hermione’s stomach she pointed her wand towards her belly button and whispered the words to the incantation to reveal a pregnancy.

Ginny’s face remained impassive at first as she waited for her thoughts to unfog so she could begin to look for the feelings that Hermione was indeed pregnant. Feeling a twinge in her own belly was the first sign. Once Healers became parents themselves – they had a heightened sense of awareness for people being pregnant around them. Then as she watched – a soft glow appeared around Hermione indicating that she was indeed pregnant.

“Hermione – when is the normal end of your cycle?” Ginny asked as she began calculating when exactly the baby was conceived.

“It’s usually the third Thursday of the month. But now that I think of it – its been well over a month since I last had my period. Was I right? Am I? “Hermione couldn’t say the words – she looked to Ginny expectedly.

Ginny nodded slowly and broke out into a huge grin. “Congratulations my dear sister - You are going to have a baby!” Hermione jumped up from her prone position on the table and threw her arms around Ginny in a hug. “If my calculations are right you’re probably about 3-4 weeks along. I would suggest that you set up an appointment with your family Healer to go through all the dates you need to know – like due date!”

Hermione felt the tears of joy fall onto her cheeks. She was going to be a mother and Ron a father! “Thank you so much Ginny! I need to get home right away to tell Ron – is it ok for me to apparate now? I won’t splinch the baby will I?” Ginny shook her head no.

“No Hermione it’s perfectly fine to apparate.” Ginny realized this question was going to be the first of many. “Go home and find my brother – tell him the wonderful news. And I expect that the both of you will be letting the family know this Sunday at dinner. I don’t know if I can keep it a secret and I know that Mum will pick up on it right away. The more children you have the easier it is for you to tell if someone around you is pregnant. When a witch becomes pregnant a soft yellow aura surrounds you. The farther along you get in the pregnancy the brighter your aura is going to become. Its rather faint right now because the baby is so tiny and you were unsure of whether or not you were pregnant – but by Sunday I expect it will be bright enough for others who are looking for it or know it exists to see it.” With lightening speed Hermione changed back into her robes and dashed out the door.


Ginny watched her friend leave the room and waited to hear the *crack* to indicate she had disapperated from St. Mungo’s. Then she turned to straighten up the examination room – the feeling of joy she felt for her older brother and sister in law showing on her face as she left for the day.


Chapter 7: Saturday at the Burrow
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry approached the Burrow with some trepidation. After his unexpected appearance at James’ birthday party – he was feeling a bit out of place. Not to mention the fact that he had been avoiding Ginny like she had a bad case of dragon pox. His hesitation didn’t last long however as he was spotted by a Weasleys that were coming round the corner from behind the house.

“Well if it isn’t THE Mr. Harry Potter!” George said loudly. “Decided to finally grace us with your presence did you?” Approaching Harry, he grabbed him in a gruff hug.

“Hullo George. Nice to see you as well.” Harry said, meaning it. After Ron, the twins were Harry’s most favorite of the Weasleys. He had always had an admiration for them, they knew what they wanted to do and they pursued it, much to their mother’s dismay. And all the years that passed since Harry had donated the start up money to them; Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes was still a resounding success.

“Harry!“ Came a child’s yell from the corner of the house. Harry had enough time to catch James as the small boy launched himself at him to grab him around the knees. Throwing his arms around Harry’s neck he exclaimed, “you came! I’ve been asking Mummy when you would come to visit and she never could answer! Mummy!” James yelled loudly.

“Oy! James Weasley – lower your voice. London does not need to hear your entire life story.” Ginny yelled back – louder – to her son as she rounded the corner as well. She stopped short as she noticed who was holding James. Well, well, well – the fine Mr. Potter is gracing us with is presence. Ginny thought as she looked at him with a look of question on her face.

“Mummy! Harry came to visit. How did he know we’d be here?” James looked from adult to adult, noticing from the corner of his eye that the twin Weasleys were making a quick and silent retreat as if sensing that Ginny was ready to unleash some sort of temper on those in close surroundings.

“Well James – that is something you need to ask Harry yourself. Right now – I have to go and find Hermione and Gram-mum.” With that, Ginny turned on her heel and went into the Burrow.

James with his eyes full of questions, turned to Harry. “Well? How did you know we’d be here?” He asked bluntly. Harry chuckled and set the boy on his feet on the ground.

“Let’s just say I know sometimes how to find your Mum.” Harry responded. “How about we go out to the backyard and see if we can find some flowers for her.” Taking the little boys hand, they headed off to raid Molly’s flower garden.

*~~*

Ginny watched the two from the kitchen window as they entered the garden. “How dare he just show up here! Unannounced! After dropping from the face of the earth for an entire week!” Ginny muttered to herself as she manually chopped the chives for her mum’s gravy. Like Molly, Ginny could have used magic to get the job done but she needed to vent her frustrations. Chopping things was always the best.

“Talking to yourself again little sister?” Bill said, jumping back as Ginny whirled around with the knife. “Ok! Sorry I asked. Troubles?” He asked, moving over to the fridge to grab a baby bottle from it. Ginny sighed, setting down the knife – out of all of her brothers Bill was always the one that listened best to her.

“Sorry Bill – I didn’t realize I was speaking out loud.” Bill chuckled.

“You didn’t realize? Oh Gin – you must be really mad – you always talk to yourself when something’s got your temper up. Let me guess – “ he added looking out the window. “I bet it has something to do with a certain dark headed wizard that is at the moment raiding Mum’s flowers. And I bet it’s not your son.”

“They’re raiding her flowers? Oh my – Mum is going to have someone’s hide! It’s just that he avoids me for the entire week – don’t even ask – I won’t tell. Then he just shows up here out of the blue! He makes me so mad!” Ginny turned and resumed the chopping of the chives.

Bill moved over to his sister and gave her a little squeeze. “Gin – I’m not sure what to say to you – but maybe because he showed up today means Harry does care for you – still. I’d say he picked today because he knew you’d not make a scene in front of your family! Ow!” He laughed as she elbowed him in the ribs. “Just like that. Now I have to get this bottle to Fleur upstairs – the baby’s being fussy – and if there’s nothing scarier than a mad Weasley – it’s a mad half-Veela! Also it seems that the subject of our chat is on his way in here. And to save him the embarrassment of talking to you in front of a brother that could potentially hurt him – I’m leaving! Don’t worry Ginerva Weasley – I have a feeling that things will turn out just the way they should.”

As Bill dashed up the stairs, bottle in hand, Harry and James opened the back door and entered the kitchen.

“Hi Mummy!” James greeted her climbing up on the cupboard beside her. “May I have a pumpkin pastie?” He asked even as his hand was sneaking towards Molly’s cookie jar beside him. Ginny looked from her son over to where Harry was standing awkwardly in the door with a bunch of flowers clutched in his hand.

“Ok Quidditch-bug – but only one. I won’t have you ruining your dinner. Gram-mum will be upset if you do.” She lifted the cookie jar and let him pull out a cookie. Kissing him on the nose she lifted him off the cupboard and placed him on the floor. “Now – Uncle Bill says you two were out raiding her garden; and I see he was telling the truth.”

Harry’s cheeks pinked as he thrust the flowers out at her. “These are to apologize for my actions. I should have come sooner to see both of you. And don’t worry – I used a re-growth charm on the flowers. Molly won’t even notice they are gone. “

“Yeah Mummy – Harry is sorry. I helped to find the pretty yellow ones.” James said his mouth full of cookie.

Ginny took the flowers from his hands and laughed at the two standing side by side; one looking rather guilty while the smaller version looked quite proud of himself. “Well that is good. At least you’ve learned to do that. I remember Fred and George picking flowers from her garden to give to Mum when they were particularly bad. She’d be yelling and laughing at them as she chased them out of the kitchen every time. Accio flower vase!” Ginny summoned the crystal vase on the top of the hutch, filling it halfway with fresh water, she placed the makeshift bouquet inside. “Now how did you know that the yellow ones were my favorite?” She asked kneeling down to James height to give him a quick hug.

“Harry told me. He said to look for yellow ones because it would make you the most happiest.”

Ginny rose to her feet to see Harry watching her. He had remembered yellow flowers were her favorite! It had been years since they had that conversation. One quiet night after Voldemort’s demise; Harry had asked Ginny what sort of flowers were her favorite. Ginny had thought it a funny question at the time as they were in the middle of a major make out session. Giving him an odd look, she responded yellow and grabbed his mouth once more in a kiss. A few days later when she had returned to her flat after an early morning run, the entire living room had been covered in yellow flowers of all sorts – large sunflowers, lilies, and daffodils. When she finally found Harry in the midst of it all – he grabbed her about the waist and kissed her softly. I should have given you yellow flowers long before now Gin he said quietly against her lips. Ginny smiled at the memory and looked into Harry’s eyes and could see the same memory reflected there. She opened her mouth to say something when the door flew open and Ron and Hermione came through.

“Quick! Everyone in the sitting room! We have big news!!” Ron shouted loudly as he dashed through with Hermione close on his heels. Harry watched Ginny and Hermione share a knowing look before she turned to him.

Standing on tiptoe – Ginny kissed him softly on his rough cheek. “Thank you Harry.” She whispered and moved into the sitting room where Ron, Hermione and the rest of the Weasleys waited.

*~~*

“We’re having a baby!” Ron shouted to the crowd in the sitting room as soon as the last Weasley was packed in; sending a wave of excitement through out the crowd.

“Ron! Hermione! That’s such wonderful news!” Molly exclaimed enveloping the pair in a huge hug. “When is the baby due? “

“Well we haven’t gotten a chance to see our family Healer yet. Ginny performed the test on me at the start of the week. But I have read through some books on pregnancy and I’ve figured out that the baby may be born sometime near Easter.” Hermione explained.

“Ginny – you knew?” Ron said turning to his sister. “How did you keep that a secret for an entire week?”

“Ronald Weasley – don’t look so shocked. I can keep secrets just fine – when I need to.” Ginny replied her cheeks growing hot as her temper rose at her brother – he knew very well that Ginny could keep secrets. She had kept many a secret for her brothers. “Perhaps I should tell Mum what really- mmph!” She was cut off as Ron threw his hand over her mouth and Molly threw her two youngest a look of interest.

“Now, now! “ Ron said nervously as he changed the subject, “I think I smell something delicious! Mum – what have you made for us today? Shouldn’t we all go see? It must be time to eat!”

“Saved for today Ron.” Harry chuckled as the family started into the dining room. “Congratulations mate – to you and Hermione both.” Harry gave his friend a pat on the back and moved to give Hermione a hug.

*~~*

Dinner was, as always, a loud and boisterous affair which Harry took in with a feeling of contentedness. Here, at the Burrow, was where he felt most like he was part of the family. Hogwarts may have been his first real home but the Weasleys was the first family he remembered belonging to.

“Can someone pass the turnip?” Charlie asked reaching past Bill to grab the bowl of potatoes.

“ I can’t believe you are ‘aving a baby!” Fleur said, bouncing her little one on her knee. “Soon there will not be room in ‘ze burrow for all of us!”

Arthur laughed – “Not to worry Fleur. When the Burrow was designed and built a charm was placed on the house to continue to grow as the family grows! We Weaseley’s have a history of having large families!”

“George! I see you slipping that fire fudge into Ron’s soup! I wouldn’t do that if I were you!” Molly shouted across the table to her son.

“Mum – I’m Fred – not George.” Fred said laughing and tucking the piece of fire fudge back into his pocket.

“I don’t care – leave your brother alone! Honestly – the older they get – the worse they get!” Molly laughed.

Harry sat back and quietly took in the goings on around him. He was back where he belonged.

*~~*

Ginny felt the wind rush through her hair as she dove for the snitch. Knowing Harry close on her heels she pressed closer to the broomstick and reached out to close her hand on it. The twins had put her on their team and insisted that she be seeker. Stating that she had been the next best thing to Harry, who Ron had faithfully picked for his team.

“Go Mummy!” She heard James cheer from below. Just a little farther – she stretched her fingers as far as they would go and could feel the tiny wings of the snitch beat against the palm of her hand. Suddenly out of the corner of her eye she could see Harry mirroring her actions beside her. Too much in the zone to notice that Ginny had the snitch practically in her hand he closed his fingers around her already closing fist. At the point of contact between the two, Harry snapped his eyes from the empty air where the snitch had been and looked at Ginny.

“Harry! What are you doing? I’ve already got it!” Ginny yelled at him against the wind. She knew she had to pull out of the dive soon or she would go into free fall but with Harry hanging on to her and weighing her down she couldn’t pull out.

Harry realized the error of his mistake, and glanced down at the ground, which was growing closer by the second, he turned his head to Ginny. “Sorry Gin!” He yelled. “Try and land on me!” Harry rolled himself and his broom underneath her and grabbed her broom. Together they landed ungracefully in the middle of the field on the hill above the Burrow.

Harry grunted as he felt the impact of the two brooms and Ginny’s body press on top of him. Not quite how expected he to get this close to her.

“Harry? Are you ok?” Ginny asked looking down into his face. His glasses were askew but otherwise he seemed like he was ok. “What were you doing? I had the snitch already! You could have hurt yourself!” Ginny held the fluttering snitch in her fingers and stuck it in face.

“Gin – I’m fine. Although having two broomsticks stuck in my stomach isn’t the most pleasurable experience in the world.” Ginny quickly rolled off of him to sit beside him and push the brooms off. As she grabbed his arm to help him sit up he added, “I didn’t realize you were that close to me. It’s been so long since I’ve played Quidditch I guess I just got into the zone too much.”

“Ginny!” Came a call from behind them. “You catch that snitch or what?!” Fred had landed.

Ginny held up her fist in triumph. “Right here big brother!” Turning to Harry, she gave him a shove. “And would you look at that,” she said playfully, “I found it before Harry! He even broke my fall!”

Harry groaned in fake agony as the crowd around them laughed. “Yeah yeah – you’ve beat me. But you had better not get used to it Weasley, because next time. I’ll be catching that snitch so fast, you won’t even have a chance to see it flit by your pretty little face.” He teased, jumping to his feet and extended a hand to her, pulling her up beside him. “Come on – I think I hear your mum calling. She probably saw us fall out of the sky.” Harry added as he led the group of them back down the hill.

*~~*

Ginny looked over at James playing quietly on the floor and decided it was past time to head home. Walking into the kitchen to get her bag from the hook she could feel someone standing behind her. Turning, her eyes lit upon Harry standing in the doorway. “Hey Harry. What can I do for you?” She asked as she walked over to the vase of flowers Harry and James had picked earlier in the day. Gathering them up she pulled a piece of butcher paper from the cupboard and wrapped them up.

“You’re taking those home?” Harry said, surprised.

“Of course I am. It’s not very often I get flowers! And they are very beautiful. Mum can look at the ones in her garden everyday. There’s not even room in my flat for a flower pot.” Ginny gingerly placed them in the front pouch of her bag and looked around the kitchen for anything James had left in the room.

“Ginny – I was wondering – could maybe the two of us – “ Harry blushed, feeling like he was back in Hogwarts and trying to find a way to ask Ginny out for the first time. You think it would get easier as you got older. He thought, taking a deep breath he continued. “That maybe we could have dinner sometime during the week?”

Ginny smiled and fiddled with the strap of her bag. “Harry that would be lovely! James would be so excited to see you again so soon!”

“Well Gin – I was hoping that maybe it could just be you and I? I mean if you can’t get someone to watch James – that’s not a problem. It’s just that there is stuff the two of us need to discuss between the two of us.”

“Oh – just us – well I can ask Nanny Edgy if she could watch James for the evening. I am off at 4 on Thursday. Would you like to come to the flat around 6? There’s a lovely Italian place around the corner from there. We could walk there and back.”

“Thursday at six? That sounds great to me Ginny. I’ll see you then.” Harry smiled hugely and moved to give her a quick hug. Knowing he had just shocked her, he left her in the kitchen.


Chapter 8: First Dates
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“Hermione! What am I going to wear?” Ginny shouted – her head stuck in her closet as she threw robes and dresses out onto the bed behind her. Hermione, who was sitting at the head of the bed, started picking through the ever growing pile to find an outfit for her friend.

“Ginny, you need to calm down. You know anything you wear is going to make you look perfect. You could wear a brown paper sack and Harry would think you looked beautiful.” Ginny turned to look at her with a raised eyebrow. “Well he would!” Hermione exclaimed as pulled a deep purple dress off the side of the pile. “How about this?” She asked.

Ginny surveyed the dress with keen eyes. She knew this was a “discussion” dinner for the two of them, but she still wanted to show Harry that even though she was a mother; she was still a young, vivacious woman that didn’t need things to be taken slow. The dress in Hermione’s hands was a pretty one and the purple did compliment her hair nicely but it was too dark to wear on a warm summer’s night.

“Nope – don’t think so. It’s really heavy and if I wear it I’ll be worrying that I’m sweating the entire night.” Ginny moved to the bed and took the dress from Hermione to hang back in the closet. “Next.”

“Hmmm…” Hermione dug some more and pulled out a peasant blouse and jeans. “This?” She asked and then seeing the look on Ginny’s face – put it in the No pile that was gathering on the floor.

Ten dresses and five other outfits later, Hermione pulled out a dress. “That’s the one I was looking for!” Ginny cried as she took it from her hands. Pulling off her t-shirt and shorts, she pulled it over her head. “What do you think?” Ginny asked as she smoothed the fabric over her hips.

“Gin – you look great. How come I’ve not seen this dress before?” Hermione asked, watching as Ginny did a quick spin in front of the mirror. The dress was soft yellow cotton that hugged the curves she had acquired after James’ birth. It had a scoop necked bodice that gathered under her breasts to flare out and end just below the knees. It was Ginny’s sexy but not too sexy dress.

“This dress? I’ve never worn it before. I seen it in a muggle’s shop window one day when I was out walking James when he was a baby. I bought it before I even tried it on. Now I’m so glad I did!” Ginny picked up her wand that had been discarded on the bedside table when the search had begun. Flicking it towards the clothes strewn about the room she gathered them up in the air and sent them back to the closet.

Sitting down in front of her vanity mirror Ginny leaned forward to examine her face “Now what should I do with my hair?”

Standing behind her, Hermione leaned down to give her a hug of encouragement. “Ginny – it’s Harry. You were never nervous about showing your feelings before. Why are you nervous now? Just like me and Ron – you two were meant to be together. And if Harry can’t see that then he’s a prat.” She stood and smoothed Ginny’s hair down. “Leave your hair just like it is. It always looks so smooth. Unlike mine! I swear I keep sleekeazy’s in business! Although I heard that sometimes during pregnancy hair texture can change. Here’s to hoping!”

Ginny laughed at her friend’s statement. To Hermione, it all seemed easy. Ron and Hermione, Ginny and Harry, happily ever after; but after Harry had disappeared to become an Auror, things didn’t seem so cookie cutter easy for Ginny. He had abandoned her and unknowingly abandoned James – that one was her fault, which she readily admitted – but in her eyes it was key to keeping James safe while the war was on. For nearly three years, Ginny had stayed close to the Burrow – studying as much for her Healer’s exam as she could at home and then flooing to St. Mungo’s and back each day during her residency. Her mum and dad had been a gift from Merlin. They hadn’t minded watching James when she needed them to. Add to that the fact that Harry did not once try to contact her by means of Owl or otherwise and the seeds of doubt were planted in Ginny’s mind.

Ginny looked back at her reflection in the mirror. Hermione was right – she did look pretty. Now she just needed Harry to think so. Spraying a quick spurt of lavender perfume onto her skin, Ginny smiled at herself and glanced at the clock by the bed. It was almost time for Harry to arrive.

*~~*

Apparating outside of Ginny’s flat, Harry raised his fist to knock. Filled with a sudden nervousness, he paused for a moment. Reaching up he patted down his hair as best he could and then pushed his glasses up on his nose. Feeling somewhat composed he knocked.

Ginny opened the door widely and greeted him warmly. “Hello Harry,” she said, “right on time. Come on in. I just need to grab my sweater in case it gets chilly.” Leaving him in the door way, Ginny walked down the hall to her room. Harry watched her walk away and felt his mouth go dry. She looked gorgeous and smelled delicious. He didn’t know how he was going to deal with the next four hours.

“Ready?” Ginny said as she returned from her bedroom. Harry looked quite handsome this evening, she thought to herself. He was dressed in a dressy-casual muggle outfit of dark jeans and a button down shirt. Ginny smiled to herself as she noticed his hair. It looked like he had tried to smooth it down with Hermione’s hair products, even as it sprang free from his attempt at styling. Grinning sheepishly he pulled a yellow rose from behind his back.

“This is for your bouquet. I realized we forgot to find some roses to go in it.” Ginny took the single rose from Harry’s fingers and sniffed it delicately.

“It’s just perfect Harry. One second.” Ginny ran into the living room and placed it in the vase with the other flowers. It fit in with the sunny yellow blossoms perfectly. Returning to his side, she stood on tip toes and kissed his cheek. “Thank you very much. Shall we go?” Slipping her hand through his elbow, Ginny guided the two of them out the door.

*~~*

Roberto’s Ristorante was a small Italian restaurant just around the corner from Ginny’s flat. It was just a small hole in the wall, but the food was good and the atmosphere was intimate. To both Ginny and Harry’s relief, the conversation started off easily and throughout the appetizers and wine selection, they discussed many things, Ginny’s work at St. Mungo’s, the twin’s business, Ron and Hermione’s baby on the way.

“So Ginny – do you think they’ll have a boy or a girl?” Harry asked as he refilled their wine glasses.

“Honestly? I think they are going to have twins!” Ginny laughed at the look on Harry’s face. “Well if you think about it. None of the rest of us have had the pleasure. Fred and George are such confirmed bachelors that you can’t expect them to find wives that would have them and settle down. They would be the best candidates for bringing the next set or sets of Weasley twins into the family but if they won’t get off their duffs and do it – Ron and Hermione would be the next best thing. Besides – when I did the pregnancy test for Hermione, the aura that was surrounding her was much strong than a normal pregnancy. It could indicate that she’s carrying twins.”

Harry paused as the server set down their meals. Both looked equally delicious. Harry had ordered the veal scaloppini and Ginny, her favorite old stand by, fettuccini alfredo.
“Did you tell Ron and Hermione that?” Ginny shook her head as she started to cut up her pasta – it was a habit she had acquired many years earlier. Harry remembered when he had took her to a restaurant much like this one when Voldemort had first been defeated. He had teased her then about how she ate her pasta. She had primly told him to shove it and if he didn’t like it – he knew how to find his way home. Of course, Harry had stayed and followed her back to her flat. It was a simple memory but one of his favorite of his time with Ginny. One he thought about often when he was flying recon missions as an Auror.

“No – I decided against it. I thought she had better wait until she hears it from her family Healer. I expect that we’ll be hearing about it at the next family dinner.” Ginny watched as Harry cut through his veal with his knife. “That looks really good. Can I try some?” Ginny didn’t wait for his agreement, she leaned over and speared a piece with her fork. Popping it in her mouth, she savoured the flavours as they burst in her mouth. “Mmmm.” She exclaimed, closing her eyes in enjoyment. “That’s really good. I’ll have to try it myself next time I come.”

Harry smiled at her statement. They both knew the next time Ginny went out for dinner she would get the exact same dish as she always got. She had for as long as Harry had known she enjoyed Italian food.

As the two ate in a comfortable silence for a few moments, Harry watched Ginny quietly. The dim candlelight around the restaurant bounced off her shiny red hair. He longed to run his fingers through it. When they had first reconciled after Voldemort’s downfall, Harry remembered when he used to lay with Ginny’s head on his shoulder and run his fingers through her red hair for what seemed like hours.

Catching his eye as she reached for her wine glass for a sip, Ginny smiled softly at Harry. “Knut for your thoughts.”

Harry mimicked her actions and took a drink from his glass. Feeling the need to be tell her exactly what was on his mind he responded, “I was just remember when we used to lay together and I’d play with your hair. It was right after I found the last horcrux and finally defeated Voldemort. Do you remember? We used to just stay like that for hours and talk forever. Ginny, I miss those days.”

“Yes Harry – I remember and I miss them too.” Ginny admitted. She felt herself blush and hoped it was just the effect of the second glass of wine. “Do you remember when we would sneak upstairs in the Burrow to cuddle? You were so afraid Ron or the other boys would find us and tear a strip into you. I was more afraid Mum would find us! I think she would have chased me outside on the end of her broom. She was always so protective of you Harry – still is to be honest. When you first left she’d read the reports in the Prophet faithfully as soon as the morning edition arrived. No one else could touch the paper until she had read it cover to cover and knew that you were ok.” Ginny pushed the remaining food on her plate around with her fork, waiting for Harry to say something.

“Ginny - you know why I did what I did don’t you? I couldn’t risk the lot of you getting hurt because I had contact with you. I’d like to say that I’d not do things the way I did if I had to do over but I can’t, because I wouldn’t change what I did. Ginny – your family, and you and Hermione – you’re the closest thing to a family that I’ve ever remembered having.”

“Oh Harry!” Ginny said, feeling the tears filling her eyes. “I know why you did it. And I know you would still do it again – being such a stubborn, thick-headed man that you are! I just need you to realize that it may not have been the best thing for any of us. We – my family – Hermione, ME – we could have protected ourselves.”

“Gin – don’t, please don’t cry.” Harry couldn’t handle tears very well. Angry tears yes – sad tears no. And sad tears they were. “I missed every one of you when I was off on Auror duty. But it was my memories of you and your family that got me through to the next day. If I had been worried about you – I’d have not been able to keep myself safe.”

Wiping her tears with the edge of her napkin, Ginny looked Harry in the eye. “I know that. I see where you are coming from. But that doesn’t make it right! I missed you so much when you left without a goodbye. And then when I realized I was pregnant – I didn’t know how I was going to get through. And even though Mum and Dad and Ron and everyone else told me to find you. I couldn’t – I didn’t know where to look! You had fallen off the face of the planet!”

Reaching across the small table, Harry took one of Ginny’s hands in his and squeezed it gently. “I know. But I am here now. And I really want to be a part of James’ life. And we need to tell him who I am. He’s a smart kid Gin. He’s going to figure it out sooner rather than later.”

“Harry – you’re right. We need to tell James that you are his father. I just don’t know how. Do you?”

“No, but I know we’ll figure it out when the time comes. I know it sounds corny Ginny but I want to hear him call me Daddy.” Harry blushed at his revelation. Ginny chuckled softly and turned her palm over in his hand, squeezing his.

“It’s not corny Harry. It’s perfectly understandable. We’ll figure something out.”

*~~*

“Well thank you for such a nice evening Harry, it’s been too long since I’ve had a chance to partake in adult company without a little boy in tow.” Ginny unlocked the door to her flat and opened it. “Would you like to come in for some coffee? Or tea?”

“Sure Ginny – I’d like that.” Harry said following her inside and shutting the door behind them.

“Have a seat, I’ll be just a moment.” Ginny gestured to the living room as she walked through it to the kitchen. But Harry had always had a fascination with watching Ginny do all sorts of things, so he followed her into the kitchen and leaned a hip against the cupboard to watch her boil the water.

“What time will your Nanny Edgy be bringing James home?”

“Hmmm? Oh – not until the morning. I didn’t want him getting woken up moving beds. James can sleep in a lot of places and not wake up, but once he’s in a bed and you move him – he wakes up. When he was younger he would howl like the devil. But now he just gets cranky and won’t settle back down.” Ginny opened a cupboard by her head and brought down two blue mugs and a small blue tea pot to set on the tea service.

“Do you need any help?” Harry asked as Ginny popped the tea bags into the pot and poured in the boiling water.

“Nope! All finished. Shall we go into the living room? There’s something I’d like to show you.” Ginny said, hefting the tray with two hands.

Reaching the living room she set the tray onto the table between the sofas and moved over to the bookcase. Taking a seat at the end of one of the sofas– Harry watched her take down a large scrapbook from the middle shelf.

Ginny sat down so close to Harry that he could smell the lavender shampoo she used. Inhaling slightly to catch her scent, he pointed to the book and asked, “What’s this now?”

“Well – its for you! I started it when I found out I was pregnant with James. Its everything that’s been important in his life up until now. I started it because I knew how important it would be when you came back. I’ve done a charm duplication on it so that when I updated your scrapbook, it would in turn update the one that I have made for me.” Setting the book in his lap, Ginny waited for Harry to open it but he paused as he ran his long fingers over the cover of the book.

It was about the size of his Advanced Potions book from 6th year, bound at the left with a thick blue ribbon, the name James Weasley was inscribed on the front in large gold letters. Below were the letters B-A-B-Y that seemed to float in the blocks they were set inside.

Harry looked up and met Ginny’s eyes. “You made this for me? Even when you didn’t know I’d be coming back?”

Ginny covered the hand that rested on the scrapbook with her own. “Of course Harry, I guess I knew someday you would come home and that you’d need to know these memories. Do you like it?”

Harry kissed her softly on the lips and whispered. “Yes. I do.” Lifting the cover, he opened the book. On the front page was a picture of himself and Ginny. Laughing and hugging each other. Below the picture the inscription read ‘Mum and Dad, right before you were conceived.’

Harry looked down at the photograph and smiled. The two of them had been so happy that day. Ginny had finished her final year at Hogwarts, Voldemort was gone, and they had what seemed to be their whole lives ahead of them. Harry could feel Ginny move to pour the tea as he turned the page. The next photo was small and blurry, looking closer at it Harry realized that it was a photo of Ginny’s first ultrasound. Running his hand over the photo he felt an ache in his heart. That was the same bundle of energy that made his head spin when he was around him. Looking at that tiny little baby moving around in the picture made Harry regret for the first time that he had left the way he did.

Knowing Ginny was finished pouring the tea and staring quietly at him. Harry turned the page but did not look up. He didn’t want Ginny to know that his eyes were damp. The next pages contained photographs of Ginny in various stages of her pregnancy. The first few consisted of her baring her flat stomach for the camera as she posed front and side on. As they progressed over the page Ginny’s belly grew bigger with each photo. As the ninth month neared Ginny’s face looked more tired but her smile had grown even more radiant. Gazing with wonderment at how such a small package could carry that size of a baby inside amazed Harry. He couldn’t believe she had done it all on her own.

“This is so wonderful Ginny.” Harry said. “I can’t believe you’ve done this.”

Ginny blushed, “well Mum gave me the idea. She did it for all of us – so I thought that it was best for James too. Someday he’ll want to know all about this. I came up with the duplication charm myself. I just didn’t want to miss anything in either album.”

“Were you scared Ginny? I mean when you were pregnant?” Harry looked back down at the album in front of him.

“Scared? Oh Harry – scared isn’t the word for it. I was TERRIFIED! But on top of that – being pregnant with James made me happy. It helped me get through some sad times right after you left.” Ginny answered honestly.

“Ginny, I’m sorry.” Harry blurted. Ginny’s eyes widened at his statement. Setting the album carefully on the table, he turned slightly so he faced her and grabbed her gently by the upper arms. “I’m so sorry I left you alone. I can’t begin to even think you’d forgive me for not being there to share James’ pregnancy and his birth and all those tiny moments and big moments that have happened in the past four years.” Ginny looked at Harry and smiled softly, her brown eyes shining as they looked into his.

“Harry. You don’t need to apologize. I was as stubborn as you for not trying to find you and tell you. I was mad at you for leaving me and sometimes I still get mad and upset about it; but I’m glad you’re back. You came home Harry. And even if it doesn’t include me in the plans, I know it will include James. Harry – I could tell the first day you came to the park with us you loved him. You love James as much as I do. As much as you could if you had been home when he was born. And I have to tell you something.” Ginny paused and took Harry’s hands in hers.

“Remember how you want so much for James to call you Daddy? Well that was his first word! We were still living with Mum and Dad then and I had put James down for his afternoon nap. I was about to walk down the stairs when I heard him babbling away in his crib. It was like he was talking to someone and all I could hear was Da-da. Da-da.

“I went back into his room and there he was sitting up in his crib – messy black hair and all. Pointing at me and saying Da-da. I remember how excited I was that he had finally said his first word. Fred and George had been trying for weeks to get him to say their names. Then I was sad because you had missed his first word and the fact that he didn’t say Mum first. That’s when I felt it that you would come back. That you had to come back home sooner or later.”

Harry blinked silently as Ginny finished speaking. Without a word he pulled Ginny into his arms and hugged her, pressing his face into her neck. “Thank you again.” He whispered. Ginny had just soothed his guilt, it was something she had always been able to do. Sometimes it was just with a look or a touch, tonight it was with a story. Harry pulled back slightly in their embrace and softly kissed Ginny’s lips.

The moment Harry’s lips touched hers, Ginny felt her bones melt. This was home. In the back of her mind she knew she’d never let Harry leave her again. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders Ginny kissed him back. She eased back on the couch pulling Harry down on top of her. She had always loved feeling the weight of him on top of her.

“Ginny – “ Harry broke off the kiss and looked down at her. “Maybe – “

“Maybe nothing Harry Potter!” Ginny said breathlessly. “And don’t you dare think about rushing out of here again! If you do – you’ll be on the wrong end of one of my hexes.”

Harry chuckled softly as he watched the fire grow in her eyes – she was getting riled. “Ok, ok. I was just going to suggest – maybe we go back to your bedroom. This couch is good for cuddling – but it’s a bit too short for my legs.”

Ginny grabbed his face in her hands and kissed him soundly. “Now Harry – I know that’s not exactly what you were going to say. But it’s what I want to hear.” Pushing him off of her, she sat up. “Race you?” She said playfully, jumping up and running to her bedroom. Harry laughed out loud and didn’t hesitate to follow.

*~~*

Feeling Ginny snuggle closer to his side, Harry smiled up at the ceiling in the dim candlelight of her room. Reaching up with the arm that was curled around her, Harry ran his fingers through her hair. A contented sigh from Ginny brushed against his chest. She had always fit so perfectly beside him when they shared a bed and everywhere else for that matter.

Ginny felt Harry move slightly beside her and then moments later his fingers were running through her hair. She had anticipated him doing that – he always had, from the very first time they had made love. Ginny tried to fall asleep but she was just too happy. She propped herself up on one elbow and looked at Harry who smiled contentedly at her. His face had gotten older in the past few years, with lines that Ginny knew could never be erased. The lightening bolt scar on his forehead had faded slightly but would always be there as a reminder of who he was. Looking down at his body, Ginny traced a new scar that fell across his shoulder.

“Harry?” She asked running her fingertip along the smooth raised skin.

“Mmmm?” He opened one of his eyes that he had closed while she was watching him. Shivers ran down his spine as her fingertip ran along the scar on his shoulder.

“What’s this scar from?”

“The one you’re touching right now?” Harry laughed when Ginny gave him a look. Propping himself up on his elbows he looked down at his shoulder as if he had to remember what had caused the scar. “That one was from a dragon. I got too close to a Norwegian Ridgeback while I was out in the field. It looks worse than it actually was. I was only nicked by its tail as I flew by – but there were no healers in the field. I had to tend to it myself and that’s how it turned out.” He moved slightly and kissed Ginny lightly on the lips.

“You had to heal yourself?” Ginny asked, shuddering inside as she imagined Harry landing his broom with one arm, trying to recite the incantation for stopping blood flow and then trying to close his wound. She couldn’t imagine what it must have been like.

“Yeah – we did. All aurors are given the basic medical incantations. Just in case we run into situations like my encounter with the dragon.” Seeing the worry in Ginny’s eyes as he talked, he reached over and smoothed her hair down her back. “Ah – Gin – don’t look at me like that. Don’t worry about things that have passed. Merlin must have wanted me to come back here for a reason. Or I would have ended up like Tonks, or Neville or even poor Luna. I’m in one piece, and I’m not missing any limbs - just a few nicks here and there. Makes for a more interesting package don’t you think?” Harry lifted his free arm and flexed his arm muscles a little, eliciting a smile from Ginny. Kissing her on the lips, he pulled her down until she was once again snuggled against his body. “Mmm… there we go. Let’s try and get some sleep hey? You can guarantee that Hermione will be busting in tomorrow looking for details. I’d like to NOT be here when that happens.” Harry’s lids started to grow heavy but Ginny was far from tired. Slowly she ran one of her hands down his hard, warm chest and farther still until Harry was not longer wanting to sleep.

*~~*

Ginny awoke to find she was alone in the bed and an enormous amount of clanging was going on down the hall in her kitchen. Stretching like a contented cat in a patch of warm sunlight, she lay on her back and smiled as she remembered the previous night. Most of her blankets were in a twisted heap at the end of the bed, and just a light blanket had been tucked around her. Reaching beside the bed she pulled up the long night shirt she normally wore to bed. Pulling it over her head, she was about to get of bed to find out what the commotion in the kitchen was when it stopped and was promptly followed by a patter of little feet running down the hallway. Oh my! James was home! She did a quick look about the room and noticed Harry’s dinner shirt, socks and tie were heaped in the chair she kept in the corner room. Oh Merlin! Ginny thought. Harry’s still here!

Ginny spun her head around as she heard her bedroom door squeak open. A little dark haired boy peeked in and moved away from the slit in the door.

“Mummy! You are awake! Harry told me to let you sleep. I missed you.” James flung himself through the door and jumped up onto Ginny’s bed, throwing his arms around her, she felt his little arms hug her as tight as they could.

“I missed you too my little Quidditch-Bug.” Ginny said kissing the top of James’ head and hugging him back. “When did you get home?”

“Nanny Edgy brought me over a little while ago. Harry answered the door and said you were sleeping. But Nanny let me stay with him. We made pancakes for breakfast but Harry said that we had to wait for you to wake up. Why did you sleep so late Mummy?” James rambled on and snuggled in bedside Ginny at the head of the bed.

Harry cleared his throat as he watched the two from the doorway, even if James looked like him, Harry could see Ginny in him in more than just looks. James had her smile, and her mannerisms. Seeing Mummy and son snuggling on the bed, Harry felt a knot in his stomach. He knew so badly that he needed them both in his life.

Both looked up at the same time as he entered the room with the breakfast tray he had found in one of Ginny’s cupboards. “Breakfast anyone?” Harry held up the tray in front of him.

“Yay! I am so hungry I could eat a horse!” James exclaimed matter of factly.

“James Weasley! Where did you hear that?” Ginny asked, laughing.

“Uncle Charlie. He says it all the time. And I want to be big and strong like Uncle Charlie. So I need to eat a horse.” James explained, wondering why the adults didn’t understand his 4 year old logic.


Chapter 9: Kisses
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“Please Mummy, please! I promise to be good forever and ever if you let me go on the broom!” James pleaded as he bounced from foot to foot near her chair.

Ginny sighed and looked straight at Harry. “This is your fault you know. Mentioning flying to him! He’s too young! He’ll break something! Can you regrow his bones? Just because you did once doesn’t mean it’s time for him to do it! You’ll be taking him to the Healer when it happens.” Harry grinned guiltily back as he listened to Ginny’s rant and wondered if he should point out that she was a Healer in her own right. Besides, he hadn’t meant for James to fly with him right that instant, but James had looked so enthralled as he and Ron practiced the Wronski feint above him – he didn’t think anything of it to ask if he’d wanted to go for a ride. How was Harry to know he hadn’t been on a broom yet. He was four and growing up as a wizard after all.

“I’m sorry Gin – I just assumed that he’d been on a broom by now. Seeing as Ron’s a professional quidditch player and you were such a fine flyer.”

“WAS a fine flyer? Harry Potter – you take that back. I am STILL a fine flyer. Don’t you recall who caught the snitch last time we played quidditch out back during last Sunday’s dinner?” Ginny rose to her feet and moved towards him pointing a finger at him. “Me! I caught it. Not you – the all mighty-Harry Potter – but – “ Ginny was cut off as Harry gathered her in his arms and kissed her on the mouth to shut her up.

“Hey! Boys aren’t allowed to kiss my MUM!” James yelled, causing the two of them to pull apart. “Don’t you kiss my Mum!” James promptly kicked Harry in the shins and ran out the side door. Harry looked at Ginny to see a puzzled expression that matched his own.

“I’ll go after him.” She said quietly, pushing Harry’s arms away from around her waist and moving out the door to follow her son.


“James? “ Ginny called scanning the back yard for a dark headed four year old. He really couldn’t have gotten that far. “James Weasley if you don’t answer me right this instant, you will wish you didn’t know what a broom stick was!” Ginny walked past the tree, each of the Weasley children had climbed and fell off of during their childhood and heard a sniffle come from the right side of her.

Following the sniffles and muffled sobs, Ginny moved down the path that lead to the water to find James sitting at the waters edge with his knees pulled up to his chin and his face stained with tears. Seeing his little body all curled up into himself and his shoulders shuddering with his cries, Ginny’s heart went out to her son. So trying not to cry herself Ginny moved over to where he sat.

“James-honey, I know you’re upset but you know you’re not allowed to go off like that without me or another adult.” Ginny said softly as she knelt beside him to stroke his unruly hair.

“Mu-mumy!” James hiccupped as he lifted his head to look at her. “Why did you let Harry kiss you? Boys aren’t supposed to kiss girls, only their Mums. Only I can kiss you - you’re my Mum!”

Ginny smiled softly at him and continued to stroke his soft hair. “I know baby – I love all the kisses you give me. They make me happy. But sometimes Mummy needs a grown-up kiss.”

“What’s a grown-up kiss? Like Uncle Ron and Aunt Mione? But they’re married. They have to kiss.” James said, wiping the tears away from his eyes. Ginny reached out and gathered his little body into her arms to cradle him.

“Yes, like Uncle Ron and Aunt Mione.” Ginny hugged him tightly as James rested his chin on her shoulder. “Mummy cares for Harry very much. Remember when Harry told you he was a good friend of mine before you were born?” Feeling a slight nod come from her son she continued. “Well, that’s why Harry is allowed to kiss me. Because I care about him and he cares about me.”

“Do you like him more than me?” James asked, a tremor in his voice.

“Oh! James, no!” Ginny exclaimed, squeezing James closer in a hug, “I like Harry in a different way than you. Do you know why?” James nodded his head from side to side and Ginny went on, “you’re my baby and I’ll always love you more than you will ever begin to imagine. When you get big and grow up, you’re going to find a girl that you like, the way Mummy likes Harry. And then you’ll want to give her grown-up kisses.”

James lifted his head from his Mum’s shoulder and looked her in the eye. “Mum – I’ll never like girls. They are yucky and they smell and they cry when you poke them.” He said so seriously it caused Ginny to chuckle at his statement.

“Oh my little Quidditch-bug” She laughed, kissing the top of his head. “I promise you that you’ll like girls someday. I never thought I’d like boys when I was little like you either. But then I grew up and I liked Harry. “ Ginny held him for a moment and listened to the water flow by in the stream at their feet.

A rustling of branches on the path caused both mother and son to look up. Ginny smiled and gestured to Harry to join them as he emerged from the path.

“Hello.” He said awkwardly as he looked down at James. James stared back at him for a moment then turned his head back into Ginny’s shoulder.

“James – baby – you need to apologize for kicking Harry.” She said softly, running her free hand up and down his back to sooth him. A muffled ‘no’ could be heard against her hair. Harry sat down next to the pair.

Harry reached out to touch her arm that was wrapped around James’ body. “Gin – maybe we should have that talk now.”

“Harry – “ Ginny hesitated. “I’m not sure this is the right time.” She said quietly, looking at him with fear in her eyes. She knew this day was going to happen sooner rather than later but she was unsure of how James would react at this moment.

Harry looked into Ginny’s eyes and nodded that he did in fact think it was the right time.

“James – mate, can you look at me please?” Harry asked. “Your Mum and I need to talk to you about something really important. Will you be a big boy and turn around?”

Slowly James head turned back towards Harry. His bright green eyes were red and puffy. Harry felt a knot grow in his stomach. He had made his little boy cry.

“James – I care about your Mum very much, I’ve always cared about her, ever since she and I went to Hogwarts together, we’ve been friends.” Harry paused, unable to think of what to say next.

Ginny looked at her son and then at Harry. “Harry – I should tell him.” She said softly.

“James – remember when you asked me about your Daddy? Do you remember when I told you that he was a very important wizard that was far away doing important things? Remember when you asked me why you didn’t have red-hair like your uncles? And I told you because of how special you were, you got to have black hair like your Daddy’s?” James nodded with downcast eyes as he slipped his thumb in his mouth. “Baby – Harry is your Daddy.”

James’ eyes flew from his mother’s face to Harry. “My Daddy? Harry is my Daddy? Are you sure?“

“Yes – I’m sure. Harry is your Daddy. Are you okay with that?” Ginny asked as she tried to hold back the tears that were threatening to fall.

“Do you love me?” James asked. “Are you gonna leave me and Mummy again?”

Harry let out a harsh breath that he didn’t realize he was holding. “James – yes, I do love you – I loved you as soon as I met you. And no – if I can help it – I won’t leave you or your Mum for any length of time ever again..” Harry fought back his own tears as he watched his son climb out of his mother’s embrace.

“Ok.” He said simply, moving over to wrap his arms around Harry’s neck. “I’m sorry I kicked you. But you kissed my Mum!” Harry hugged James fiercely. “Its’ ok Mate. I’m glad you love your Mum enough to want to defend her honour.”

“Do I need to call you Daddy right now? “ James asked.

Harry chuckled softly, amazed at how his son could be told such an earth-changing fact and bounce back so easily. “No James. If you want to call me Harry for now – that’s ok. When you want to call me Daddy – you can.”

*~~*

“So he knows?” Hermione asked as she reached for another brownie on the plate between them. Ginny had met her on Hermione’s lunch break to catch her up on what was happening.

Ginny nodded. “James knows the basic facts. Harry’s his dad. We didn’t get too deep into it. He’s just little after all – I think he’ll ask questions when he wants to.” Ginny twirled her spoon in her latte.

“So Harry and James are ok with this revelation – but not you. Ginny – what’s up?” Hermione looked across the table at her friend, her eyes filled with concern. “You should be happy – but you look troubled. Do you want to tell me?”

Ginny set down her spoon on the edge of her latte saucer and took a sip of the caramel flavoured coffee. “Hermione – I am happy, I really am. But Harry made a promise to James that he wouldn’t leave us again. But what if he does? How do I explain that to a four year old? Or when he’s five? Or six? Or ten?”

“Gin – you can’t worry about that. I know Harry and if he made that promise – only one thing is going to keep him from keeping it. And neither of us want to talk about it. Do we?”

“No Hermione – we don’t.” Ginny tucked her hair behind her ears. “So let’s talk about something else. Like you and the baby! How are you doing? Have you had much nausea? “

“Well if we look at the fact that I’ve eaten two and a half brownies since we’ve sat down here – nope not much nausea. Just in the mornings – but by the time lunch rolls around – I’m ravenous! I’m feeling really good most of the time – although I am getting tired faster than I usually do. “

Ginny laughed. “That’s all perfectly normal Hermione. You’re quite lucky you know. Most first time witch pregnancies result in nausea almost 12 hours a day for the first 2 months. I was having to eat at midnight when I was carrying James. Maybe because you’re muggle born you’re nausea isn’t so bad.”

“Oh my gosh – I had forgotten about your nausea Ginny! I have actually read articles supporting your theory of my being muggle-born eases nausea. Which I am glad for – I couldn’t handle being nauseous for 12 whole hours!” Hermione exclaimed, lifting her cup and draining it. “Oh my goodness – I best get back to the office. I have a stack of reports to get through before I head for home.” Rising, Hermione leaned over to kiss Ginny on the cheek. “I love you my little sister. Cheer up ok? It’s not good for the baby for my friends to be melancholy.”

Ginny smiled and rose from the table as well. “I’ll follow you out Hermione. I have to run some errands before I head back to my flat. It may be my day off but seems like I have a million things to do. And don’t worry – I promise I’ll cheer up.” Grabbing her bag, Ginny led the way out to the street.


Chapter 10: A return?
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry sat quietly beside Remus in the room that St. Mungo’s had prepared for Tonks. Both men were at a loss for words at they waited for the Healer to arrive and give them the latest prognosis.

The room was peaceful and compared to some of the hospital wards Harry had frequented during the war it was utterly luxurious. When Harry realized that Tonks would be a long time recovering, if she ever did, he had put up the money to secure her one of the best private rooms in St. Mungos. The hospital staff didn’t like giving private rooms to the patients they thought had no hope. But when someone like himself, the infamous Harry Potter asked for a private room, they gave him what he wanted.

The ceiling was charmed to show sky outside. Today, the sun was shining and the sky was a bright shade of blue. Every once in awhile, a puff of a cloud floated by, if the patient in the room was so inclined they could charm the clouds to change into shapes as they went by. In the end, the enchanted sky was what made Harry convince Remus to choose this room. Harry remembered times when Tonks and he had been on reconnaissance missions late at night, they’d talk about what they had missed the most besides loved ones and Tonks’ response had always been the blue skies.

Harry looked over to his old teacher and mentor sitting beside the bed. Remus Lupin had loved Tonks since Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts; brought together by war, they always seems perfect for each other. But now, as he watched Remus stroke Tonks’ lifeless hand, Harry noticed how much he had aged. The boyish look in Remus’ eye that was always there but hidden from everyone but those that knew him best seemed to be gone. Harry expected if he was in Remus’ shoes right now, watching Ginny lying lifeless in the bed – he’d look the same. Lost, and not seeming to know what to do next.

And there was Ginny once again invading his thoughts. Harry knew he loved her - he just didn’t know how to tell her. He knew she wouldn’t believe him. Not after he’d abandoned her twice. First, after Dumbledore’s death and then again – when he left to fight in the war. Harry knew Ginny would never cut him out of her life. But she may not love him anymore. He was about to open his mouth and ask Remus’ advice when the door began to creak open.

Ginny entered the room and was silently surprised to see Harry there. She knew that she was to brief Tonks’ family but she had only expected Remus Lupin to be inside the room.

“Good afternoon gentlemen,” she said quietly closing the door behind her. Harry stared at her as she crossed the room to stand by her patient’s bedside. She looked so grown up and professional standing there in her Healer’s robes, her red hair pulled back onto the top of her head.

“Ginny – dear – how nice to see you.” Remus said looking away from Tonks and rising to give Ginny a quick hug. “You’ve finally became a Healer have you? So grown up since the last time I seen you.”

Ginny hugged Remus back and smiled up at him. “Yes – it’s a far way from when I was little Ginny Weasley in your defence against the dark arts class. Usually I work on the children’s floor but I actually asked to be put on Tonks’ case. She was a good friend to me and I want to be able to do all I can to help her.”

Ginny looked over at Harry and smiled almost shyly at him. “Harry.” She said with a nod of her head. “I didn’t expect you to be here.”

Harry watched Ginny round the bed and begin to take some of her patients vital signs. “Tonks and I were partners out in the field when it was required. I insisted to Remus that I should be here with him to find out how she’s doing.”

“Of course – I seem to recall how fierce you got with me last time we discussed her condition.” Ginny gently placed the hand she had picked up on Tonks’ stomach. “She seems to be comfortable. Her vital signs are all normal – as if she was just sleeping. “

Ginny wrote some numbers down on the chart and looked back at the two men. “Now – what I’d like to discuss today is some new treatment that St. Mungo’s is looking at for victims of the particular curse that Tonks was hit with. We’re just starting trials at the moment and it may be a few weeks or even a month or two before testing could begin. Remus – I was wondering if I had your permission to add Tonks to the test pool?”

Remus pondered for a moment, looking first at Ginny and then down at Tonks; the pain of what he was feeling evident on his face. “What would this new treatment entail?”

Ginny set her quill and parchment down and gestured for them all to sit down, pulling up a chair she faced the two men. “It would be a simple procedure actually, our herbologists and potion masters have been trying to create new elixirs that may help Tonks’ brain wake up. Help to find where she is trapped and bring her back to the surface. Research has actually been going on for some time now and they are close to finishing an elixir to be used on witches and wizards.”

Harry watched as Ginny’s face became animated with her explanation. “Would it be dangerous for Tonks to take the elixir?” He said, voicing a concern that he knew Remus would have.

“Well I hope it won’t be Harry. The experts downstairs have been testing each elixir thoroughly and ensuring they have counter spells to use in case of a complication. But honestly, Tonks is the perfect candidate. Before she was cursed, she was in top physical and mental form. I can’t promise that nothing would happen to her, but I can promise that I am going to do as much as I can to make her well again.” Ginny placed a gentle hand on Remus’ forearm. “Remus, I don’t need an answer today. I know it’s a hard question to ponder and right now Tonks is fine. We’re not sure what happens in the brain when a person is hit with as many curses as she was – but I know she’s not in pain or in fear of anything. If she was – I’d be able to see the aura of it around her body. “

“Thank you Ginny.” Remus said quietly and reached over to hug the young witch he had once taught. “I will think about what you said. If the two of you don’t mind – I think I’d like to be alone with Nymphadora for a bit.”

Remus moved his chair back to beside the bed. Pausing briefly to look at Harry, he said, “Remember the meeting tomorrow Harry. Don’t be late.”

Seeing the question in Ginny’s eyes as he turned to face her, Harry pushed her towards the door to leave Remus alone with Tonks and his thoughts.

*~~*

“Meeting?” Ginny asked as soon as the door was shut to Tonks’ room. “What meeting?”

Harry looked down at Ginny as she stood in front of him. Knowing she wouldn’t take the news he had to share well, he tried to think of a way to distract her. Prior to Ginny coming in to meet with Remus and Harry, Remus had informed him that he was needed to go back on active Auror duty. Smiling at her, Harry placed both of his hands on her shoulders and leaned in to kiss her firmly on the lips.

When his lips left hers, Ginny stared back at Harry and it was plain by the expression on her face, that while she enjoyed the kiss, as he knew she would because of the way she kissed him back, it had not distracted her enough to forget about the meeting in question.

“Harry you realize that as much as I enjoy kisses from you I want to know what meeting Remus is talking about.” Planting both hands on her hips, Ginny waited for Harry to answer her.

“Ginny – I don’t think this is a good place to be discussing this. What time is your shift over?” Harry ran a hand through his messy hair and pushed his glasses up from the end of his nose.

“I just started my shift Harry – I’ll be here until 9 or 10 tonight. Later – if I have some sort of emergency. I told you this yesterday when you were by to see James and me.”

“That’s right – you did tell me that.” Harry said, realization dawning on his face. “9 or 10 or later is fine with me. I can meet you back here and take you home. Does Mrs. Edgecombe have James all night tonight?”

“Not yet Harry – seeing as it is a Friday evening and he’s allowed to stay up later on Fridays, I pick him up if I’m only working until 10. Any later than that – he stays there. But I was hoping to get him home in his own bed tonight.”

“Do you think Mrs. Edgecombe would mind keeping him for the full night? I can stop over after I leave here and talk to her. Does she know about us? Our situation?” Harry asked, watching more questions pop into Ginny’s eyes.

“Harry – no she wouldn’t mind, yes – she knows but – “ He cut her off by pressing a finger to her lips.

“Ok then – I’ll stop by and see James and Mrs. Edgecombe right now and ask if she would mind. Regardless of whether she minds or not, I’ll be back to get you at 10. If you can’t leave – I’ll wait.” Leaning down again to kiss Ginny quickly, he added, “you know you’re cute when you are left in a quandary. See you later Gin.” On that note, Harry whipped out his wand and with a pop, was on his way to see Mrs. Edgecombe and James, leaving Ginny standing in the hospital corridor, her mind working overtime.

*~~*

The front door to Mrs. Edgecombe’s flat flew open before Harry had a chance to even lift his fist to knock.

“Harry!” An excited four year old cried as he swung on the door handle. “Have you come to visit me?” James had been playing with his wizard set by the window when he had heard Harry apparate outside in the street. Toys forgotten, he had rushed to the door to listen for his footsteps on the wooden floor outside of Nanny Edgy’s flat. James had decided he liked Harry, even if he did kiss his Mummy. But both his Mummy and Harry and Nanny Edgy had tried to explain to him that Harry was his Daddy. It had made sense to James when they told him and when he seen Harry before him he understood that he was related to him. For the first time since James could remember, he had found someone that looked like him.

“Hey there James! How’s my best mate doing today?” Harry reached down and scooped James up above his head holding him there as he carried James into the den to see Nanny Edgy.

“Well hello Harry.” Nanny Edgy said from her chair in the den. “I was wondering what got Mr. James here in such an excitement. Usually he’s like that only when Ginny comes home from work.”

Harry smiled, happy that his arrival had caused the same sort of excitement for James as when his Mum came home. He was being accepted by James as someone who cared. “Hello Mrs. Edgecombe. How are you this afternoon?” Harry set James on his feet and lowered himself onto the chair across from her.

“I’m doing well, for an old witch!” Nanny Edgy joked, laughing at the look on Harry’s face at her comment. “And what about yourself? What brings you over here this afternoon? “ Harry watched as James gathered some of his wizard figures and brought them over to Harry. Climbing in his lap, he thrust one up into his face.

“Do you like this one Harry? Mummy says this wizard was one of the greatest wizards in the whole world. His name was ‘umbledore.” Harry chuckled at James obvious mispronunciation of his former headmaster and protector for so many years.

“Your Mum has that right James. Dumbledore was one of the greatest wizards of our time. When we were going to Hogwarts, he was our headmaster. All of us learned a lot of things from Dumbledore, I know I wouldn’t be the wizard I am today if it hadn’t been for him.” Harry plucked the tiny replica of his headmaster from James’ fingers and examined him as the figure stood in his palm, yawning as he looked around him.

James looked up at his father in awe, he knew Dumbledore. Mummy had never told him that!

Harry looked back to Nanny Edgy. “I’m doing well Mrs. Edgecombe. I actually came by today to spend a bit of time with James, but to ask you a question and favour as well.”

Watching the two sit in the chair together, Nanny Edgy smiled, she was glad Ginny had found Harry again. It would be good for James to know his father. Even though Ginny hadn’t told her outright who James’ father was, Martha Edgecombe knew it was THE Harry Potter. It hadn’t taken a muggle rocket scientist to figure it out. “Well ask away my dear.” She said.

“Would you mind if James stayed the night tonight? There’s something I’d like to discuss with Ginny after she is finished her shift at St. Mungo’s and I’d like us to be alone.”

“Of course – I wouldn’t mind! James is an angel. Now I see it’s almost time for afternoon tea. Would you like to stay? You can entertain my favorite boy while I go prepare it.” Nanny Edgy rose from her chair and leaving the two to examining James’ wizards, she went to the kitchen to get the tea ready.


Chapter 11: Memories
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

As father and son played wizards and witches on the floor of Mrs. Edgecombe’s apartment; Ginny paced up and down the corridor on the 5th floor at St. Mungo’s. She was entirely confused about Harry and what he was going to tell her; once he had left her dazed and confused in the hallway outside of Tonks’ room, a knot of dread had formed in the pit of her stomach. For the rest of the afternoon and early evening, Ginny had gone through the motions, moving from patient to patient and checking on them, making sure they were comfortable and giving treatment as needed. But in the back of her mind, was that niggling little though about this ‘meeting’ Harry needed to attend with Remus Lupin.

Ginny had tried to tell herself at first that what Harry needed to discuss with her was nothing out of the ordinary. But she couldn’t shake the feeling that it had to do with his Auror duties. It had been near three months since the war had ended and Harry returned to London and her life, suspicions that he was being called back ran rampant through her mind.

Ginny sighed and rested her forehead against the glass of the newborn window in the maternity ward. When Ginny realized she needed a break from her rounds, she headed up to the maternity ward to watch the babies and try to clear her head.

She watched as one of the nurses moved through the rows of babies to place a new arrival in a bassinet near the front of the room. All the babies born here at St. Mungo’s were from wizarding families, and to Ginny each was a gift from Merlin. Ginny watched as the new arrival to the room, started to wail after being left by the nurse. She tapped gently on the glass with her wand to try and get the little one’s attention as her mind drifted off to the day she had given birth to James.

*~~~*

“MUM!!! I can’t do this!” Ginny cried as she winced in pain as another contraction took hold of her body.

Molly looked down at her youngest daughter’s tiny frame and her huge, swollen belly and patted her hand gently with her free hand as Ginny clenched the other hard as she could. Molly made soothing noises as she watched the contraction pass. Her poor little girl looked so scared right now and as much as Molly tried she knew she couldn’t stop her from being scared.

“It’s okay love. I’m right here and I’ll stay right here until the baby comes. We just need to be patient. Babies come when they’re ready. No later or no sooner.” Molly reached up to wipe the sweat from Ginny’s brow and smoothed her hair back away from her face. She marveled at how fast time had gone by. It seemed like yesterday, that she was in a room not unlike this one dealing with the same pain as Ginny and cursing out her husband Arthur for doing this to her for a seventh time. Of course, once her screaming bundle of joy was laid in her arms, Molly had forgotten the pain and watched as Ginny opened her eyes and blinked at her mum. And now here she was, at St. Mungo’s for the eighth time with her little baby girl who was having a baby of her own.

“But Mum, it’s been almost 5 hours since my contractions started. Can’t the healers do anything? It just hurts so much. I just want to go home to the Burrow.” Tears welled up in Ginny’s eyes, “I’m scared Mum. What if the baby hates me? What if it never comes out?”

Molly laughed softly at her daughter. “Ginvera Weasley! Don’t be so foolish, the baby will love you. And I know it seems like the baby may never come, now that you’ve started having pains, but I can guarantee you that it will! I was in labour for each and every one of you children for no less than 14 hours! “ Molly laughed as Ginny’s eyes widened as she thought about having another 9 hours of contractions. Just then, the door swung open and the midwife that was to help with the delivery arrived.

“Miss Weasley, how are you doing this evening? I’m so sorry it took me so long to get here. It’s been a busy night here in labour and delivery. Seems like all the babies want to greet the world at the same time!” The midwife, a tall, willowy witch, approached the side of Ginny’s bed and took her vitals. “How far apart are the contractions?” She asked as she made note of her findings.

“It’s not been long enough!” Ginny exclaimed, tensing her body as she felt another contraction build up in her lower abdomen and prepared to take over her entire body. “I just had one and there’s another about to start. Mum – how long has it been?”

“About a minute.” Molly said matter of factly as she pulled Ginny’s hand back into her own. “Now love, are you ready for this one? Its going to come faster than the last.” Ginny grunted in pain as she gripped her mother’s fingers and squeezed. “Breathe Ginny!” Molly ordered as she looked to the midwife for help, the midwife had moved down to examine Ginny as the contraction passed.

“Ok Ginny – you’re coming along nicely. You’re almost fully dialated. So you should be ready to push once the next contraction rolls around. You remember your classes? I need to you to breathe deeply while you’re pushing. Once the baby’s head and shoulders is out – you’ll be homefree.” The midwife motioned to the nurse asked her to prepare the birthing table.

Ginny looked around the cheery room she had been placed when she arrived at St. Mungo’s. The ceiling had been enchanted and although it was the middle of the night, fluffy pink clouds drifted through a calm sky above her. The walls were a muted shade of blue and the light a soft glow.

“Mum – I’m not ready for this!” Ginny exclaimed – panicking. She hadn’t wanted this, not a baby, not being alone. She loved her parents, but she didn’t want to rely on them forever. Suddenly, another contraction seized her body and she heard her mum and the midwife telling her to push. Bearing down hard and yelling as she did so, Ginny pushed as hard as she could.

Suddenly, it seemed as quickly as it had begun, Ginny could hear the strong cries of her baby as it announced its arrival to the world. The midwife handed the baby to the nurse to clean up and give to his mother.

“Congratulations, Miss Weasley, you have a healthy baby boy!” The midwife announced as Molly hugged Ginny and they both cried at the news. The nurse brought the baby over and set him in Ginny’s arms. Molly watched as her daughter looked down at her new little boy and counted his toes and fingers to make sure there was ten of each. She softly stroked his mop of black hair, already unruly like his father’s and amazement grew in her eyes as he opened his tiny eyes and looked at her, blinking a few times before closing his eyes again in a peaceful sleep.

As Ginny looked down at her new son, she realized that no matter what happened from then on – she knew she had to keep her baby safe. Love she had for Harry had created him and now that love had expanded and encompassed her son making her protective.

“Ginny, darling, he’s beautiful.” Molly exclaimed, watching the two bond. “What are you going to name him?” She asked - Molly had been in the dark about names for the baby. Ginny hadn’t discussed any names with anyone in the Weasley clan.

“I was thinking of James Arthur. After Dad and Harry’s Dad” Ginny looked at her mom, a question in her eyes. “Do you like it?”

Molly nodded in agreement. “Yes, I do, and I think your father will be honoured to have such a beautiful baby share his name. “ She added softly, kissing the top of Ginny’s head and stroking her grandson’s hair gently.


*~~*

Harry rounded the corner near the maternity ward to see Ginny watching the babies at the end of her shift. Coming up behind her, he wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head, startling her out of her memory. “Knut for your thoughts.” He whispered in her ear and realizing who it was, she relaxed against him.

Ginny chuckled softly and warmed as Harry’s arms came around her. “You do realize I am still on duty here? After your kiss this afternoon, I’m still trying to get the nurses to stop giggling when I walk by and ask them for things. You are terrible!” Turning in his arms, Ginny stood on tiptoe and kissed him softly.

“Mmmm…” Harry smiled down at her, his green eyes gleaming. “Me? Terrible? Never! And how can I be so terrible when I kiss you so good?” He asked playfully.

“I’ll keep my comments to myself I think.” Ginny said dryly and pushed out his arms. “Is it almost 10 o’clock already? It’s been a quiet night.”

“Sure is – I just left Mrs. Edgecombes’ and she’s fine with keeping James overnight and told me to tell you that we shouldn’t worry about getting him early in the morning if we’d like some extra alone time.” Harry raised his eyebrows suggestively at Ginny causing her to laugh.

“You just went and asked her now?” Ginny asked with concern in her voice. As much as she appreciated Nanny Edgy and all she did for her and James, she sometimes felt that she was overstepping her bounds.

“You know you can be cute when you get your nose all scrunched up like that.” Harry said, taking Ginny’s hand in his own, liking the feel of its soft, small warmth in his. “No – I went directly there after I left you this afternoon. I spent the rest of the day and evening with them. Had a great time – James and I played wizards, we talked about Quidditch – seems he wants to follow in his Uncle Ron’s footsteps and play professionally - and then I tucked him in to bed and read until he fell asleep. Mrs. Edgecombe finally shooed me out a few minutes ago. She also told me to tell you – she won’t be accepting anything for taking James tonight. She said she’s never had an easier time looking after him.”

Ginny looked at Harry and saw the happiness in his eyes as he told her about his day spent with James. Feeling her own burst of happiness in her chest at the fact the two of them had had such a wonderful day, she reached up with her free hand and squeezed his shoulder.

“Come on – I’ll go clock out at the main desk and we can head back to my flat.” Smiling, she let her hand drop and turned to walk down the hall. Pausing for a moment she added, “and don’t think I’ve forgotten about that meeting and the fact that we need to talk about it!”


Chapter 12: Old Friends
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

As Harry and Ginny rounded the corner of the hallway to the door of her flat, they nearly tripped over Ron as he sat in the door awaiting his sister’s arrival.

“For merlin’s sake you two – get a room!” He muttered at Ginny’s cry of surprise when they noticed him sitting there. Getting to his feet he brushed off his dirty quidditch robes.

“Matter of fact Ronald – we do have a room – we were on our way to it when we unfortunately tripped over you. Now if you kindly get out of my way –“ Ginny pushed herself out of Harry’s warm embrace and moved to unlock the front door of her flat.

Looking back at her brother, she noticed that he was wearing dirt and grass stained quidditch robes and a not-so-subtle odor was emanating off of his body. Looking down at his feet she noticed a ruck-sack lying on the floor.

“Come on in and tell us what happened.” She added, moving through the doorway into the flat, waiting for the men to follow her in.

Harry watched as Ginny moved through her front entrance and straight into the kitchen, marveling at how in one moment she had gone from being soft and sexy in his arms with no other thoughts but about him to being totally focused on her brother and his problem.

“Ron – why don’t you go clean up – I’ll make us a spot of tea and you a bite to eat and you can tell us what happened.”

As Ron moved to take leave of the kitchen to clean himself up he looked from Ginny to Harry, his eyes pleading with the latter to help him. Harry took the hint and moved over to where Ginny had her head in the fridge and was pulling out leftovers from the top shelf. “Gin – I think Ron needs to talk to a mate right now, not his sister.” He said in a low tone, as Ginny spun around with a covered casserole dish in her hands and looked up at him.

“Well I obviously know it’s because Hermione has thrown him out. What do you suggest – the lot of you go off down to the Leaky Cauldron, get foolish on firewhiskey and stumble back here at 5 in the morning?”

“That’s precisely what I think we’re going to do.” Harry continued before she could say another word. “Gin – I think Ron needs someone of the male gender to talk to right now. And I have a feeling you’ll be seeing Hermione here sooner rather than later.” Taking the dish from her hands he placed it back on the shelf in the fridge and shut the door.

Ginny set her mouth in a pout and crossed her arms over her chest. “Fine – but please make him eat something – if the two of you come back here tonight and get ill in my home – YOU will be cleaning it up Mr. Potter.” Harry laughed and placed his hands on her shoulders.

“Don’t worry Ms. Weasley, I solemnly swear we’ll behave ourselves and if anyone gets ill, you may hold me responsible. Ron and I haven’t been out alone together since I got home. And although I’m sorry it’s ruining our night together, I need to do this for Ron too.”

Ginny away from Harry’s eyes and over his shoulder to see Ron walk into the kitchen, “You’re lucky you’re my favorite brother,” she said walking over to him and pointing a finger out of her fist to poke him in the shoulder. “Otherwise, heads would be rolling at this moment. Please don’t be a total git tonight? I want to be able to tell your wife that you didn’t do anything foolish like last time you two had an argument.” Ginny then walked around Ron. “Make sure you lock the door behind you ok? I’m off to bed,” she finished and moved down the hall to her room, entering it and shutting the door behind her.

*~~*

Harry moved slowly through the packed pub with a glass of firewhiskey for him and Ron in each hand. Looking around he seen that every sort of witch and wizard were there that evening. There was a group of old gnarled wizards over in the back corner, where Harry could see they were playing wizard’s chess. As he neared the table Ron had secured, a small army of witches fluttered past him, blatantly checking him out and giggling as they went by, a large cloud of perfume invading his senses.

“There you go Ron, one firewhiskey to start.” As he sat down, Harry set one glass down in front of his best mate and then his own up in a mini salute before taking the first initial gulp. His eyes slightly watered as the firewhiskey burned a trail down his throat and pooled in his stomach sending warmth radiating outwards.

Ron did the same except instead of taking an initial drink he downed the entire glass, making his cheeks turn a bright pink. “Harry – if you don’t mind – let’s not talk about the girls right now. I just want to obliterate the thoughts from my head.” Because Ron did look so depressed at the thought of letting out what he and Hermione had fought about – Harry just let the subject drop and waved down a passing wait-witch.
“Yes my-love, what can I be getting two fine young gentleman like yourselves?” Ron just rolled his eyes and sat back in his chair as Harry blushed madly and cleared his throat.

“We’d like a few more rounds of firewhiskey please. Do you happen to have those refilling glasses that are available in Paris? That way we won’t be a bother to you all night.”

The wait-witch laughed and planted one hand on her hip and leaned over suggestively towards Harry. “Darlin’ for you – I’d come back once every 5 minutes with your order. Don’t worry about a thing, your friend there looks like he needs to forget something at the moment.”

As the wait-witch moved away from their table, Ron looked over at Harry who was left slightly speechless by the aggressiveness of the woman. “Good to see you still don’t know your own power against the female species. That one walked by the table 5 times and didn’t look at me twice until you arrived with the first round.”

“Come on Ron – you’re making it like I have some sort of magical hold over women. I don’t – and besides you know me – I only want a hold over one witch in particular and that’s the last I’ll say about it tonight – now how’s Quidditch going?”

During the next hour and a half the two friends got deep into a discussion of the Quidditch season, the odds of how each team was going to do, injuries, and how former Hogwart’s students were doing on their respective teams.

“You know Harry – you should think about trying out for a team. Even though you haven’t played on an organized team since school – any number of teams would be willing to take you on, just for your potential.” Ron said, slurping up the last of his drink from their latest round.

Harry let the thoughts of playing Quidditch once more tumble through his mind while he twirled his glass around on the table. He’d love to get back onto the Quidditch pitch and feel the air rush through his hair as he lifted off, scanning the area around him for the golden snitch, and finally the triumph he felt each time he caught it. But he knew as much as he wished he could do it, Harry knew that soon he was going to head back into his auror duties, and in that place there was no time for Quidditch.

“Yeah – playing Quidditch would be fun. I just can’t see it happening.” Harry said matter-of-factly. “Just doesn’t seem like its in the cards mate.”

“No? But the war is over. Voldemort is dead and the death-eaters are in jail. What more can you do as an auror?” Ron asked, his words slurring slightly.

“Ron, there’s a lot left that I can do as an auror. Investigating plots to overthrow the ministry, kidnappings, stuff like that. Just because the war is over doesn’t mean that evil and badness is gone.” Harry said glancing over at the clock above the bar as he heard the barkeep yell last call. “Well mate we had better get back to Ginny’s flat.” Harry pushed himself to his feet and felt the world tilt slightly beneath him. Looking over and seeing Ron wobble as he rose made Harry realize that they had probably drank much more than intended. “What do you say we walk back, get some fresh air.”

Ron looked at his friend and laughed as his head blurred into two. “You know that’s a good idea Harry, Gin would have a fit if she seen us right now.”

Harry and Ron walked down the narrow street towards Ginny’s neighbourhood, drunkenly singing the Hogwarts school song and holding each other up. Ron stopped mid-verse and sank down onto the curb bringing his friend down as well.

“Harry – I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I really messed it up this time.” Ron said sadly.

“Messed what up? You and Hermione? Mate – you’ve fought practically since the day the two of you met on the train. Whatever it is – you’ll get through it.” Harry said throwing an arm around Ron’s shoulders and swaying into him.

“Yeah but this was an explosive argument. I mean – I was around Ginny the entire time she was pregnant – and it wasn’t a pleasant experience when she was angry – so I should have known better. But I was madder than a trapped grindylow tonight when I got home from Quidditch practice and I was itching for a fight. And there was Hermione standing there all happy about something. And all I could do was push her and push her until she snapped. Harry – I’ve never seen anyone so mad, even Mum! She threw things at my head and swore up and down at me. The last thing I remember as I dashed out the door was a vase smashing beside my head against the door jam and her yelling to stay away from her, her flat and her life until she was good and ready to have me back.”

Harry blew a loud sigh out of his mouth. Speechless as to what to say to Ron, he pondered for awhile and came up with a bit of advice – “Wow, you’ve really got some reconciling to do. Hermione actually threw things? She must be mad.”

“Thanks mate – you’re so much help.” Ron said jabbing Harry in the ribs. Causing the two to start to wrestle in the street. When someone in the building above them yelled for them to keep it down – Harry pulled Ron to his feet and the two continued their tottering towards Ginny’s.



Chapter 13: A Sleepover
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

No sooner than Ginny had heard the door click shut behind her, did she hear a noise from the living room and a quiet sob escape the fireplace. Knowing it had to be Hermione, Ginny rushed out to the living room and knelt before the fireplace to see her friend’s face floating in the flames before her.

“Is Ronald there?” Hermione asked as she tried to keep her voice even.

“No, he and Harry went out – I don’t expect the prats back here for a long while yet. Want me to come over? James is over at Mrs. Edgecombes’ for the night, I can be there in a jif.”

“Would you mind Gin? I know you hate when the two of us argue and we pull you into it but I’m just so mad.”

Ginny watched as her friend’s eyes as they welled up with tears, and her heart went out to her. “Oh Hermione, don’t you worry about a thing. I’ll just go hop into my pyjamas and pop over.” Ginny didn’t wait for an answer before heading back down the hall. Walking into her closet she pulled out her most comfortable pair of flannel pyjamas from the top shelf and pulled them over her head. She sat on the edge of the bed and pulled a scrap of parchment and a quill from her side table to leave a quick note to Harry and Ron explaining where she had gone. Then going into the kitchen, she grabbed a large slab of Honeydukes’ chocolate from the top shelf of the pantry and tossed it into her overnight bag to take with her. Pulling her wand out, she then apparated to Ron and Hermione’s front hall.

Ginny walked by the chaos near the front door and followed the cries she heard to the back bedroom where she found Hermione curled up on the bed, a blanket tucked around her and her eyes red from her tears.

Ginny set her stuff on the chair beside the bed and crawled up beside Hermione. Wrapping an arm around her friend in a hug, she gave her a squeeze. “Wow - it looks like a hurricane hit out there. Want to tell me about it? What did my fool of a brother do this time?”

Hermione rolled over and sobbed into Ginny’s shoulder. “He- he just came home and started picking a fight! I don’t know what I did, I was waiting for him to return from Quidditch practice so I could tell him that the healer gave me my test results from our morning appointment and he snapped at me. It made me angry – and I guess the hormones kicked in. I got really mad, threw things and kicked him out. Oh Ginny – what am I going to do?”

Ginny smiled softly and rubbed Hermione’s back gently. “Oh poor Hermione, - one would think Ron would have learned his lesson about treading softly around pregnant witches by now. In the morning, I’m sure both of you will be ok. For now – why don’t you go have a nice warm bath while I clean up your disaster? It will help you and the baby relax. And as I was pregnant once myself, I know how partial we witches can be to chocolate at any point in time so I’ve brought my stash of honeydukes’ finest with me. We’ll share some when you’ve finished.”

Hermione sniffed and swiped at her eyes with the edge of her night shirt. “Thanks Gin - I’m so happy you’re my sister and no wonder you’re such a successful healer – you always know what to say.” Giving her friend one more hug, Ginny scooted off the bed and pointed towards the bath.

“Now go. Relax. I’ll see you in a bit.” She said, taking leave to go and clean up the mess that had been made by Ron and Hermione’s fight.

*~~*

Giggles filled the room as Ginny and Hermione reminisced their days at Hogwarts. “Do you recall the time that Ron stopped speaking to Harry during our 4th year?” Hermione asked, reaching for another square of honeydukes. Popping it in her mouth she savoured the rich chocolate as it melted against her tongue.

“Remember it? What a time it was!” Ginny laughed as she smoothed down Hermione’s hair with a brush to begin braiding it. “Ron was so cranky, all he would do is grumble and growl when anyone went near him! It was worse than being around Mum when she’s angry at George and Fred for misbehaving!” Ginny separated her friend’s thick brown hair into sections and began twisting it together.

“Ginny – thank you for coming over tonight.” Hermione said suddenly, letting a huge sigh escape her. “I feel so much better. About everything.”

Ginny was silent for a moment as she concentrated on the remainder of the braid. Tying a ribbon around the end to hold it in place she looked down at her friend. “Hermione – you know there’s never any thanks needed. Remember all of those nights I spent crying over Harry? You were there for me, cheering me up, making me feel like everything would turn out for the best.”

Hermione climbed back onto the bed and snuggled up beside Ginny. “You’re such a little mum.” She said laughing as Ginny opened her mouth to protest. “I hope I’m as good a mum when my babies arrive.”

“Wait a moment – Hermione – did you say babies? You’re having twins aren’t you? I knew I was right!” Ginny hugged her friend

“You were right? Ginny? What do you mean?” Hermione asked, a puzzled expression on her face. “You knew?”

“Well, I wasn’t quite sure it was twins. But I had my predictions. Mum is going to be so happy! Another set of Weasley twins!” Sitting back on against the head of the bed, Ginny stretched out her legs. “I’m really happy for you Hermione! I know you’re going to do great as a mum.”

Hermione stretched out beside her best friend and yawned loudly. Rubbing her stomach where a small bump had started to form, she said “Did you hear that little ones? Aunt Ginny knew you were in there and she has faith in me as a mum. Your dad on the other hand…..” Hermione laughed and looked at Ginny, “Ron is a prat isn’t he? How did I end up with him?”

Ginny just smiled at Hermione and stated, “That I’m not too sure of. But since he’s my brother, I’d like if you stuck with him. I enjoy you as a sister-in-law – Fleur just isn’t a girl I can snuggle up in my pjs with!” Yawning, Ginny glanced at the bedside table. “My goodness – it is getting late! What say we try and get some rest. I expect the two prats will be rolling out of my flat early in the morning and trying to find the two of us.”

The two women laughed as Hermione agreed and turned off the light beside her.


Chapter 14: The morning after
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry cracked his left eye open and felt a jolt of pain run straight to the centre of his brain as the light pierced through the darkness. Groaning, he rolled to his side and threw his arm over his eyes. His mouth felt like it was stuffed with 10 pygmy puffs. What did I do to myself last night? Harry thought to himself and willed his body to sit up from its prone position.

Gingerly opening his eyes, he felt around for his glasses, locating them beside where he lay on the floor, he put them on and looked about the room. Ginny’s flat came into focus around him.

Hearing a groan from the corner of the room, Harry looked over to see Ron curled up in the corner, his eyes squeezed shut.

“Ron? Are you alive over there?” Harry asked, his own voice booming in his head.

“Uhhhhh – I think so.” Ron whispered. Opening his eyes, he groaned even louder. “Why is it so bright in here? And why are you shouting? Cripes mate – what did we do last night?”

“Last thing I remember was leaving the pub. I think the firewhiskey got the better of us.” Harry looked about the room. Even if he couldn’t remember how they made it home at least they hadn’t destroyed Ginny’s flat. The last time the two had gone on a tear like last night, they’d had to clean the Burrow from top to bottom for Molly as a penance for what they had destroyed in Ron’s room when they had returned.

Ron sat up and leaned his back against the wall. “What were we thinking? My head is pounding and I think I might still be feeling the firewhiskey!” Looking around the flat as he rubbed his head with the palm of his hand. “Hey – where is Ginny? She’s such a morning person I figured she’d be up and about already.”

“Perhaps she’s already been up and gone?” Harry questioned as he stood to stretch out his cramped legs.

“Nah – I doubt it. Ginny wouldn’t just let us sleep. Well maybe you, but to her brother she wouldn’t be so kind. She’d have burst in here early this morning, turned up WWN and started dusting. I know how she works Harry.”
“Ok – well I just go down and check her room.” Harry moved from the living room into the hallway to check in Ginny’s room. To the left of him, the door to James’ room was closed. A poster of the Chudley Cannons flying in the sky decorating it. To the right of Harry lay Ginny’s room, gently pushing the door open, he entered.

The sun was streaming in through the window at the back of the room, casting sunbeams onto the quilt on Ginny’s bed, which seemed to be untouched. The room was bright, cheery and feminine. A large comfy chair was in the corner of the room with a blue robe draped across the arm. As Harry took another look about the room he noticed a slip of parchment sitting on the pillow next to Ginny’s.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he picked it up. The note was short and to the point.

Harry – Gone over to Ron and Hermione’s. She flooed after you left and was pretty upset. I’ve called Mrs. Edgecombe to let her know I’d be over later in the morning to get James. Please make Ron come home in the morning? Ginny

Walking out to the living room he showed Ron his sister’s note. “Come on mate – the damage has been done. Let’s get over there before it gets worse.”

*~~*

Ron pushed the door to the flat open and heard laughter coming from towards the kitchen. As his nose was assaulted with the smell of frying bacon, Harry watched him turn a pale shade of green underneath his freckles.

“I can hear them in the kitchen,” he said under his breath to Harry. “Sounds like laughter, do you think its safe?”

Harry rolled his eyes and gave Ron a shove until he was fully in the hallway and stepped into behind him, shutting the door loud enough so that the girls could hear him. Ron shot him a look as the noise in the kitchen died down.

“Ronald? Is that you?” The two heard Hermione say.

“Yes – it’s me.” Ron said, as he began walking down the hall.

Entering the kitchen with Harry in tow, Ron looked from his sister who was leaning against the counter with a steaming mug of tea to his wife who was standing over a frying pan holding the spatula in one hand while her eyes bored into his.

“Hello.” Hermione said coolly. “Harry.” She nodded.

“Good morning Hermione, Ginny.” Harry responded. “We came over once I found the note.” Harry moved inside the kitchen close to Ginny and out of Hermione’s throwing range.
“Hermione, look I’m sorry.” Ron said, cutting to the chase. “I was a total git last night. I shouldn’t have picked the fight with you. Please forgive me?”

Hermione looked her husband up and down, making Ron think she was weighing her options. “You’re right Ron – you were an git last night and this fight was your fault. But – I do forgive you. For the sake of our unborn babies – I can’t handle the stress you cause me when you’re sulking.”

Ron’s face, which up until then was pale and worrisome, broke out into a wide grin as he grabbed Hermione around the waist and hugged her as he spun her in a circle.

“For Merlin’s sake Ron!” Hermione laughed. “You smell like a distillery! What did you two get up to last night?”

At Hermione’s statement, Ginny leaned into Harry and sniffed. “Oh! She’s right! You both smell! I think whatever barrel you fell into last night is now seeping out your pores!”

Harry blushed and looked down at Ginny sheepishly. “Um – yeah – I guess we forgot to clean up before we came over hey Ron?”

“Ron?” Harry glanced up to see his two best friends snogging in front of the stove, oblivious to the fact that he and Ginny were standing just a few feet away.

“Well looks like they aren’t mad at each other any more.” Ginny said quietly, slipping her arm through Harry’s. “I think we better head out, don’t you think?”

*~~*

Harry emerged from Ginny’s bath feeling refreshed and clean. Taking a deep breath he smelled breakfast being cooked in the kitchen. Wandering down the hallway, he found Ginny in the kitchen, spooning out scrambled eggs bright green plates.

“Mmm… breakfast smells delicious Gin.” Harry said, coming up behind her and kissing her neck. “And so do you.”

Ginny ducked out of his embrace to set the frying pan back on the stove. Turning she seen that Harry was wearing nothing but a towel. “Harry! Go get something on this instant! You never know who might pop in here! You’ve lived with my family – they have no concept of privacy boundaries. They never have!” Harry laughed at her modesty and teased her by tugging on the towel slightly as he left to get dressed.

Ginny watched Harry leave the kitchen, admiring how the muscles in his back moved as he walked. Merlin! - he was a fine specimen. Sighing happily, she sat down at the kitchen table to wait for Harry to come back.

Harry walked back into the kitchen, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. Kissing Ginny on the top of her head he sat down beside her. “There we go. Is this better?”

Ginny looked him up and down and nodded. “Much. I just wouldn’t want you caught in a compromising position. I can imagine if George or Fred popped in for a visit and seen you in my kitchen in a towel! You’d never live it down.”

Harry dug into his breakfast and laughed. “I suppose you do have a point. Those two are dangerous enough as it is. Can’t even imagine if I gave them material to work with. Gin – this is delicious.”

“Thanks – I’ve picked up a bit of cooking skills since the last time I cooked a meal for you. Do you recall the disaster that was our ‘romantic’ dinner post-Voldemort? I burned the carrots, undercooked the potatoes and the roast I promised you was still frozen when it came out of the oven!”

“Aw – Gin – it wasn’t THAT bad. The dessert was good. “ Harry said as he thought back to that night. It had been just after Ginny had moved into her own flat and she wanted to prepare a ‘romantic’ dinner for just the two of them. When Harry had arrived that evening, smoke was filling the kitchen and Ginny was in the middle of it – her hair bright red and flying wildly about her face, her apron covered in flour, a black pot in one hand and a potato in the other.

“Dessert was good because it was just ice cream from the carton. I can’t believe I was actually that bad of a cook. I mean when I was at home and helping mum I never mucked anything up.” Ginny laughed and buttered a piece of toast from the pile. “So – since we never did get around to talking last night – shall we do that now?”

Harry’s fork paused on the way to his mouth. “Now?” He said slowly, setting his fork back down. He was dreading this moment.

“Oh come on Harry – you’re worrying me. I’d like to know about this meeting you need to attend with Remus Lupin.” Ginny took a sip of the tea that was cooling beside her and waited for Harry to speak.

A feeling of apprehension washed over Harry as he watched Ginny’s face as he began, “Ginny. When they discharged me from the Front, it was only temporary. Mad-Eye and Remus both thought I was getting burnt out. They ordered me to take leave. Apparently the need for my auror abilities has come up. I don’t have the details yet, which is why I need to meet with Remus and the rest of the Order.” Harry paused and watched Ginny.

Slowly Ginny set down the mug she had been holding in her hand. “I see. So you’ll be leaving then?” She asked quietly, looking at Harry, biting her lip to try and keep her calm.

“Ginny –I’m not sure what the Order needs me to do. It could be anything really. I may not have to go.” Harry searched Ginny’s eyes to try and figure out her reaction. Her brown eyes were strangely calm, much different than what Harry expected to see there.

“Well.” Ginny said as she rose from her chair and began gathering the dishes plates from the table. “When is your meeting?”

“This afternoon, I have to be at HQ for three.” Harry said, following Ginny to the sink with the remainder of the dishes. Setting them in the sink he performed the scourgify spell to clean them. Turning from the sink he found Ginny had left the room.

“Gin? “ Harry called.

Harry found Ginny in the living room, curled in her big yellow chair by the fireplace. Moving over to where she was, he kneeled in front of her chair and looked at her.

“Ginny? Please look at me?” Harry said quietly, placing his hand on her knee to prompt her to look at him. When her eyes met his, Harry saw that the calm he seen just a few moments ago had been replaced by panic and fear.

“Harry - I can’t. I can’t do this right now. Not until I know what is going to happen.” Ginny covered his hand with hers and squeezed it. “Please, Mrs. Edgecombe is on her way over with James. I can hear them in the hallway.” Leaning down towards him, she kissed his lips.

Harry watched as she drew back and began to watch the door, waiting for James to come in.

*~~*

“Mummy!” James yelled as he burst through the front door ahead of Mrs. Edgecombe. “Mummy! Are you here?”

Harry watched as Ginny’s face broke out in a smile that made her glow. “Hey there my little Quidditch-bug! I’m in the living room with Harry!” She called, rising from the chair.

James ran in the living room and towards the chair where Ginny scooped him up in a big hug. “Did you have fun with Nanny Edgy last night?” She asked, kissing his cheek.

“Yes – we had lots of fun. Nanny Edgy baked cookies this morning. And we painted and read stories. And last night Harry visited and we played wizards and Mummy – I want to be a quidditch player like Uncle Ron when I grow up!” Ginny laughed at her little boy.

“Well I’m glad you had such a fun time!” Setting him down on the floor, she patted him along. “Why don’t you take your overnight bag down to your room and put your golden snitch on your bed?” “

“Sure Mummy! Hi Harry!” James said as he dashed down the hall to his room.

Mrs. Edgecombe came into the living room as James ran down the hallway. Ginny rose from the chair she was sitting in and walked over to where the older witch was standing.

“Good morning Mrs. Edgecombe, thank you so much for taking care of James last night. I appreciate it so much.”

“Oh dear – you know it’s never a problem with me! Spending time with James makes my day! I just hope you and Harry had a nice evening!” As the words came out of Mrs. Edgecombe’s mouth she realized that there was a tension between the two young people. Ginny’s happy expression looked strained and Harry was standing near the fireplace, his eyes downcast, a frown furrowing his forehead.

“Well it was an unexpected evening, Ron and Hermione had a bit of a disagreement. But its all fixed now. Would you like to sit down? A spot of tea perhaps?” Ginny asked, gesturing towards the kitchen.

“I’d love to Ginny-dear, but I should be getting home. My daughter is coming by this afternoon for a visit. I should straighten up the place a bit.” Mrs. Edgecombe turned towards the door. “Shall I expect James tomorrow?” She asked.

“Yes – I’ll bring him by in the morning before I leave for St. Mungo’s. I only work a half-shift tomorrow, so I expect I’ll be home by dinnertime.”

“Lovely, see you then. Goodbye Harry.”

Harry looked up from the spot he was staring at on the floor. “See you Mrs. Edgecombe.” He responded as the older witch closed the door behind her.

Silence engulfed the space between Harry and Ginny as both were left alone in the room. Strains of James’ voice as he played in his room floated through the air down the hall.

Harry’s stomach churned as he tried to find the right word. “Ginny, I should go. Mad-Eye will have my hide if I’m late.” Ginny looked over at Harry and nodded.

“You should go say goodbye to James before you go. If he comes out of his room and you’re not here he’ll wonder where you’ve gone.” She responded. “Will you be back this evening? After your meeting?”

Harry met Ginny’s eyes and wanted nothing more than to make the smile she wore earlier return. “I’ll try Ginny. If I can’t – I’ll send you an owl and let you know as much as I can about what’s happening.” He crossed the room and took Ginny in his arms. Breathing in the lavender that always seemed to be in her hair and on her skin, he hugged her gently. “Gin – please – we’ll talk as soon as I can ok?” He felt her sigh against his shoulder.

“Sure Harry – I know. I’ll keep a plate for you. We’ll talk when you can.” Ginny pushed out of his arms and avoided his eyes as she moved away. Harry knew she had closed herself off and turned to go to James’ room to let him know he had to go, but would be back.

*~~*

“Hey there Mate – what’re you up to?” Harry asked, pushing open the door to James’ bedroom.

James was lying on his stomach across the middle of the floor, a book in front of him and a quill in his hand. The little boy looked up and a smiled grew on his face as Harry crossed the threshold.

“Harry!” James said, jumping up and holding his arms up for a hug. Obliging, Harry reached down and scooped his son up. Throwing his arms around Harry’s neck, James gave him a hug. “Can you play with me? I’m colouring a picture and when I’m done, Mummy can enchant it and put it on the fridge.”

Still holding James, Harry sat down on the edge of the little bed. “James, I’d love to stay here and colour with you but I have to go to a meeting right now. But as soon as it’s over I’ll come back and we can play then. Does that sound ok?”

“That’s ok. We can colour a picture later. Have a good time at your meeting!” James said, hopping off Harry’s lap and lying back down to continue colouring his picture.


Chapter 15: Assignments and Promises
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Well here's the next chapter. It's a bit longer than I had anticipated but everyting needed to be there. Hope everyone enjoys it!

When Harry arrived at Grimmauld Place, the rain was starting to fall from the sky, which darkened his mood further. “Cherry-drop” Harry said the password, allowing the door to swing open.

Entering the hallway, Harry could hear movement and conversations coming from the back room. Once it had been obvious that the Death Eaters were going to continue to wage war against the wizarding world regardless of the fact that their leader was gone, Harry had donated Grimmauld Place to the Auror Order as a headquarters and a place for discharged soldiers to go before heading back into civilian life. Moving down the hall he entered the back room to find Mad-Eye Moody, Remus Lupin, and a few other aurors Harry didn’t recognize milling about.

“Ah! Potter!” Mad-Eye said, not turning around, “so glad you could join us.”

“Mad-Eye, Remus,” Harry nodded at the two men. “Sorry I’m late. There were some things I needed to do.”

Remus Lupin gestured towards the meeting table. “No worries Harry. Let’s have a seat.”

Harry noted the scrolls of parchment sitting on the table as he pulled out the heavy chair at the side of the table and sat down.

“So here is what we’re going to have to do. Potter – you’ll be teamed with Ariadne. Ariadne, allow me to introduce you to Harry Potter. Potter, this is Ariadne Caileigh. She’ll be your new partner.” Mad-Eye said, as he rolled out the scroll in front of him. “Alright – the two of you will –“

“Wait a minute.” Harry interrupted.

“Yes Potter?” Mad-Eye paused, his inner-eye rolling in its holder.

“I don’t need a new partner. Tonks is my partner.” Harry said, looking at the witch that was named Ariadne. “If you need me to go on a mission, I’ll go by myself.”

“Potter, let’s be reasonable.” Remus said, “I know that you and Tonks worked quite closely together. But she’s incapacitated right now.” Harry opened his mouth to protest, but Remus held his palm up for silence. “And you also know that when you go on reconnaissance missions, you do NOT go alone. End of story. Mad-Eye, please continue.”

Feeling put in his place and not happy about it, Harry sat back in his chair to listen to the details of the case.

“A nest of death-eaters has been spotted in the East Urals. We’ll need to investigate and flush them out before they have a chance to recruit more.” Mad-Eye pointed to the map, indicating a line of mountains. Flicking his wand, he summoned a series of photographs to the table. “Right now, we have been able to gain intelligence on their HQ and how many there are. Unfortunately, the cowards have kept their faces hidden so we cannot ascertain their identities.” Mad-Eye passed the pictures down the table where Harry picked some up to examine.

“There will be three groups of two pairs heading out there.” Remus continued, picking up where Mad-Eye left off. All of you will be sent to gather as much information as you can. If a chance arises to take the nest out, you must contact each of the others on duty and you will act as a group.” Remus paused and looked in Harry’s direction, “No, ifs ands, or buts about it. Potter – you and Caileigh will be the lead on this case. This means you are in charge.”

Harry raised his eyes from the scrolls in front of him and met Remus’ gaze. “When do we leave?”
“In two days.” Mad-Eye said, “However, I need all of those going out to rendezvous back at Grimmauld Place in 24 hours.” As Mad-Eye talked, a thick folder containing scrolls of parchment appeared before each of aurors seats. “Please review the documents in front of you. When the six of you return tomorrow evening we’ll go over them in detail before you depart of the East Urals.”

Harry looked down at the parchment in front of him. The lump in his stomach grew as he undid the leather binding on the front of the folder. How am I going to explain this to Ginny? He thought.

*~~*

Harry apparated into the quiet dark of Ginny’s living room. He glanced about the room, toy-wizards and colouring quills with parchment had been left on the floor near the dying embers of the fireplace. Smiling, he pictured Ginny and James cuddling on the floor, laughing while they drew pictures while the flames crackled in front of them.

Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw a glow coming from the kitchen. Setting his folder on the table beside Ginny’s couch, he walked to the kitchen, where he found a nub of a candle that was close to being burnt out sitting on the clean counter. Next to it was a covered dish and a scrap of parchment. Harry unfolded the scrap to see Ginny’s neat handwriting covering the inside.

Harry – I left you some supper, I hope you enjoy chicken! Sorry I wasn’t awake when you got in. James and I were both pretty tired and turned in early. Wake me when you get in.
x Ginny


Harry smiled and set the note back on the counter and picked up the dish and moved over to take a seat at the kitchen table. Summoning his folder he had left on the arm of the couch, Harry opened it up and began to read.

He was so engrossed in the details Mad-Eye had laid out for him that he never heard the soft footsteps behind him.

“Can I have a drink of water please?” Harry jumped at the tiny, sleep filled voice that came from the side of him. Harry swung around to see James standing beside him, rubbing his eyes as he yawned.

“James! You startled me!” Harry said quietly as he closed the cover on the folder to avoid little eyes seeing what was inside. Reaching down, he gathered James up in his lap. James settled against Harry and grabbed a piece of his robe in his little hand. Feeling a little uncomfortable Harry paused, thinking of what he should do next. “So mate? What are you doing awake?”

James rubbed the piece of fabric between his fingers and looked up at Harry. His small face fringed in wild black hair, and even in the low light Harry could see the bright green of his eyes and the smattering of freckles that lay across his little nose.

“I had a dream and when I woke up. When I went to go to Mummy’s room, the light was on. I thought you were Mummy. Can I have a drink?” James asked looking at the glass of water that sat on the table near Harry.

Harry nodded and picked up the glass and when the little boy showed now signs of taking the glass himself, he held it up to his son’s mouth and tipped it up to give him a drink.

“Was it a bad dream?” Harry asked, gently rubbing James back. “Because you know sometimes I have bad dreams.” James looked back up at him with wide eyes.

“Really? You have bad dreams too?”

“Sure I do. And when I do and I wake up, I try to think of really good things to make me feel better.” Seeing James yawn, Harry rose from the chair he was sitting in and gathered James up towards his shoulder where he snuggled into Harry’s neck. “Shall we get you back in your bed then?” He suggested blowing out the candle and heading down the hall.

Gently, Harry lay James down on the small bed where he blinked sleepily and reached for his stuffed snitch. As Harry pulled the blankets around James and tucked him in, James asked, “What do you think about?”

“What do I think about? When I have my bad dreams?” Harry said as James nodded, fighting back the urge to close his eyes. Harry smiled and smoothed down James’ hair as he sat down on the edge of the bed. “Well, I think about lots of things. Like quidditch, and my best friends – your Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron, and your Mum. And now best of all – I’ll be able to think of you.” Harry looked down to see James’ eyes were fully closed and his breath had evened out in sleep. Leaning over he placed a kiss on his son’s forehead and whispered, “Goodnight.”

*~~*

Moonlight bathed Ginny’s room as Harry pushed the door open and slipped inside. Looking over towards the bed, he saw a bump under the thick quilt that was identified only by the bit of red hair that peeked out on the pillow. Unclasping his robe, Harry shrugged out of it and folded over the arm of the chair beside Ginny’s, following it with his pants and jumper.

Wearing his boxers and a t-shirt, Harry looked over at Ginny’s sleeping form and hesitated. He knew he should go to the couch for the night, but tonight all Harry wanted was to be close to Ginny and hold her before he had to leave the next day.

So, moving over to the opposite side of the bed, Harry drew back the covers and climbed in. No sooner had he settled his weight on the mattress and pulled the covers over him, did Ginny roll over. Harry tensed, waiting for her to say something, but she simply sighed and cuddled up to his side. Relaxing, he gathered Ginny closer and his mind began falling into sleep as he listened to her even breathing.

*~~*

Ginny woke with a jolt. Confused, she allowed her eyes to adjust to the darkness of the room to find Harry beside her, his face contorted in fear as he flung his head from side to side, while the rest of his body lay rigid.

Sitting up, she laid a hand gently on his arm and said his name softly. “Harry? Harry, please wake up.” Ginny watched as his green eyes flew open and connected with hers.

“Gin – what? What’s going on?” Harry sat up beside her and ran his hands through his hair, making it stick up wildly.

Ginny looked at him and ran her hand up and down his back to try and soothe him. “It’s ok now – I think you were having a nightmare.”

“Yeah – I was.” He said, relaxing slightly as he began getting his bearings. Not wanting to elaborate with Ginny, his mind spun as he thought it over.

“Do you want to talk about it? It might help.” Ginny said, wrapping his arm around his shoulders, she pulled him down to rest his head against her.

Harry thought for a moment, willing the bad thoughts away. “No – I’d rather not. It’s the same dream that seems to plague me.” Harry drew in a breath, Ginny’s lavender scent filling his nose as he relaxed against her.

“If you’re sure Harry. Just remember that I’m here for you.” Ginny replied, wishing he would tell her what was chasing him in his dreams. “What time did you get back?”

Harry glanced at the bedside clock to check the time. Which read 2:00 on the digital readout – it was the one muggle luxury that Ginny seemed to have in her home. “I think I was back around 10. Thank you for leaving that plate out for me. Mad-Eye didn’t supply dinner for anyone in attendance.” Pulling out of Ginny’s loose embrace, Harry sat up.

“Ginny? Do you want to talk about this right now?” He asked, looking at her as he waited for her response. Ginny’s hair was tousled from sleep and she was wearing an old t-shirt that was bright orange and had Cannons emblazoned across the front. Never had she looked more perfect to him.

“Harry,“ Ginny paused, looking down at the quilt that covered both of them. Moonlight still lay across it in strips. “I think I’d rather wait until the morning. We both need sleep.” She yawned widely and snuggled back down against the pillows. “Please? Will you just cuddle with me?”

Harry smiled as he lay back against his own pillow. Pulling Ginny close, he kissed her softly, hugging her against his body.

As quickly as James, Ginny slipped back into sleep. Harry stared at the ceiling, and concentrated on the witch lying next to him as he attempted to banish the nightmare from his mind.

Around five in the morning Harry realized that sleep was going to elude him for yet another night. Knowing when he was defeated, sighed and Harry carefully slipped from Ginny’s embrace to keep from waking her, he headed towards the shower.

The moment Harry left the bed Ginny woke. Knowing that he was making an attempt to be quiet she kept her eyes shut until she heard the shower start. Ever since James had been born, Ginny slept lightly. Rolling over onto her back, she stared at the ceiling, letting her mind wander.

Stretching her legs, Ginny felt the warmth of the sheets where Harry’s body had just been. A smile took over her face as she thought about how much had changed in the past little while. Not that long ago, Ginny had resigned herself to Harry never returning and had closed off the part of her brain that was filled with thoughts of him. It amazed Ginny how quickly the feelings had bubbled back up inside her.

As the shower turned off, Ginny sat up against the headboard and drew her knees up towards her chest. She watched silently as Harry entered the room, his black hair wet and stuck to his head, a bright, white towel slung around his waist.

“Harry?” Ginny said softly, “you couldn’t sleep?” Harry glanced over his shoulder to find Ginny sitting in the bed, looking very tiny and sleepy.

“Ginny! I thought you were sleeping. Did I wake you?” Ginny climbed out from under the covers to crawl to the end of the bed to watch as Harry dug out some fresh clothes.

“Well I woke when you got up – but I’ve been a light sleeper since I had James. I used to wake up every time he turned over. I’ve gotten much better now that he’s older, but I used to be quite scared he’d get taken from me when he was a baby.” Ginny explained as she twirled an end of her hair in her fingers. Pulling on a pair of gym pants, Harry sat on the bed beside Ginny, pulling her hands into his.

“Aw Gin.” Harry said, imagining how she was. So young and so scared.

“Harry – don’t dwell on what happened, please? Mum and Dad were there for me. Dad had so many charms on the Burrow that if a death eater had tried to take James in the night, they would have ended up being cursed eight ways until Sunday! I was just being a silly fretful first-time mum.” She grinned slightly and looked at their entwined hands. Biting her lip, she rubbed her thumb against the back of his hand. “So,” she began, “you have to go?”

Trying to get his thoughts all in order before he started, Harry paused for a moment and looked Ginny over from head to toe. He knew then he had to tell her he loved her, but first he knew he had to tell her where he had to go and what he had to do.

“Yes – I do. Mad-Eye put me in charge of the mission. I can’t tell you where we are going but we’re going to gather intelligence on a nest of death-eaters and take them out.” Harry looked Ginny in the eye and watched for her reaction.

“And when do you go?” Ginny asked, struggling to keep her voice even, she broke eye contact and looked down at their hands – hers paler than his and smattered with freckles, while his were dusted lightly with dark hair and much bigger.

“Tonight – I have to be back at HQ at 10 o’clock. Mad-Eye tried to demand I be there this morning to get things ready but I refused. I told him I had things that I needed to do before I left. He wasn’t impressed with me.” Harry half-smiled as he recalled Mad-Eye’s reaction when he had said “no”. Mad-Eye had blustered and growled until Lupin had taken him aside and explained about Ginny and James.

“Well – tonight you say? What things do you need to do?” Ginny asked, looking back up into Harry’s eyes.

“Well I wanted to let you know as much as I could. Let James know that I wouldn’t be back for a little while, check on Tonks – I have to tell her that they’ve given me a new partner… and….” Harry trailed off as Ginny interrupted him.

“New partner? Who is he?”

“She actually,” Harry answered, hopping off the bed and moving over to where his rucksack lay, he began to dig around.

“She?” Ginny asked coolly, a twinge of jealousy erupting in her belly. “So who is she?”

“Um – her name’s Ariadne Caileigh. She’s relatively new to the order but she did a lot of work in Ireland during the war.” Distracted, Harry kept digging until he found what he was looking for, the contents of his rucksack spread across the floor.

“I see…” Ginny said, pausing to allow Harry to elaborate. When he didn’t she continued, “So do you know nothing about this witch?”

Hopping back up onto the bed, Harry sat cross-legged facing Ginny, his eyes shining. “Nope – I met her for the first time tonight. Now Gin – “

“Wait – what’s she like? Is she pretty?”

“No, yes – I’m not really sure. I didn’t look at her too closely.” Harry watched as Ginny narrowed her eyes. “Why Ginny Weasley – are you jealous?” Harry chuckled and felt his ego swell as her cheeks went pink. “Now why would you be jealous? You should know there’s only room for one special witch in my life.” Harry paused and reached in his pocket with one hand, drawing Ginny’s towards him with the other.

“Harry – I am not jealous. I’m just curious about your work.” She stammered. “Now don’t look so smug.”

“Ginny – you know you stutter when you lie to me?” He laughed and when she opened her mouth to protest, he kissed her soundly on the mouth. Pulling back, he smiled crookedly and took a deep breath. “You know, we’ve known each other for a very long time now – I remember you running after the Hogwarts Express my first year. Seems like it wasn’t that long ago does it? Soon James will be going.”

“Not for another 7 years Harry! Don’t rush him – for goodness sakes!” Ginny said, looking at Harry with curiosity in her eyes.

“I know – he’s got some time yet.” Harry stopped again, searching within himself with the words to say to Ginny. He clenched his free hand tighter, feeling the weight of his surprise in his palm. Taking another deep breath, Harry began, “Ginny, I think I’ve always loved you – when we’re together I feel like I’ve found my second half, a better, stronger half than I could ever hope for.“

“Oh Harry,“ Ginny said, blushing, “don’t be saying those things. You’re the strongest wizard I’ve ever known!”

“But they’re true Gin – What I’m trying to say is that I love you. I always have, even when I’m being a prat and thinking I’m doing what’s best for everyone, I love you.” Harry paused and squeezed the hand he held in his. Then, he held his fist between them and turning it over, he revealed what he held. Lying in the centre of his palm was a ring, pale gold with Celtic designs etched in it, a small cluster of diamonds in the centre, with one emerald peeking out from the middle. He smiled at the soft cry of surprise as Ginny looked down onto his palm and then brought her eyes back up to his. “GinnyWeasleywillyoumarryme?” Harry chuckled at the way the words tumbled out of his mouth and tried again, more slowly this time. “Ginny Weasley. Will you marry me?”

At first, the words that came from Harry didn’t register in her brain. Ginny looked down into his hand and watched the ring gleam in sunlight that was filtering through the windows and then looking up she met Harry’s eyes with tears in hers. “Harry – I – wow. You love me?”

Harry laughed and gathered Ginny in a hug. “Yes Ginny I love you. But you’re kind of making me nervous here. Can you give me some sort of answer?”

“I love you too Harry.” She said softly, looking up into his eyes she could see how much he did in fact love her. “And yes – even when you are a prat. And you should know your track record between prat and non-prat isn’t that great. But – I do! Oops – I mean yes!”

Harry chuckled and slipped the ring onto Ginny’s left ring finger, where it fit perfectly. Holding her hand up in the air she admired how the sparkled and shone in the growing morning sun. “Harry, this is beautiful!” The tears that were brimming in her eyes spilled over as she placed her hands against his cheeks to draw him close for a kiss.

“It was my mum’s. Remus Lupin returned it to me; he thought I should have it. And from the first time I looked at it, I knew I would someday give it to you. There’s no one else for me Ginny.” Harry became quiet and turned his face into Ginny’s palm and pressed a kiss against it. “I hope this was the right moment. I wasn’t sure how you would take to my leaving again.”

“Harry – it was a perfect moment!” Ginny laughed and hugged him soundly. Staying in his arms, she paused and looked about her bedroom. The contents of Harry’s rucksack still lay on the floor beside the chair, the bed was messed from the two of them sleeping, sunshine was starting to seep through the window and Harry was holding her close. Wanting to keep this memory in her heart, she looked at him and took in his wild hair, the pale scar that slashed across his forehead, the glasses that had slipped down to the end of his nose and the smile that spread wide across his face. He smelled like her soap and of Harry. “This was just perfect.” She said finally, kissing him once more.

*~*

“Mummy! Nanny Edgy is late!!” James shouted as Ginny set his bowl of cereal down in front of him.

“James, I’m standing right beside you. You don’t need to shout my ear off.” Sitting down in the chair beside him, Ginny began fussing with his hair. And no Nanny Edgy isn’t late – she’s not coming today.” Ginny looked down at her son and then over at Harry who was sitting across the table with a wide grin plastered across his face.

“But why? She told me that we were going to the park this afternoon!” James’ set his spoon down with a bang, crossed his arms and began to pout.

“Please don’t pout, Quidditch-bug.” Ginny said, stroking her hand over his hair.

Harry pushed his chair back away from the table and came around to the other side of James. “Mummy asked her not to come today James.” He said, placing his arm across the back of the chair to still Ginny’s hand. “She’s taken the day off of work at the hospital.”

“That’s right, I took the day off and we’re going to spend the day with Harry and go out to the Burrow to see Granmum and Grampie. We have some big news to tell them.” Ginny explained to her son, watching as his eyes grew large with excitement. James loved being at the Burrow with her Mum and Dad.

“Really? Can we go now?” He asked bouncing out of his chair, the cereal before him untouched.

“No way – Mr Weasley, I want you back in that chair! You have to finish the rest of your breakfast before we go anywhere.”

Harry smiled wistfully at her watched Ginny stand in front of James with her hands on her hips, trying to give James her most stern expression. Soon, he’d get to witness this everyday; the three of them would be a family.

*~*

“Mum! Dad!” Ginny yelled as she threw open the front door to the Burrow. “Where are you?”

Molly Weasley came bustling out of the kitchen with a spoon in one hand and a dish towel in the other. “Ginny darling! What has brought you here so early this morning? I thought you had to work!” She kissed her daughter on the cheek and gave her a quick hug. Pulling back, she noticed the rosy glow and bright smile on her daughter’s face. Looking behind Ginny, she took in a very happy Harry and James. Seeing the look on her daughter’s face and on Harry’s, her radar instantly went up. “Hello Harry!” She exclaimed letting her daughter go and reaching out for her grandson. “James my sweet boy! Come see Granmum!” Harry passed him over to Molly and she enveloped him in a big hug before setting him down. “Why I think you’ve grown at least a foot since you and your Mum were here last! Why don’t you go and find Grampie and tell him to leave his breakfast and come into the front room? I think your Mum and Harry have something to they need to tell us.”

James nodded and dashed into the kitchen and returned shortly dragging Arthur by the hand. “Ok – ok – I’m here.” He said, joining the crowd assembled in the front room. Ginny was seated in an armchair with Harry perched on the arm, while Molly was standing to the side of them, trying not her hardest not to look like she was terribly interested in the why of this unexpected visit. “You realize I was in the middle of a very important muggle discovery – I discovered a tellyphone without cords yesterday! Harry do you know what it might be called?”

“Dad! No one wants to know about cordless telephones right now. Harry and I have something we need to tell you!” Ginny said hopping out of the chair and squeezing Harry’s hand. “Mum – Dad, we’re getting married!” Ginny thrust her hand out in front of her mother to show her the delicate ring that was on her finger. Molly screamed in joy and enveloped her youngest and only daughter in a fierce hug.

“Married? Oh this is so wonderful!” Molly said, her eyes filling with tears. “Finally, my baby girl is going to get married!”

Arthur held his hand out for Harry to shake and then pulled him into a hug. “My dear boy! It’s about time! You’ve always been a part of this family but now it will be official!”

Harry laughed and scooped James up from the sofa where he was watching the adults in amazement. Never before had James seen adults act the way they were acting. Squeezing him in a big hug, Harry looked into a matching set of green eyes. “Do you know what this means James? “ He asked, as James shook his head from side to side. “This means, that me and you and your mum are going to be a family! Would you like that?” Harry heard the chaos in the room subside as if the fate of everyone rested on his answer.

“Would you live with me and Mummy?” James asked looking over to where his Mum stood with his grandparents.

“Yes. I’d live where ever the two of you would be.” Harry said, feeling a knot of nervousness twitch in his stomach as he waited for his son’s blessing.

“Would you teach me to fly on a broom?” James asked, fiddling with the collar on Harry’s robe.

Ginny laughed and moved over to where father and son stood. “James! What does that have to do with anything?” Slipping an arm around Harry’s waist she watched her son.

“Nothing, I just want to learn to fly!” He exclaimed, laughing along with the adults and thinking he would very much like to have Harry in his family. As the laughter died down, he said simply, “Ok, I’d like to be a family. Daddy? Can you let me down now? I’d like to go outside and play.”

Dumbstruck by the words that had come out of James’ mouth, Harry lowered him out of his arms. Looking at Ginny, he noticed she had tears in her eyes and had heard the word that had come from James. “You heard that too?” When Ginny nodded, he pulled her around in front of him to hug and kiss her. “He called me Daddy!” He exclaimed, lifting Ginny off the floor and swinging her in a circle.

*~*

While James frolicked outside in the sunshine and warm summer air, Arthur dragged Harry off to the barn where he fiddled with all of his muggle artifacts and Ginny stayed in the kitchen with Molly and helped her straighten up the breakfast dishes.

“Oh Ginny! This is so wonderful! We need to have a big family dinner – you and Harry can announce your news then! Thank goodness it’s near the end of the week!” Molly bustled about sending dishes flying from the sink towards the cupboards, while the broom swept up the dust from the corner of the cozy kitchen.

“Mum – that’d be lovely. Except that Harry is leaving tonight. Mad-Eye’s put him back on active Auror duty.” Ginny’s happy expression quickly faded from her eyes as she thought about his leaving.

“Oh darling! How long will he be gone for?” Molly asked crossing over to where her daughter sat. Sitting beside Ginny, Molly ran her hand up and down her back, trying to soothe her as she had when Ginny was a child.

“He’s not sure. There are death-eaters that he’s gathering information on. I know it’s his job and I know I should be happy he told me this time, instead of dashing off without a word. But I’ll miss him Mum! What are we going to tell James?”

Molly smiled in sympathy at her daughter. “Well my dear, you’re going to tell him that his Daddy is going to be away for a little while but as soon as he can, he’ll be home with the two of you. It’s really all you can say. There’s no sense trying to tell him everything, he’s just a little boy and he doesn’t need to have his innocence taken away with talk of death-eaters.”

“Thanks Mum, you always have the right answer. It’s just going to be hard – but I guess I’ve been through worse.”

“And you’ve always come through wonderfully. Now I’m sure you and Harry don’t want to spend the entire day here with your father and me. So let’s talk about something cheerful. Have you and Harry set a date yet?”

Ginny laughed at her mother. “Nice segue way Mum – no we haven’t. We never really had a chance to talk about wedding dates. He proposed this morning at 5 o’clock when neither of us could sleep! It shocked the pants right off of me. One minute he’s telling me about his new partner he’s got and then bam – he’s professing his love and holding a ring in his hand!” Tears welled up in Ginny’s eyes as she relived the moment in her mind. “But you know Mum? It was perfect. Not exactly roses and candlelight – but it was just right.”

Molly felt her own tears bubble up in her eyes. “Of course it was perfect Ginny – Harry is your soul-mate. I remember when your father asked me to marry him. It was on a rickety old bridge in East Billings. It was way past my curfew and I knew your Granmum was going to have my hide when I went home, but I had a feeling that something would happen. Granmum wasn’t that upset when she seen the ring your father had given me! She was so happy. I was so happy. And you will be so happy.” Molly began to cry outwardly at that moment and grabbed Ginny up in a hug and squeezed tight. “Another of my babies is getting married! Now all we have to do is get the twins to settle down! Do you think it might happen?”

Ginny looked at her mother, and at the same time the two witches exclaimed, “No!” And began laughing.

*~*

“Mr. Weasley, I hope you are ok with my asking Ginny to marry me.” Harry stated as he followed Arthur into the barn closed the door behind them.

“Harry! How many times must I ask you to call me Arthur! And I couldn’t be happier that you’ve finally asked my daughter for her hand in marriage!” He stated and began to look through a pile of junk that was heaped on the work bench near the back wall.

Harry’s cheeks grew pink at Arthur’s reply. He had long ago felt that he had been accepted into the Weasley family as one of their own, but he still had fears that Arthur would be rather angered to know that Harry Potter had fallen in love with his only daughter.

“I realize I’m doing this sort of backwards sir, but I wanted to ask you permission to ask Ginny to marry me.” Harry said quickly, as he stood nervously near the door.

Arthur set down the cordless phone that he was holding and walked over to where Harry was standing. “Harry, you have been a part of this family from the first day you stepped on the Hogwarts Express and became Ron’s best friend. And I realize you are worried that I may think differently of you because you love my youngest child and only daughter. But there is no wizard out there that I’d rather see marrying Ginny. You’re good for her. And she’s good for you.” Slinging an arm around Harry’s shoulders, he guided him over to the workbench and pointed out the window to where James was running about the yard, chasing garden gnomes. “She makes you happy. You may think us older folk don’t notice things like that, yes – even when you try and hide it. But she does. I think she helps you forget who you are, doesn’t she?”

Harry focused his eyes out the window at his son. The sound of laughter and gnome cries floating through the air into the barn. “She does do that Mr. Weasley. Ginny doesn’t care about who the world thinks I am. I realized that when I left last time. Each night she was the last thing I thought about before I closed my mind off. She’s very special.”

Arthur cleared his throat to cover the tears that had misted over his eyes. “She is Harry. And I’m glad she chose you. You have my permission to marry my daughter. Just please – don’t tell her that you asked me. I think she would find it insulting. My daughter is very hard-headed, like her mother!” Clapping Harry on the back he turned to the pile of junk on the table in front of them. “Now – you’ve lived in the muggle world. How does this tellyphone work with no cords?”

Chapter 16: See you later
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry entered Tonks’ room and gently closed the door behind him. The room was lit with filtered sunshine and above him the clouds rolled past on the enchanted ceiling.

“Hey there Tonks.” Harry said, hoping his voice sounded cheery. Many healers thought that once the mind was buried deep in the subconscious by the Crucio curse those affected could no longer hear the things happening around them. Harry and Ginny had talked about it one night after his return and it was her belief that patients could hear everything that happened around them, they just couldn’t react to it. Harry tried to keep himself upbeat when visiting Tonks but he still felt awkward when he entered her room alone and started a conversation with her.

Pulling up a chair at her beside, Harry looked at his old friend and partner. Though her features looked the same while she was in a coma, the vibrancy that inhabited her prior to being cursed was gone. He always felt sadness when he visited, only Harry knew that the curses Tonks was hit with should have been his. Lucius Malfoy had initially pointed his wand square at Harry, but Tonks had come busting in the room and started shouting insults at him. Never calm under pressure, Lucius turned the wand on her and started firing. Harry knew that Tonks had saved him that night; he only hoped that Ginny would be able to bring her back.

“So Mad-Eye’s sending me back out tonight.” Harry said, looking about the room. “I reckon he thinks I’ve had enough time off. A group of us are off to the East-Urals. Checking out a new nest of death-eaters.” Suddenly feeling nervous, Harry got up and started pacing the room, “They gave me a new partner.” He swung around to face the bed – half expecting Tonks to have leapt from the bed in outrage, but of course, she lay there, her face frozen in the tranquility of being lost in your mind.

Sighing Harry continued, “So yup – a new partner. I wasn’t impressed. I told Mad-Eye I could handle it myself but he wouldn’t budge. It’s Ariadne Caileigh – do you remember her. She worked in Ireland during the war. Fairly green still. Ginny wasn’t very impressed by that news.” Harry laughed as he pictured Ginny’s reaction to his new partners name and the fact that she was female. Harry returned to the chair beside the bed.

“Yeah – you heard me. Ginny and I are back together. And you were right – I never should have left last time without saying goodbye. Ginny was really mad at me, and there’s nothing fiercer than a Weasley temper. It’s been quite a few months Tonks. I’ve got a son! His name is James, he looks just like me. You’d really get a kick out of him! And the even bigger news – I did it. I asked Ginny to marry me.” Harry paused again; the happiness he’d experienced all day was building again in his chest. “And – she said yes. I know you always said she’d take me back when we got home but I was nervous, you know what Gin is like.” Harry paused and fiddled with the sleeve of his robe. “I guess we’re going to have a wedding, I’ll have the family I have wished for as long as I can remember. I really hope that you’re back for it.” Harry took his friend’s hand in his and squeezed it. “Well I guess I should go, I promised Ginny I wouldn’t be gone for too long. She’s trying to be good about my leaving. But I can tell she’s holding back on some things.” Harry stood and brushed a brotherly kiss against Tonks forehead. “I’ll come in as soon as I get back. Stay strong and don’t give Lupin too much grief, it gives him grey hair!”

He then took quiet leave of the room, leaving the sunlight streaming onto Tonks as she lay in the hospital bed.

*~*

Ginny lay on the couch with James snuggled in beside her. His small even breaths were brushing against the nape of her neck as she gently moved her hand up and down his back. After leaving the Burrow, they had returned to the flat while Harry went to St. Mungo’s for a visit with Tonks. James had been full of questions about the news of their wedding, mainly wanting to know why Harry and Ginny hadn’t married while James was in his mummy’s stomach. As patient as Ginny was with him, she was relieved when he’d agreed to snuggle on the couch for a nap.

Letting her mind drift, Ginny started to think about Harry. She was going to miss him while he was gone and worry. Last time he had left, he was only leaving her and he thought he was doing the noble thing. As her eyes grew heavy and her hand stilled on James’ back, she prayed to Merlin that Harry would be safe while he was gone.

Ginny jolted awake as she heard Harry whisper her name in her ear. Not feeling the weight of James in her arms, she looked down to see him gone. Seeing the question in her eyes, Harry pointed to the love seat adjacent to the couch Ginny was lying on. James was curled up with a yellow throw that Molly had knitted last year as a Christmas gift for Ginny. She looked back at Harry and smiled as he leaned over her and laid a kiss on her lips.

“Mmmm, now that’s a nice way to wake up from a nap.” Ginny said quietly, lifting her hands and running them through Harry’s thick hair, pulling him down and kissing him again.

“My pleasure Miss Weasley. I hope you were having sweet dreams.” Harry stretched out on top of Ginny, propped up by his elbows on either side of her head.

“Much better now that you’re back. How was Tonks?” Ginny asked running her hands over his shoulders and down his back as Harry spread kisses along her jaw and down her neck.

“She was the same.” Harry glanced up from his task and saw a look of concern in her eyes. “Yes, I sat with her and told her all the news.” Ginny smiled and kissed his cheek.

“That’s perfect Harry. I know she’s in there somewhere. Maybe by the time you come home, she’ll be back.” Harry shrugged and settled more comfortably against Ginny as he resumed kissing her. Ginny felt pleasure pool in her tummy as she felt his lips roam down her neck. Just as her mind was lost in randomness, she remembered that James was tucked up on the couch next to them. Glancing over, she noticed he was still sleeping but she knew he wouldn’t be for too much longer. “Harry – much as I’m enjoying this - we’re not alone – there’s a little set of eyes and ears that are going to wake up sooner rather than later.” Ginny giggled at the look of resignation on Harry’s face. “Oh sweetie, I promise we’ll have some alone time before you leave. James’ bedtime is very early tonight.” Placing one last kiss on Ginny’s lips, Harry sat up against the back of the couch. Ginny snuggled in beside him.

“Ok – no snogging. What did the two of you get up to while I was at St. Mungo’s?” Harry asked, wrapping his arm around Ginny’s shoulder, and pulling her closer so he could inhale her lavender scent.

“We came home, had some lunch and then James asked question after question about the wedding. He wanted to know why we waited to get married. Why we weren’t like Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione. Then he asked when the baby in my belly was going to grow!”

Harry looked down at Ginny in shock. “He asked you that? But you’re not are you?”

Ginny laughed and punched him lightly in the chest. “No you sod, I’m not! I think he thought that I must be pregnant because Ron and Hermione are married and she’s pregnant. He’s four – to him, that’s the way the world must be!”

“I suppose you’re right. But would it be so bad to have another one?” Harry asked lightly, thinking to himself how happy he would have been if she had said she was pregnant.

Ginny pondered for a moment. “Well, no – it wouldn’t be a bad thing. I mean I do want more children – but right now,” she paused as she felt the tips of her ears burn as she blushed. “I just want you to myself. Well for me and James. And I’d like our wedding to go through.”

“When would you like our wedding Ginny? I was thinking about it today while I was at St. Mungo’s, and I’d like to have it when I come home. I know it makes it an autumn wedding….”

“There’s nothing wrong with the autumn wedding, but I would be afraid that you’d be delayed somehow, with your auror duties.” Ginny linked her hand with his and looked at them intertwined as she talked. “I know Mum will want us to have it at the Burrow, which I totally agree to. I just wouldn’t want to plan everything and then have you not come home on time.”

“Well, Gin, we, and by we I mean you, could make the plans and then send out invitations when I get home. Plan for a wedding a few weeks after I come home?”

“I’m not sure how Mum would feel about that Harry. She may want to have a big wedding. I’m her only girl after all.”

“That is true, but Ginny, it’s your wedding. What would you like?”

Ginny laughed at his logic. Harry could be such a man sometimes. Weddings were never simple affairs; Ginny recalled the drama that accompanied both Fleur and Bill’s wedding and Ron and Hermione’s. And that was Weasley boys getting married. As the only Weasley girl, Ginny knew she may not have just a small affair. “Well I’d be happy with a small wedding, just my family, and a few of our friends. But Harry – I’d like you to be involved. It’s your wedding too.”

Harry looked down and tilted Ginny’s chin so that her eyes looked up into his. “Ginny, the only thing I care about is finally becoming a family. I don’t want a big wedding either. You know me, the less people know, the better. I want it all to be perfect for you.”

Ginny sighed and placed a kiss on Harry’s cheek. “Ok, Mr. Potter. I’ll discuss it with Mum. If I pitch a small wedding as being all what you want, she’ll do it. Sometimes I think she loves you more than her own children.”

Harry laughed at her suggestion and catching her chin again in his fingers brought his lips down to hers to kiss them. “Mmmmm,” he said, pulling away after a bit, “I’m going to miss this.” He said a melancholy smile on his face.

*~*

“Mummy? What time are Uncle Ron and Aunt ‘Mione coming?” James asked, still rubbing sleep from his eyes. He’d woken up from his nap and was feeling cranky.

“Soon Quidditch-Bug. Now can you help Mummy and take your toys into your bedroom?” Ginny asked, patting down James’ hair, which had been made wilder from sleeping.

“I want Daddy to help me!” James said, pouting and looking over to Harry.

“Well, James Weasley, if you want your father to help you, then ask him.” Ginny stated, looking from father to son and then exiting the room, leaving the two of them alone.

For a moment, Harry stared down at James, his heart doing double time in his chest. He still wasn’t used to James calling him “Daddy”. He wasn’t really sure if he’d ever get over it. “Sure I’ll help you Mate. What would you like me to carry? “ Harry asked, waiting for his little boy to respond.

“You can carry my books and colouring quills.” James said as he picked up an armful of animals and blocks from the floor.

Harry gathered up the books and quills from the floor and coffee table and headed down the hall to where James bedroom was. He found James sitting sulkily on the bed, his stuffed snitch in his arms. Harry set the contents of his arms on the shelf closest to the door and sat down on the bed next to him.

“Hey Mate, what’s the matter?” Harry asked, looking down at his son.

“Nothin’ “ James mumbled, curling around his stuffed snitch and avoiding Harry’s gaze.

“I think there might be. You were pretty cranky when you woke up from your nap.” Harry said, trying to coax an answer out of him.

“mummy’ssad.” James mumbled quietly.

“I’m sorry, what was that?” Harry asked, touching James hair softly.

“Mummy’s sad!” James shouted, looked up at Harry suddenly, his green eyes glinting against the light.

“Mummy’s sad? Why do you say that?” He asked, gathering the little boy into his lap.

“Because she is. Mummy’s eyes are sad.” James said, his small fingers playing with the wing of the stuffed snitch. “I don’t like it when Mummy’s sad. “

“Hmm… you know what James; I think I know why Mummy might be sad.” Harry paused for a moment, thinking about what to say next. “I think it might be my fault. I have to go away for a little while.”

“You have to leave? But you promised you wouldn’t!” James cried, tears gathering on the rims of his eyes.

“Aw, mate, I have to go, it’s my job. But I’m going to come back. When I said I’d never leave you and your mum, I meant that I’d never leave without letting the two of you know. I promised your Mum.” Not knowing how to continue, Harry hugged the little boy as the tears fell out of his eyes and ran down his cheeks.

Ginny lightly knocked on the door of James bedroom, and quietly stepped inside. Harry looked up at her movement and met her eyes. She moved towards the bed and sat down beside Harry.

“Quidditch-bug? What’s wrong?” She asked, reaching over to stroke his hair.

“Daddy’s going to leave us, he promised he wouldn’t!” James cried, rubbing his eyes and looking at his mother. “And now you’re sad.”

Ginny sighed; she knew this moment was going to come. “Oh sweetie, I am sad that Harry is going away for a bit, but I know he’s coming back. And he’s not going away for long. Are you Harry?” She asked.

“Ah, well, no. I’ll only be gone long enough to do my job. Then the first thing I’ll do when I’m finished is come back here to see you and your mum.”

“Do you promise?” James said, sniffing back his tears as he looked from his mother to his father.

Harry looked down into his son’s green eyes and nodded slowly. “Yes, I promise I’ll do the best I can to come home to you and your mum.” Digging in his pocket, Harry pulled out a smooth worn piece of glass. Its corners were rounded from sand and water rushing over it for years. He had found it on a beach in Greece during the war and when he saw the red colour of it glinting in the sun, he had been reminded of Ginny’s hair. “Here mate; this is a really special piece of glass. It’s been made smooth by the water of the ocean and the beach sand in Greece. I want you keep this with you until I come home and if you miss me or if you think your mum is missing me, you can pull this stone out and think of me.”

James took the piece of glass out of Harry’s hand and turned it over in his small hands. “It’s really pretty.” He said, watching the light glint off of it. He considered it for a moment and looked back at Harry. “Ok then.” He said, hugging Harry and then sliding off of Harry’s lap, James set it on the bedside table and left the room.

As James left the room, Ginny threw her arms around Harry and embraced him in a fierce hug.

“Oh Harry! Thank you for that. I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle your leaving and having James understand it. I think you’ve made it so much easier for him.”

Harry returned the hug and keeping Ginny in his arms he pulled back so he could kiss her lightly on the lips. “Ginny, you don’t have to handle these things by yourself anymore. Remember that ok? I’m here for both of you. Forever.” Harry smiled as he watched Ginny’s eyes fill with tears. “Hey now, no tears ok? You know how they make me.” He lifted a hand towards her cheek to wipe the fallen tears away.

“Oh you!” Ginny smiled and pushed herself away from Harry on the tiny bed. “You know I’m only crying because you are such a prat!” At the look of shock on his face, she leaned back towards him and kissed him soundly on the mouth. “Come on. I need to get dinner ready. Ron and Herimione will be here soon.”

*~*
“Oi! Ginny be the kindest sister I never had and pass me those potatoes would ya?” Ron said from across the table. Ginny threw a glare over the table at Ron as she laughed.


“Ronald Weasley, not only am I the kindest SIBLING you’ve EVER had, but also the smartest and prettiest. But since you asked so nicely, you may have some potatoes.” Ginny lifted the dish of potatoes and passed them over the table to her brother, who took them without further comment.

“Ron! Honestly, you think you could ask Ginny a bit more nicely.” Hermione said, laughing. “Ginny this meal is delicious. I would love to be able to cook like you do.”

Ron snorted and scooped some potatoes onto his plate. “Hermione, I wish you would be able to cook like Ginny. But I guess we all have our cross to bear. Ow!” He said, rubbing the back of his head after a swift slap from his wife.

Harry chuckled at his friends, taking in the life around him. It was a new memory that he would put away to remember while out in the field on Auror duty. Hermione was sitting primly beside Ron, glaring at him for the comment he had made about her cooking. Ginny was laughing out loud at the look on Ron’s face as Hermione slapped the back of his head. Ron’s face was quickly turning red from being put in his place by his wife, even as he continued to pile potatoes high on his plate. While James sat beside Harry, laughing at all of the adults. For a moment, Ginny locked eyes with Harry and the contact between the two of them took his breath away. In her deep brown eyes, Harry saw love there and he hoped that she could see the same echoing back at her from his. She smiled softly at him before turning back to Ron to call him a git for taking all of the potatoes from the dish.

“Now then,” Hermione said, pointedly ignoring her husband. “Ginny, Harry – have you set a date for the wedding?”

“Well, we’ve tentatively decided to get married when Harry comes home.” Ginny said, leaning over to cut James’ meat with her knife. “It’ll be a bit of work, but Hermione will you help me plan? And of course – I’d be honoured if you’d be part of the wedding as well!”

Hermione’s face lit up and she squealed in delight and jumped up from the seat she was sitting in. “Of course I’d love to help you plan and be in the wedding! That is if you don’t mind your witch-in-waiting being big as a house!” Rushing over to where Ginny sat, she gave her a fierce hug and began crying. “This is wonderful! I’ve dreamed of this day for the both of you. I’m so glad it’s actually going to happen!” Hermione sat back down at her place and dabbed her damp eyes with her napkin.

James watched in amazement as the two women cried and laughed all at once. “Why are Mummy and Aunt ‘Mione crying and laughing at the same time.” He asked.
Ron chuckled and whispered, “James, don’t even try to understand them. They’re girls and believe me when I say this – they just get more baffling the older you get.”

*~*

“Goodbye Harry. Be safe.” Hermione said, hugging her old friend fiercely. “I know you won’t listen to me but please, try to stay within the rules. Tell me you will, otherwise I’ll worry horribly.”

Harry chuckled and returned Hermione’s hug. “Hermione, you’ll worry no matter what I tell you, but yes, I’ll be as safe as I can and stay within the rules. As for you, you had better take care of yourself. I’d tell you not to work so hard at the office, but you won’t listen anyways.”

Hermione laughed at Harry’s comment and gave him another hug. Grabbing Ron by the hand she moved towards the door. “Come on Ron. We should be going. Thank you so much for the wonderful evening Ginny. I’ll talk with you soon.”

“Night Hermione. Night Ron.” Ginny said, waving as the couple walked out the door and it swung shut behind them. Walking over to the door, she turned the bolt to lock it and moved over to where Harry was standing just a few steps away. Wrapping her arms around his torso she held him tightly in a hug, inhaling his scent. For as long as she could remember knowing him, Harry had always smelled the same to her. She couldn’t place what it was – he just smelled like Harry.

“They are quite a pair aren’t they?” Harry said, holding Ginny as close to him as he possibly could while wishing he didn’t have to leave her in just a few hours.

“That they are. But Harry – the last thing I want to do right now is discuss my brother and my friend. Let’s just discuss – us.” She said, looking up her brown eyes glinting with amusement. “You know you’ve never been good at this sort of thing. It’s a good thing I love you, otherwise I’d classify you as hopeless. Come on.” Grabbing Harry’s hand, Ginny led him down the hall before he could say a word.

*~*

Ginny felt the steady rise and fall of Harry’s breathing against her cheek as she lay against him. Feeling his fingers sliding through her hair, she propped herself up against his chest on her elbows and looked into his face. At that moment in time Harry’s face was the picture of relaxation. His black hair was falling over his forehead and obscuring his scar. Ginny smiled as she took in his half closed eyes and beard-roughened cheeks. Harry gazed back sleepily and reached up to push back the hair that had fallen in her face while she looked at him.

“Having a good look?” He asked as he cupped the back of her head with his other hand and pulled her face towards him. Kissing her, Harry let his tongue explore along her lips before dipping inside her mouth to taste her.

When their lips parted briefly, Ginny nodded silently and kissed him again, laying on top of Harry, Ginny let her hands roam through his thick black hair as she felt his hands slide up and down the soft skin of her back. Feeling an urgency in her kiss which made him stir even more than her naked body against him, Harry pressed against her and rolled Ginny over so he lay above her. Pulling him down, Ginny pressed a kiss against his forehead and then along his jaw line before once again returning to his mouth. Silently she hooked her legs around his hips and together they made love once more.

*~*

Groaning, Harry awoke to a pounding at the front door of the flat. Reaching for his glasses on the night stand beside him, Harry hurriedly put them on and was ready to dash out to answer when he heard the knocking stop and muffled voices from the front room. Looking at Ginny’s beside clock, he noticed it was 9:30 and almost time for him to leave to meet Moody and the rest of the Aurors at Grimmauld Place. Grabbing his clothes and pulling them on he went out to see who was at the door.

“I’m sorry; I must have the wrong flat. I’m looking for the place where Harry Potter is staying.” The tall blonde woman said as she looked down at Ginny who was pulling her robe tightly around herself.

“No, you have the right flat. Harry Potter is here. And who might you be?” Ginny responded as she smoothed down her mussed hair and took in the woman before her. Gesturing for the stranger to come into the flat, Ginny shut the door behind her.

“I’m Ariadne Caileigh, Mr. Potter’s partner.” Ginny looked the woman up and down. She was younger than she was – only by a year or two and had a strong Irish accent. Ginny suspected that she was only a few inches taller than her but because of the boots the woman had on, it made it seem like she was towering over her.

“Oh, I see. Well let me get him for you then.” Ginny said and turned to head down the hall only to see Harry entering the room. “Harry! I didn’t realize you were awake. Your partner is here to see you.” Ginny sent a look towards him that in her mind clearly said – you never mentioned she was a tall, blonde goddess!

Walking up to Ginny, he placed a kiss on her cheek and then looked at Ariadne. “Why are you here? How did you find me? “

“Mad-Eye sent me over to find you. He wanted to ensure you’d be at Grimmauld Place on time.” Ariadne looked from Harry back to the small red head that had answered the door. Clearly, she meant something to him and vice versa as the red head was sending looks towards Ariadne that would seriously harm her if possible.

“Mad-Eye sent you here? I still have a whole half-hour before our scheduled meeting. When have I ever been late for rendezvous before a meeting? When? I’ll tell you when.” Harry ranted as he started to pace between the two women. “Never! That’s when. I have always been on time for rendezvous before leaving on a mission. I can’t believe the old mad man sent you here to get me!”

“I’m really quite sorry Mr. Potter. But Mad-Eye was quite adamant about making sure you arrived on time. Remus Lupin argued that you would arrive well within the scheduled time but he had it in his head that you’d be late.” Ariadne looked from Harry to Ginny and back again.

As Harry strode past Ginny, she reached out and grabbed his arm to still him. “Harry, calm down. I don’t want James to wake up.” She said calmly, holding him still. “Now, obviously Moody is concerned you may be late. That’s all.”

Harry felt all the annoyance in him leave with Ginny’s words. Taking hold of the hand that lay on his forearm, he pulled her close. “You’re right. Ariadne – I’m sorry. You’re only doing your job I suppose.”

Ariadne looked at the two standing before her and felt the tips of her ears grow pink as she realized she had obviously interrupted something. She watched as the red head elbowed Harry in the side and gesture towards Ariadne as she stood there, thanking the fact that her hair was long enough to cover her ears and her embarrassment.

“Oh ok, yeah. Ariadne, this is Ginny Weasley, my fiancée. Ginny is this Ariadne, my temporary partner.” Harry said, putting the emphasis on temporary as he introduced the two. Ginny stepped forward to shake Ariadne’s hand.

“Nice to meet you Miss Weasley.” Ariadne said. As she shook Ginny’s hand, she was surprised at the strength of her handshake. Ariadne had heard about Ginny and her role in defeating Voldemort but she had never expected such a strong woman in such a little package.

“Nice to meet you as well, but please call me Ginny. You’re going to be working with my future husband after all.” Ginny responded with a smile.

“Ok – Ginny then. Well Mr. Potter. Mad-Eye is going to be having a fit if we’re not back soon. We should be going.”

“Listen Ariadne – first please stop calling me Mr. Potter, Harry is fine. Now how about you go on ahead. Let Mad-Eye know you’ve found me. I’d like to be alone with Ginny to say goodbye ok?” Harry said, waiting for Ariadne to leave. When she paused, he left Ginny’s side to walk her to the door. “I solemnly swear I will be at Grimmauld Place by the time that Mad-Eye Moody wants us there. I’m packed and ready to go; I just need to spend this time with Ginny. I’ll see you in 10 minutes.” Not giving Ariadne a chance to object, Harry gently pushed her out the door, closing and locking it behind her.

Ginny waited for Harry to turn around and begin walking towards her to make her first comment. “You didn’t say she was tall and leggy and blonde! Harry –“ Harry quickly cut her off with a kiss and held her close.

“Gin – I didn’t even notice that she was tall and leggy and blonde. If I’ve told you at least once today, you’re the only witch I’ll ever love. Yes, Ariadne is pretty and attractive. But – “ Harry held a fingertip to Ginny’s lips to silence her, smiling as she pouted. “But, if you haven’t noticed – I’m more into fiery redheads that could hex me twelve ways to Sunday. I see Ariadne being more of a girl that would catch old Fred’s eye before she’d catch mine.” Harry put his hands on Ginny’s waist and lifted her higher so that her mouth was level with his. “Now shall we say goodbye?”

Ginny’s eyes welled up with tears as she nodded and met Harry’s mouth with her own. As she kissed him, Harry felt Ginny’s tears against his cheeks. Pulling away from her, he looked deep into her eyes. “Hey – Gin – don’t cry.” When Ginny just looked at him without saying anything, Harry smiled. “Ok, you can cry - a little – but don’t be sad. It’s not goodbye – just a see you later isn’t it? I’ll be back before you know it. And then –“ He paused, kissing the end of her nose. “You won’t be able to get rid of me. I’ll be underfoot so much – you’ll wish for Mad-Eye Moody to show up at the door and take me away!” “Ginny tried valiantly to not smile at the thought of Mad-Eye Moody as Harry set her gently back on her feet. “One moment – let me get my things.” Harry said, dashing back down to Ginny’s room to get his ruck sack and other belongings.

As he left the room, Ginny wrapped her arms around herself. Already feeling lonely without Harry she tried not to let more tears fall as she waited for him. She smiled as he rushed back into the room with the rucksack over his shoulder and his broom in one hand. “Ready then?” She asked, her voice faltering as she looked at Harry.

“Think so.” Harry said. “I’ve got the important stuff. Remember – I’ll be back before you know it. I’d say I will write but you know I won’t be able to.” Harry smiled and took Ginny in his arms one last time. “Take care of yourself and James ok?” Leaning down, he kissed her one last time. “Goodbye Ginny. I love you.” He said, giving Ginny one final hug.

“I love you too Harry. Be safe.” Ginny said and then as Harry apparated out of the room with a loud *crack*, she lingered for a moment before turning down the light and going back into her bedroom.


Chapter 17: The Mission Begins
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

As Harry muttered the password, the front door of 12 Grimmauld Place swung open. He entered the front hallway and moved into the front parlour where he propped his Firebolt against the wall and dropped his ruck sack behind him. As he did so, the clock in the hall chimed to indicate it was 10 o’clock in the evening. Ah, right on time, he thought. And then as if on cue, he heard Mad-Eye’s roar from the meeting room. “Where is Potter??”

“I’ve arrived Mad-Eye – just setting my things down!” He roared back, leaving his things and going in to the area where everyone had gathered. He nodded to those that were near the front of the room before heading directly over to where Mad-Eye and Remus were standing. “Gentlemen, would you mind if I had a word with the two of you for a moment?” He said in a low tone; and to the right to him, Ariadne blushed a deep pink. She knew Harry must still be annoyed with her being sent to fetch him.

“Hello Harry, could it wait until after we’ve finished this?” Remus said calmly. He knew what Harry was annoyed with. He had warned Mad-Eye this would happen.

“No – it will not wait until we’re done. When we’re done – the group of us leave. I want to discuss it now.” Harry said, his green eyes glinting behind the lenses of his glasses.

Mad-Eye looked from Harry to Remus and then back to Harry and could see from the look on his face that Harry wasn’t budging until they gave in. “Come on then Potter, let’s go into the other room.” Turning he walked away not, knowing the other two would follow.

In the adjacent room, Remus shut the door and placed a silencing charm on the room so the other Aurors couldn’t hear.

As soon as Harry felt the charm fall into place, he turned to Mad-Eye. “How dare you send a rookie off to fetch me!” He shouted, finally letting his annoyance out.

“I wanted to ensure that you got here.” Mad-Eye said simply, which infuriated Harry further. “And now you are. Shall we head back to the meeting?”

“I told you this would annoy him Mad-Eye.” Remus said, turning from Moody towards Harry. “Mad-Eye was just worried that you may be late.”

“There is more to this than my being late.” Harry said as he began pacing the small room. Originally it had been used as a waiting area for the Black’s house-elves. Now – it was a junk room, it contained old charts, parchment and maps that had been used in past missions. Because the deatheaters were such a tight knit group, the DA had strict rules about anything that could be used as evidence not being destroyed. Harry had thought after the war was over, Remus would have ordered this room cleaned. He had been wrong.

“You’re right Potter – it is about more than you being late.” Mad-Eye admitted, causing Harry to stop in mid-stride to stare at him. “Your mind is elsewhere and I need you to be in this 110%”

Harry ran his hands through his wild hair. “When have I ever given less than 110%?” He asked.

“Harry, now I know this is going to sound like we’re coddling you. But we’re worried that your mind is more on Ginny and James than on this mission. It won’t be a safe place for anyone on the team if you are like this.” Remus said, placing a fatherly hand on Harry’s forearm.

Harry looked at both of the wizards in the room with him. Each was a great wizard in his own way. Remus for overcoming his werewolf side and becoming a great scholar, which in turn helped pave the road towards Voldemort defeat and the war’s end. Mad-Eye was the type of auror that let nothing stop him in his quest to bringing down the darkest of the dark wizards. He was surprised at their thoughts. “Remus – of course my mind is on the two of them. They are my family. I can’t deny that. But I thought you both knew me better than that. When I was 18 and fighting the darkest wizard in the history of the wizarding world, I put my friends and family to the back of my brain, even though I knew some were dead, and others seriously injured. But I went on.” He paused for a moment, waiting to see if either would comment. “When the war continued, and I decided to leave everyone behind once more, did I falter? No. I’m surprised you thought you had to interfere with my private life.”

Mad-Eye stayed quiet while Remus sighed heavily. “Harry – I don’t know what to say. We’re just concerned about your safety.”

“Well there’s nothing to be concerned about Remus. Now lift the charm. Let’s get on with this meeting.” Harry said bluntly as he moved towards the door and opened it.

*~*

Harry mounted his broom and kicked off of the ground. He deeply inhaled the cool air of the summer as he flew high into the night. His cranky mood dissipated as the breeze ruffled his hair. During the first few of seconds of flight, Harry always experienced a freedom that only he could understand. As the firebolt leveled off, Harry let out a deep sigh and smiled widely. Despite the fact that he was about to fly into a dangerous situation, Harry’s mood was light and the smile on his face reflected the fact.

“Alright folks! It’s time to head off.” Harry shouted as he turned towards the group of witches and wizards assembled behind him on similar firebolts, cleansweeps and nimbuses. “We’re flying straight through until we hit Yekaterinburg. Once we hit the rally point we’ll assemble at the safe house before proceeding to the mountains.” Harry gestured towards a wizard near the far right of the pack. Beckoning him to come closer, he waited for him to arrive. “Yuri – when we arrive I will need you with me and Ariadne. I speak a bit of Russian but as we both know - you’re our expert.”

Yuri Pavelec was a native to the country of Russia and had been in charge of finding death eaters there during the war. He was a quiet wizard that did his job effectively. The two had met when Harry was doing an investigation at Durmstrang and at Harry’s request, Moody and Lupin had recruited him as their agent in Russia. He nodded to Harry and turned on his broom to return to the place in the pack.

“Right then,” Harry said. Looking over the group once more. “Has everyone performed the cloaking charm?” He watched as many of them nodded. Mad-Eye’s auror group had developed a cloaking charm that allowed those in close proximity to see them but from far away the crowd looked like a simple cloud in the sky or a fog on the ground. It was more effective for flying but could work on the ground when crossing large areas like fields or mountains. “All right – let’s move out!” Harry shouted as he turned on his broom and headed East.

*~*

As Harry headed towards the Ykaterinburg and the East Urals, Ginny tossed and turned in her bed as she urged herself to sleep. Flipping her pillow over for the fifth time and fluffing up beneath her head, she fell back against it and sighed. Her body had reached the point of exhaustion as her lack of sleep the past few days was finally catching up with her. She closed her eyes and snuggled down into comfort of her down duvet and willed her mind to stop going. But it wouldn’t. If her mind didn’t shut down soon, Ginny was afraid she was going to have to pull out one of her old text books from her History of Magic class. The 8th Goblin War was particularly bad.

Around her, the flat settled itself. And it made it seem too quiet. She sighed again and rolled over onto her side. Looking at the empty spot where Harry had been less than two hours ago made her feel melancholy. She pulled his pillow towards her and hugged it, breathing in his scent. It helped her brain settle slightly and she felt herself relax slightly.

Ginny was falling off the last precipice of consciousness into sleep when there was a light tap on the window. Instantly, her eyes flew open to see Hedwig perched on the sill outside, a letter in her beak.

“Hedwig! What are you doing here? Harry said he wouldn’t be able to write while he was gone. Oh I hope there’s nothing wrong.” Ginny exclaimed as she threw back the covers and rushed to the window to let the snowy owl in.

Hedwig hopped through the window and held her beak out for Ginny to take the letter. Ginny removed the envelope from her beak and stroked the soft feathers on the owl’s breast. “Thank you Hedwig.” She clicked her beak at Ginny and flew to the top of the wardrobe and tucking her head beneath her wing, Hedwig became still.

Ginny smiled at the owl and walked back over to the bed to turn on the light on the night table. As the soft light flooded the room she read her name scrawled across the front of the envelope in Harry’s distinct handwriting. She smiled as she ran her fingers over her name and turning it over, she pulled the seal away from the edge of the flap to open the envelope.

Pulling out of the piece of parchment that was inside, Ginny sat back against her pillows to read.

Ginny,

I’m sure you’re surprised by Hedwig’s arrival; considering I’ve just left you and James not that long ago. I just wanted to send you this note so that you know the two of you are in my thoughts while I’m gone. I love you and I can’t wait to be home with you so we can start our life. And Gin – would you mind taking care of Hedwig while I’m away? Mad-Eye won’t allow her to come along – he thinks she’s too recognizable. She may be a bit miffed that she’s been left behind, make sure you explain to her why I’ve had to leave her behind.

I love you Ginny. See you soon.
Harry.


Ginny felt a fat tear roll down her cheek as she finished re-reading the letter. She looked up at Hedwig and smiled. “Figures.” She said, watching the snowy owl sleep. “He waits until he’s gone to ask me to keep you here. When I have no chance to say no.”

Ginny yawned as she set the letter on the table next to the bed. Pulling the covers over her, she was about to turn off the light when she caught a movement coming from the doorway. Looking over, she saw James standing in the door frame in his blue-footie pyjamas, his stuffed snitch in his arms.

“James, why are you out of bed?” Ginny asked, patting the bed beside her. James came into the room and climbed onto the bed with his mother. Taking him in her arms, she pulled him under the covers with her.

“I woke up and I was sad.” James looked at her and snuggled closer to her. “I miss Daddy.” He said quietly, his fingers wrapping around the loose fabric of Ginny’s nightshirt and rubbing it between his forefinger and thumb.

“Oh sweetie. I miss him too. But look –“ She said, pointing to the spot where Hedwig slept on the wardrobe. “That’s Daddy’s owl, Hedwig. He just sent me a letter to tell me he missed us and loved us lots. And while he’s gone, we’ve got to take care of her for him.”

“She’s pretty Mummy.” James said, yawning as he admired the sleeping Hedwig. “Can I sleep in with you tonight? I promise not to kick you.”

Ginny chuckled and gave him a hug. “Of course you can sleep in here Quidditch-Bug, even if you kick me in your sleep.” Kissing the top of his head, she reached over to shut off the light. She lay down beside her son and smiled in the dark as he cuddled up beside her.

“’Night Mummy.” James said sleepily, quickly falling back to sleep as Ginny rubbed his back, like she had done when he was being a fussy baby.

“Night Quidditch-Bug.” Ginny replied, closing her eyes and letting her mind shut down, she drifted off the sleep.



Chapter 18: Rules
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“Healer Weasley, can I see you for a moment?” Turning she seen her supervisor, Healer Bones, walking towards the main desk where Ginny had been going over patients charts.

“Good afternoon, Healer Bones, and welcome back! How was Scotland? I was just checking over the charts for today; it seems like it has been a busy day around here. What can I do for you?” Closing the file she had in her hand, she turned towards the older woman.

“Thank you Healer Weasley, Scotland was wonderful as it always is, but I am happy to be back to work. There is only so much time one can spend in a drafty castle before you long for a warm bed at home. I wanted to discuss one of your patients with you. Would you mind coming down to my office for a few moments?”

“That’s not a problem. Let me just put these charts back.” Ginny moved around the back of the main desk and opened the cabinet. Setting them inside, she waited for the cabinet to auto-sort them into their proper spots. When that was completed, she slid the drawer shut and moved back around to the front to follow Healer Bones to her office.

“Close the door would you please? “ Healer Bones said, walking behind her desk to sit down. Ginny crossed the threshold into the office and did as her supervisor asked. “Have a seat dear.” She said, gesturing towards the bright blue chair beside the desk.

Ginny smoothed her robes and sat down in the chair. “Who is it that you would like to discuss Healer Bones?”

“Ginny dear – when we are behind closed doors you know I prefer you call me by my first name, Matilda. After all - I will only be your supervisor for a certain amount of time and you have shown me that you have advanced farther than many healers your age; it makes me proud to have you as a healer on my team.” The older witch smiled and sat back in her chair. “And before I start discussing business I’d like to congratulate you on what I am assuming is an engagement.” She smiled and gestured towards the ring Ginny was wearing on her left hand.

Ginny’s cheeks grew hot and she laughed nervously. “Thank you Healer – I mean Matilda. First for such kind words! And I have to say that I am grateful to have you as a supervisor here at St. Mungo’s. I couldn’t have asked for a better healer to guide me.” Ginny looked down at the ring she now wore on her left hand, a rush of love went through her as she watched it sparkle against her freckled hand. “And yes, it is an engagement ring. I suppose you missed the excitement of when it happened, with you being away in Scotland.”

“And who is the lucky wizard? It has better be someone that will treat you with the respect and love you deserve! Now let me see this ring!”

Ginny laughed and held her hand across the large oak desk for Matilda to see. “The lucky wizard is Harry Potter, we were engaged about a month ago. I’m surprised that you didn’t hear about it while you were away. It caused quite an uproar around London when the Daily Prophet found out. The headline one Saturday was London’s Greatest Bachelor, a Bachelor no more. And yes, although it sounds arrogant to say, he loves and respects me more than I ever thought was possible!”

The older witch laughed at Ginny’s comment. “No – actually I hadn’t heard anything at all about it. When on vacation I try not to stay in contact with the outside world. It helps me relax more. But I’m so happy for you Ginny – Mr. Potter is a lucky wizard to have you. Have you set a date?”

“Not an exact date actually. Harry is out of the country right now with Mad-Eye Moody’s team of Aurors. We are planning to be married a few weeks after he returns. Mum and I are planning things now. It’s going to be a small private ceremony and then a large party. I do hope you’ll come!” Ginny said, then she blushed once more. “Oh dear, I am rambling!”

Healer Bones chuckled and smiled at her young healer. “Don’t apologize dear. I was young and in love once. And I remember the joy of planning a wedding! Just don’t let it overwhelm you. Now, shall we get down to business?” She turned in her chair to fetch a roll of parchment out of the cubbyholed shelf behind her. “Ah there it is – Nymphadora Tonks.” She unraveled the parchment in front of her on the desk and looked it over. “I see that you have signed her up for the new experimental treatment to bring Crucio victims out of comas. Do you think it’s a wise idea? The amount of torture she went through indicates that she has less than a 5% chance of making a full recovery with this treatment.”

Ginny paused for a moment to formulate her answer. “Actually, I think it is a wise idea. There are no other alternatives out there. If I don’t include in this treatment it may be years before she shows any signs of improving. Before the attack, she was in top physical and mental shape. Those facts alone are above average for those in the study. I think she has a real chance.” She responded, watching Healer Bones’ face for signs of what the older witch was thinking.

Healer Bones sat back in her chair as she steepled her fingers under her chin. “Now, those are all good points. But I need to make sure that your relationship with the patient and her family isn’t clouding your judgment on what is best for Ms. Tonks. I’ll be frank Ginny, the head of St. Mungo’s doesn’t want us including Ms. Tonks in the study. He feels that she’s getting preferential treatment because of her status of an auror and being in Harry Potter’s close circle. Mr. O’Malley has advised me to remove you from Ms. Tonks’ case.”

Ginny sat in the chair in front of Healer Bones’ desk with her hands gripping her knees. As she listened to the elder witches’words, her fingers dug deeper into her robes until she hit her knees and squeezed them. Keep your temper Weasley. Ginny thought to herself, trying to keep her composure.

“Ginny – now I want to say first off, try to keep your temper dear. I for one, do not agree with O’Malley’s reasoning. I believe that Ms. Tonks’ brain may be far too damaged for the study to work. But I also know that you’re a smart witch. If you believe that there’s hope for a patient. I am going to allow you to continue with the course of treatment.”

At these words, Ginny felt her fingers relax slightly on her knees. “Thank you Matilda. Does this mean Tonks can start the treatment with the rest of the test group?” Ginny looked towards her supervisor with a glint of hope in her eyes.

“It does – however, I’m going to require you to write out a report on why Tonks should be included in the study. Even if she doesn’t meet the listed requirements.”

Ginny smiled slightly, trying not to get overly excited. “Not a problem; when do you require the report by?” She asked, feeling restless. She’d get started on it as soon as she had a free moment – in the month since Harry had left, Ginny was beginning to run out of things to do. A report may keep her busy for at least 3 days, which would take her to the weekend. Then she’d be packing up James and heading to the Burrow, to plan more of a wedding that was taking on a life of its own.

Healer Bones rose from her chair and moved around to the front of the desk where she perched on the corner. “Well the study starts in 3 days but I realize you are on nights this week. So I’ll give you until the week after next. You can start Ms. Tonks on the preliminary tests with the rest of the study group so she doesn’t fall behind. How does that sound?”

Ginny looked up at her and smiled. “That’s perfect Matilda. Thank you.”

“Don’t thank my yet Ginny. You still need to convince O’Malley. But I know you will. You have that stubbornness around you. Now go – you have rounds to do.”

Ginny rose from the chair she was sitting in and stood in front of Healer Bones. “No worries, I will convince O’Malley. There is no way Tonks is not getting this treatment.” Having said that, Ginny turned on her heel and left the office to continue to do her rounds.

*~*

Ginny left the office and after picking up Tonks’chart from the healers desk; she went directly to Tonks’ room. Finding the door closed over she knocked softly and went in. Soft sounds of music came from inside, making Ginny smile. She went down the tiny hallway into the private room.

“Hello Remus.” She said, as her old professor and friend looked up at her. Remus smiled and rose to greet her.

“Ginny, hello. How are you today?” He asked, hugging her lightly.

“I’m doing well, it’s been a busy few weeks.” She replied hugging him back.

“I can well imagine. A healer’s work is never done.” He said, moving back over to where Tonks lay in her bed.

Ginny laughed. “I wish it were so Remus. It’s more like the life of a girl planning a wedding is never done. Mum is driving me up the wall with her plans. The only solace I have is that she’s promised to keep it small. I convinced her that Harry wants it that way. You know she’d do anything for him.” She paused as she took Tonks’ vital signs. Writing them onto the parchment, she looked down at her patient. “The music is lovely. I’m so glad you took my advice to bring it in for her to listen to.”

“Well Miss Weasley, you are persistent and I strongly agree with your theory that she can hear everything that we say to her. I’ve brought in a wide selection of music. We were listening to the Weird Sisters earlier, but I am hoping that if I play enough of my music, I can change her tastes.”

Ginny laughed at Remus’ admission. “Well, I’m not sure about that – but I think you’ll both gain an appreciation for each other’s music.”

“Always the little diplomat.” He chuckled. “Well I just have to hope for the best. Now Ginny – what is the status of the test group? “

Ginny pulled a chair up beside Remus and faced him. “Well, its about to begin actually. In 3 days. I have run into a bit of a problem. The head of St. Mungo’s feels that Tonks is getting special treatment because of her connections to Harry.” She held up her hand as he opened his mouth to protest. “Please let me finish. He also believes that she is too damaged to have this treatment I’m proposing work on her. But – as you know – I feel differently. So my supervisor has asked me to write a proposal of sorts on why Tonks needs to be included. I’m starting her treatment at the same time as the others in the test group. I promise Remus, that one way or another she will get the treatment.”

“Thank you Ginny. You have no idea what this means to me. You’re a special witch, and I have to say that your Harry Potter is lucky to have you.” He squeezed her hand and looked into her eyes. Ginny looked back to see the age and trials he had been through. Squeezing his hand in return, Ginny rose from the chair that she had been occupying.

“Remus Lupin, you truly are a kind man. Tonks is lucky to have someone like you. Now if you will excuse me. I am going to have to leave the two of you to your music. The afternoon is early and I have some other rounds to do.” Ginny turned to look at Tonks as she lay silently in the bed. “Tonks, I will be back to have our chat later.” She patted Tonks’ feet as she moved away from the bed. Glancing back, she watched as Remus took up his love’s hand and was already telling her a story from his days as a carefree maurader.

Ginny smiled wistfully. Watching the private moment made the ache she was feeling in her heart since Harry left more insistent. Sighing, she closed the door quietly behind her and went to find her next patient.


*~*

Harry stared at his butterbeer and wished it was firewhiskey. Here is was, day 30 of the mission and very little information had been gathered. All the team knew was that the suspected deatheaters had gathered deep in the mountains and it was only accessible by portkey. He thanked Merlin that Moody couldn’t send communications here; otherwise he would have his head for this. But it wasn’t for lack of trying, if they could find a way to replicate the port key, they’d be set. But there was no way of doing it without having the exact location. Harry feared that soon someone was going to have to go undercover and try and infiltrate the nest. He sighed and looked about the pub he was sitting in. It was dark and smoky. The noise level was through the roof and everywhere he looked people were crammed. It wasn’t an easy place to be alone in. But it was his night off and there was no way he was spending it in the house he had secured for his team when they had arrived.

“Want another?” The wait-witch asked in Russian as she ambled by. Harry looked up at her and shook his head no. He hadn’t even wanted this butterbeer – but he couldn’t have anything stronger. The wait-witch looked at him curiously, and kept moving through the crowd.

Harry furrowed his brow and realized he wasn’t exactly fitting in here. The rest of the pub was full of exuberant wizards and witches who were all glad that it was a Saturday night. The band was playing traditional Russian music and a small space had opened up for people to get up and dance. Harry watched with interest for awhile, when he suddenly got a prickly feeling on the back of his neck. Knowing he was being watched, he tried to remain casual as he picked up his empty bottle from the table and stood. He did a quick scan of the crowd around him and seen that no one was even paying attention to him.

Harry moved through the thick crowd towards the bar. Setting his empty bottle on the ledge, he dug into the pocket of his robes and pulled out some knuts and sickles. He signaled the wait-witch and handed them to her as payment when she came over.

Picking up his heavy jacket from one of the pegs near the door, Harry threw it about his shoulders and entered the cold evening. Although it was only early September, the weather in the East Urals was much different from what Harry was used to in Britian. There was no snow on the ground yet but the air was crisp and cool, it was what a wizard would expect to experience in November instead of September.

Harry turned left onto the street outside and began to walk. Keeping his pace casual he moved down the quiet street. Most every witch and wizard was inside the pub, drinking and enjoying their Saturday evening. The wizarding community of Yekaterinburg lived on 3 streets that were concealed to the muggles of the city and if they didn’t live on the streets they lived in the countryside. Harry had discovered quickly, there was only a handful of muggles that were kinds to wizards and witches in these parts. The muggles looked at the community with fear, old views surrounding witches and wizards had yet to die. With this discovery, Harry had also realized that this was why the deatheaters were able to live in the mountains unnoticed for so long.

The stillness that was in the air was disturbing Harry. It meant that whoever was watching him in the pub, hadn’t followed him out or had followed and he wasn’t detecting their presence. Harry paused for a moment outside of the closed bookstore. Feigning interest, Harry leaned closer to the glass as if he was peering inside to check out the contents of the window. It was then that he picked up the feeling once more of being watched. Shivering as if he was chilled, he placed his hands into his robes and wrapped his fingers around his wand.

Moving quickly, Harry pivoted to his right and thrust his wand arm out in the direction of his watcher. “Petrificus Totalus!” He said, a burst of white light emitting from the tip. As his spell hit its target, he heard a thud as his follower fell to the ground. Moving in that direction, Harry went to find the identity of the stranger.

He approached the stiffened body with caution, his wand low at his side. Harry knew from his years as an auror not to assume that a spell had hit it’s target. There was always a chance that the victim was lying in wait to counter-curse. As he neared he realized that the person in question had indeed been hit by his curse.

Looking down at the still form, Harry instantly recognized who it was. “Bloody hell.” He muttered, lifting his wand he performed first a levitating charm and then a concealing charm and headed back to the house he shared with his team.

*~*

Harry levitated the non-moving form onto the couch in the front room of the house. Quietly, he removed his outer robes and took a seat beside the still form. Picking up the wand he had placed on table between the chair and couch he performed the counter-curse to remove the petrification.

Slowly, the petrified body began to stir. Harry waited silently for the form to open their eyes. As soon as they did Harry began, “Calileigh! What were you thinking?” He shouted, not waiting for the auror to focus on where she was or what she was doing. “What possessed you to follow me and watch me?!”

Ariadne blinked silently and looked over as Harry Potter ranted in her direction. “How? How did I get here? “ She asked as she tried to sit up, groaning as she felt the stiffness in her bones.

Harry got up and started to pace the room. “I levitated you back here after I performed the pertificus totalus curse on you! Can you at least tell me what possessed you to follow me to that pub?” He stopped and stared at her.

“I didn’t mean to. Well, what I mean to say is that I didn’t start out to follow you.” Ariadne started off, staring at her boss and knowing he was extremely…. Mad. “Yuri told me to take the night off – he has the watch on the suspected port key station covered. I went into the pub to relax and I seen you there. I was about to approach you but you seemed so closed off I didn’t want to disturb you. I’m so sorry Mr. Potter! “

Harry threw his hands up in frustration. “Ariadne – I could have seriously harmed you. I sensed that I was in danger. You could have been a death eater. That was a rookie action Calileigh – next time you could be facing down much worse than petrificus totalus. We’ll be having a team meeting in the morning - we can’t afford to be sloppy like this.” Without waiting for an answer Harry strode out of the room and headed for his space in the top of the house.

Chapter 19: Missing you
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry lay on his bed and stared at the ceiling of the attic and in the dim light that filtered in through the tiny window he thought about home. As he had every morning since arriving in Yekaterinburg; thoughts of Ginny and James wandered through his mind and he wondered what the two of them were up to. Mentally calculating back in his head he realized it was early Saturday morning. The two would be still fast asleep – unless Ginny was working nights, then she’d be at St. Mungo’s doing her rounds. Around mid-morning, they’d head over to the Burrow. He smiled as he pictured the entire Weasley family gathering for their day together.

Molly would kick the boys out into the yard to de-gnome it while at the same time entertaining the children; and Arthur would probably head to his shed to experiment with the various muggle artifacts he’d gathered the previous week. Hermione and Ron would arrive precisely at lunchtime, just in time to sit down to one of Molly’s delicious meals. Harry sighed - he missed it.

A knock at the door pulled him out of his daydream. Grabbing his glasses off the table beside the bed, he walked to the door to open it to find Yuri standing on the other side of it. “Yuri! What are you doing up at this hour? Didn’t you just get off your shift? Please, come in.” He asked, gesturing for his friend to come into the room.

“Yes ‘Arry, I just got in from ze watch an ‘our ago.” Yuri entered the room and sat down on the only chair that was in the tiny attic room. He sighed and placed his hands on his knees. “I ran into Ariadne vhen I return and I vanted to talk vith you about last night.” He looked over to where Harry sat on the edge his bed. “I do not tink we need to haff a meeting.”

“So you know what happened then?” Harry replied, waiting for an answer.

“Yes, Ariadne told me when I got home. And Harry – I know it is not my place to make comments,”

“But you’ll make them anyways?” Harry laughed as he interrupted. “Yuri – that’s what makes us friends. You’re not afraid of what the great Harry Potter is going to say. Please go ahead.”

Yuri smiled at Harry’s statement because of the truth in it. He had never thought of Harry as someone he should be in awe of. To Yuri, he was another auror doing his job during the war. Trying to decide on which direction to take the conversation, Yuri continued on. “I am not sure vhat Remus Lupin or Mad-Eye Moody told you about Ariadne, but ‘Arry – I think she may haff an – how do you call it – an infatuation with you. Perhaps they did not know about it. Perhaps that is vhy she vas following you last night.”

Harry stared at his friend in disbelief. “You’re not serious Yuri – she doesn’t. She knows about Ginny. She doesn’t even know me!”

“Yes – I know that – and that is vhy I think we do not need to haff a meeting with the entire group. Please – let me talk to her.”

As Harry contemplated what to do, they sat in silence. He didn’t believe what Yuri had just said even as he thought about it. He wasn’t anything special, of anyone on the team; he was the last person she should have an ‘infatuation’ with. “Okay Yuri – you can talk to her – but what she did was not very smart. Last night, I had the strong sense of being watched by someone – she’s lucky I didn’t use a stronger spell than I did.”

“I know ‘Arry. I vill talk to her.” Yuri said as he stood and left the room.

*~*

Shivering against the damp cold, Harry pulled the fur lined cloak tighter around his shoulders. What had first promised to be fine day was now miserable, around noon the bright blue sky went into hiding behind gray, dark clouds. The chill in the air surrounded the two cloaked figures and dampness seemed to seep through their clothes as they made their way towards the mountain path.

Harry looked over his shoulder at his partner, Ariadne, watching as she trudged slowly behind him. The two had barely spoken two words since leaving on reconnaissance this afternoon. Harry had barked out his orders when he had finally descended from the attic and went out the door, knowing that she would follow or risk being sent home. He knew that he was probably being harsh with her but he felt like he had to teach her a lesson. As he paused for a moment to allow her to catch up with him, Harry felt a chill run up his spine that wasn’t related to the temperature of the mountain air.

Ariadne approached him and watched as his body stiffened with alertness. Something had caught his attention. As she opened her mouth to ask him, his hand came up to silence her. Ariadne stopped to the right of Harry and tried to clear her mind of all the distracting thoughts that were clouding her vision.

The feeling Harry had the night before of being watched had returned. He turned slightly as Ariadne came up beside him to survey the land around him. If Harry’s tracking skills hadn’t been so refined he wouldn’t have even sensed someone was in the vicinity. The area they were standing in was basically bare save for some scrubby brush on the hill side and a small grove of trees – whoever was tracking them was performing a very powerful cloaking spell. He subtly reached into the pocket of his cloak to extract his wand. As he did so – he knew that Ariadne had not been the one he had sensed the previous night. Making a mental note to apologize for being so short with her – he tried to clear his mind and focus on where the sensation of being watched was radiating from.

Sweeping his eyes from side to side – Harry caught a flicker of movement as the watcher’s cloaking charm faltered. It was all he needed to confirm where the intruder was. Turning his body slightly he flicked his wand and silently performed Stupefy.

Hearing a grunt, Harry watched at the intruder’s cloaking spell wore off and the wizard that had been following him and Ariadne fell to the ground just outside the grove of trees.

“I owe you an apology for petrifying you last night. I should have realized you weren’t the only one there.” Harry said, turning to his partner. Ariadne blushed slightly under his gaze. Even though she had talked it through with Yuri – she still harboured a crush on Harry.

Trying to seem casual, she brushed off his apology. “No need to apologize Potter – I shouldn’t have followed you. Well – in the least I should have made myself known. “

“We’ll discuss who is in the wrong later. For now, let’s go see who we’ve caught shall we?” Harry said, gesturing towards the mass off to the right of them.

Wand at ready, he approached the prone figure, a feeling of apprehension tightening in his stomach. Even from a safe distance he knew the person he was approaching was a death eater. The cloak they were wearing was a dull black in colour and was threadbare to the point that made Harry wonder if it even did any good against the cold climate in the East Urals. Looking down at the inert figure, the knot in his stomach grew stronger. Not having to look twice to know who the figure below him was, Harry pointed his wand at the figure and performed a binding spell.

Ariadne looked down at the figure and back at Harry. “Do you know who he is?”

Harry looked up at her in disbelief. “Calileigh – how can you not know who this man is? It’s Draco Malfoy – we’ve been searching for him since the war began again.”

*~*

“Harry stop!” Ginny giggled as his beard roughened cheek tickled her bare shoulder. “I want to sleep.” She pouted, trying to hold back a smile as she peeked under her eyelashes to watch his lips continue their trek down her arm. He looked up as a mischievous smile crossed his face.

“Good morning Love.” Harry said, kissing her on the lips before trailing his way back across her jaw and down her neck.

“Mmmm… good morning.” She replied, as she ran her fingers through his messy hair. “You’re very –“ She paused, waiting for him to look up and meet her eyes, “alert this morning.”

His green eyes glinted in the light as lay propped up on his elbow looking down at her. Ginny felt her inside go all gooey and didn’t notice as his free hand trailed down her side and began to tickle her. “Harry!” she cried as she tried weakly to wriggle out of his grasp.

Suddenly a pounding noise invaded the tranquility of the morning. “You better go answer that Gin.” Harry said, as his fingers stilled.

“Answer what?” She asked.


Ginny sat straight up in her bed, looking around for Harry. Bloody hell, it was just a dream. She thought as she fell back against her pillows. And it was shaping up to be such a good one too. Closing her eyes, she tried to will herself back to sleep when the pounding she heard in her dream began again. Groaning, she opened her eyes and listened.

“Ginny dear! It’s time to get up!” Molly Weasley yelled on the other side of the front door.

Ginny waited a moment – hoping she was still asleep and this was just a nightmare. The knocking continued, Hedwig hooted from her perch on the wardrobe.

“Yeah, yeah – I’m sorry she’s disrupted your sleep. She’s disrupted mine too.” Ginny conceded defeat and threw back the covers. Grabbing a dressing gown off of the chair by the wardrobe, she went to answer the door for her mother.

When she opened the door, Ginny found not only Molly standing in the hallway but a tired looking Hermione. “Mum – what in Merlin’s name are you doing here at this time of the morning? It can’t be more than – 8?” She exclaimed as she moved to the side to let them in.

Placing a kiss on Ginny’s cheek as she went by, Molly headed to the kitchen. “We’re heading to Diagon Alley today. Oh dear – the state of this kitchen!” Ginny rolled her eyes at Hermione as her mother continued her ramblings in the kitchen.

“Good morning Ginny.” Hermione said, unbuttoning her cloak and setting it on the couch. “Sorry to wake you.”

“Not a problem Hermione. I suppose I’d have been getting up sooner or later this morning. But I don’t seem to recall telling Mum I’d go shopping though.” Ginny said, giving her friend a hug. “How are you feeling?” She asked, looking down at the bump that was now evident.

“Oh Ginny – I’m quite tired these days, but I’ve read it will pass soon. It’s making my life at work a little hectic, I’m quite behind in my reports but Ron won’t let me work after hours until this fatigue passes. He’s being rather unreasonable.” Hermione replied.

“Ginny dear! Tea’s ready!” Molly called from the kitchen.

“Coming Mum!” Ginny replied, taking Hermione by the hand, the two headed to the kitchen.


Entering the kitchen, Ginny found her mum in the midst of cooking up breakfast. “Mum – what are you doing?” She asked, as Molly ushered her into a chair and conjured a plate before her.

“Making us a spot of breakfast. We’ll need our energy.” Molly moved to the stove and picked up the fry pan full of eggs and rashers. Placing some on her daughter’s plate she noticed Ginny’s look of confusion. “Oh dear – don’t tell me you’ve forgotten Ginny!”

“It appears I have Mum – care to tell me what we’re going to do in Diagon Alley today?” Ginny said, breathing in the delicious scents of her mother’s cooking.

“We’re shopping for wedding robes today. The new fall fashions have arrived at Madame Malkin’s.” Molly said as she scooped some breakfast onto the plate in front of Hermione. “We’ve planned this for three weeks now.”

Ginny groaned, the memory of making these plans coming back to her. At the time it had seemed like it would be fun, but today she wanted nothing more than to stay in her flat and spend time with James. “Mum – can’t we do this another time?” She asked with hope in her voice.

“No we can’t.” Molly said, sitting down and picking up her cup of tea. “If we don’t find you a dress soon – there won’t be enough time to get it fitted and ready before the wedding. And of course – we need to find Hermione’s matron of honour robes as well. Come on now Ginny, tuck in – we need to get started soon.”

Ginny took a bite of her eggs and looked at her mum. She was bursting with excitement, and it made Ginny feel bad. Here she was, complaining that she was going to have to dress shop with Mum and Hermione and for Molly it was about her only daughter finally getting married. “Ok Mum – I suppose you have a point. But what I am supposed to do with James? Mrs. Edgecombe is supposed to drop him off in an hour.”

“No worries dear – we stopped at Mrs. Edgecombe’s before coming here – your father is picking James up and taking him to the Burrow. We’ll head there after we’re finished in Diagon Alley.” Molly drew her wand from the pocket of her robes and flicked it towards the cooking dishes and set them to clean magically. “Come on girls – let’s get finished and get on our way.”

*~*

As always, Diagon Alley was full of witches and wizards bustling to get their Saturday morning errands completed. As they walked down the middle of the street, Ginny saw many of the staff members of St. Mungo’s who were also lucky to have the weekend free. Making their way through the crowd, the trio got to their destination of the day.

“Good-day!” Madame Malkin called as she rounded the corner. “Molly Weasley – how are you this fine day?” She asked coming over to them.

“Fine, fine, and yourself Madam Malkin?” Molly replied.

“Doing well, business is bustling as always. We just had our pre-Hogwarts rush a few weekends ago. It never amazes me to see the little ones come through the door for the first time. So wide-eyed and excited! It doesn’t seem too long ago that your little ones were here for their school robes.“ She looked from Molly to Hermione and then to Ginny. “And soon I’m sure we’ll be outfitting the new generation of Weasleys for Hogwarts but let us worry about today – what is it that I can do for you ladies today?”

“Well, we’re here looking for some wedding robes,” Molly exclaimed, as she began going through the store. “Our little Ginny is getting married!”

“Oh that is so wonderful dear! I read about it in the Daily Prophet not a month or so ago!” Madame Malkin said, grabbing Ginny up in a hug. “Harry Potter is a lucky wizard.”

“Thank you Madam Malkin.” Ginny said, hugging the tiny witch back.

“Now come with me dears. We’ll find you something beautiful.” She said, taking Ginny by the hand and leading her towards the back of the store with Molly and Hermione.

Ginny looked down at latest dress robe that have been given to her by her mum to try on. She felt like her great Aunt Tessie - lace and ribbons and beading was everywhere. I look like a giant cotton ball. She thought to herself. “Mum – I don’t know if this is going to work – this is worse than the first ten.”

“Ginny – it can’t be that bad, at least come out and let Hermione and me take a look at you.” Molly said, moving towards the curtain Ginny was behind.

“Mum – I’d rather not – it’s particularly – well – LACY.” Ginny said, at the same time as her mother pulled back the curtain and her and Hermione looked in.

“Oh.” Was all Molly could say while Hermione attempted to stifle her laughter behind her hand.

“Exactly Mum – oh. This is horrible – we’ve been here for hours and nothing is what I want.” Ginny said, her voice wobbling as she looked at herself in the mirror.

“Don’t worry dear – we’ll find something that suits you. Why don’t you get out of that – creation. And we’ll go get a spot of lunch? Things will look up.” Pausing she looked her daughter up and down. “I mean really – after this gown – they have to.” Smiling as she watched her daughter’s face light up with amusement, Molly slid the curtain shut to allow Ginny to get changed.

*~*

The wait-witch set down three cups of tea and stew for the group. “Will there be anything else then?” She asked, when all three shook their heads no, she moved onto the next table leaving them to eat their meal.

“Ginny – I have to say – that last dress was horrid. I think it must have been left on that rack for at least a century!” Hermione laughed.

“Last century? I’d say it’s been there for at least two! Nothing I’ve tried on is what I want. I just want to turn around and have the perfect dress floating in front of me! Is that so much to ask?” Ginny said, exasperated. After an entire morning of searching through Madame Malkin's, Ginny had found nothing. “But at least we have your dress Hermione. You’ll look beautiful as my matron of honour. And you too Mum – the dress robes you’ve picked out will be beautiful. Meanwhile – the best we can find for me is either a lacy and ribbon monstrosity or what resembles a female version of Hagrid’s fur suit!”

Her daughter’s explanation of the morning caused Molly to choke slightly on her tea. Patting her daughter’s hand, she coughed. “Don’t worry darling, we’ll find something. Now eat your soup and relax.”

Ginny stared down into the bowl in front of her and an idea came into her head. “Mum – I have a brilliant idea! Why didn’t I think of it before – in fact – why didn’t YOU think of it before we wasted all day down here?” Setting her soup spoon down, she ran her fingers through her hair. “Mum – Grandmum Prewett’s dress is still up in the attic at home. Why can’t I just wear that? If you’d allow me too that is. If you’d rather I didn’t – that’s ok. But I think I’d really like to.”

Molly looked at her daughter and felt her heart swell up with love and tears began to form in her eyes. “Oh Ginny – you don’t want to wear that old musty dress. I always pictured you in a beautiful, expensive dress from Madam Malkin’s or somewhere else. Your Great-Grandmum Prewett made that dress over a century ago - you don’t want a musty old dress like that.”

“Oh but Mum – I don’t care about beautiful expensive dresses! I love that dress – please – just let me try it on. Please?” Ginny pleaded, hope in her eyes.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea Molly.” Hermione said, jumping into the conversation. Polishing off the last of her soup, she continued. “When Mum and I were searching for a dress for Ron and mine’s wedding – I tried hers on, it unfortunately didn’t fit me. I would have loved to wear her dress.”

Molly looked between her daughter and the woman that had become like a second daughter to her. “Well – I suppose it can’t hurt to try it out.” She laughed as Hermione squealed in delight and Ginny hopped from her seat to throw her arms around her mother.

“Oh thank you Mum!” Ginny cried, squeezing her mother tightly.



A/N: If anyone would like to be informed of chapter updates, please PM me or send me an email. I will add you to the mailing list I've created. Thanks for reading!

Chapter 20: Wedding plans
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Ginny stood in front of the antique cheval mirror in her parent’s bedroom and smiled at her reflection. Although the dress she wore was an old one, Ginny knew as she looked at herself that no other dress was going to suit her as well as this one. Grandmum Prewett’s dress was sleeveless with a fitted bodice and a skirt that skimmed down from a high waist to the floor. White in colour, intricate beading and lacework trailed across the bodice and down the along the skirt of the dress.

Ginny had vivid memories of being little and sneaking into the attic to stare at the dress she now wore. Up there, amidst the boxes of mementoes and old toys her mum was saving for the next generation of Weasleys, Ginny would imagine herself in her grandmother’s dress, preparing to marry a man she loved, one that would make her happy like her father made her mum.

She turned to where Molly and Hermione sat together on the bed. “Well, do you think this will work?” She asked, looking from one to the other. Hermione was sitting against the headboard, her hands rubbing her growing bump. She nodded at Ginny.

“It’s wonderful.” She said as smiled at her best friend. ”It suits you perfectly.”

Molly looked at her daughter, with tears brimming on the edges of her eyelids. “Ginny-darling- you were right. This is the dress.” She replied, rising to hug her daughter.

“So you don’t think Harry will run away from the altar if I wear this?” She joked, returning her mum’s hug.

“Oh Ginny! It really is beautiful. And we’ll have to find a cloak to match - You’ll need it for traveling on the day of the wedding.” Molly turned her daughter towards the mirror and gave her another small hug from behind as their eyes met in the reflection. “I can’t believe my baby girl is going to get married! You’re all grown up!” She cried; dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief pulled from an apron pocket.

Ginny laughed and stepped away from the mirror. “Oh Mum! You always say that! I’ve been grown up for quite awhile ago. Becoming a mum will do that to a girl!”

Molly sniffed slightly and regarded her youngest. “But you’re my baby – my last. You can have ten babies and I would find it hard to believe you’ve all grown up.”

Ginny smirked, “Mum – come on now. You know some of your babies will never be grown up. You’ll always have Fred and George!”

The three women started laughing together. The truth of the statement made it funny because no matter how old Fred and George were they would always be big kids.

“You’re right there Ginny – I swear they’re worse now than when they were small. Now let’s get you out of that dress – I’ll place a cleaning charm on it and we’ll set it back in the attic for now.”

As Ginny turned to let her mother access to the back to undo the buttons, the sound of little feet tearing up the stairs made the two of them turn towards the door and hearing a shout, she watched James bound into the room.

He was about to launch himself at her when Molly cast a minor shielding charm to stop him. “James Weasley! You are covered in dirt - you know you’re not allowed upstairs in this state!” She scolded.

“Sorry Granmum – Grampie told me you were home.” He said, his cheeks blushing red underneath the dirt smudges. His hair was damp with sweat and flecks of dirt covered it as it stood up in different directions. Mud streaked his play clothes and Ginny noticed a new tear in the left knee of his trousers.

“Hi Quidditch-bug.” Ginny said, as she picked up her wand from the side table and performed a cleaning charm on her son. “There all clean. Now come and give me a hug. I haven’t gotten one from my favorite person yet today.” Ginny reached down and picked him up to squeeze him tightly.

“Hi Mummy!” James said, his small arms wrapping around her neck to return her hug. “Why are you wearing a fancy dress?” He asked, rubbing his fingers along the material on her shoulders.

Ginny placed him on the side of the bed beside Hermione and sat next to him. “This is Mummy’s wedding dress. Remember last week when we went to find you new robes for the big party we’re going to have when Daddy comes home?” She asked, stroking his hair as he nodded. “Well I’m going to wear this dress. And today Granmum and Aunt Hermione found new dress robes too.”

“You look pretty Mummy.” James said, as he turned towards Hermione and reached for a hug from her as well. “Hi Aunt Mione.”

“Hey there James, how are you today?” She asked as she hugged him.

“Good, Aunt Mione, your babies are growing.” He said, looking at her stomach.

“Right you are James. They are growing, soon they will be here. Would you like to touch them? “Hermione took his hand and placed it on her rounded tummy. “There we go. You can say hello if you like. I’ve told them all about you and your mum. I read about how important it is to talk to the baby, well in this case babies, before they are born. That way they know your voice when they are born.” She laughed when one of the twins pushed against James’ hand and he jumped back and looked at her.

“Your belly moved!” He said in awe, looking at her and then at his mum and granmum. “Mummy! Her belly moved!” He said, placing his hand back on Hermione.

“Wow – Quidditch-bug you are really special. I think your twin cousins are excited to meet you. One of them was saying hello to you.” Ginny stood and looked down at her son. “When you were in Mummy’s belly you used to move around all the time.”

“Really?” He asked, looking at his mum’s belly and she could tell by the look on his face that he was trying to figure out how he had fit inside of her. “How did I fit inside?” He asked.

“Really. You used to be a teeny tiny baby inside, and just like Aunt Hermione’s babies you grew in my belly until you were ready to come out and meet us. When Hermione has her twins they’ll be tiny like your cousin Amie was when she was born last year. Do you remember that?”

James nodded. “I do, but she cried all the time when she came.” He turned to Hermione, “Will those babies cry a lot too? Because if they do, you can’t visit me and Mummy.” He said, looking at Hermione seriously.

“James! All babies cry – you used to cry all the time.” Ginny scolded. “Now I want you to run downstairs and find your uncles. I think I can hear them down there.” She patted him on the back as he hopped off the bed.

As he left, Ginny turned to Molly who had been watching silently from the side of the room. Once again that day, Molly was feeling her eyes mist over. The exchange between her daughter and grandson reminded her of a moment when Charlie had asked the same sort of questions to her when she had been pregnant with Percy.

“Mum? Are you getting teary again?” She asked a smile on her face.

Molly quickly swiped at her eyes and placed her handkerchief back into her pocket. “Honestly Ginny – it’s just something in my eyes.” She responded as she moved over to where her daughter stood. “Now let’s get you out of that dress. I can’t be standing around here with you two all day. Dinner needs to get ready before the wolves downstairs start pacing.”

*~*

As the sun dipped lower in the sky, Ginny sat in the garden with Hermione. The area was free of gnomes as Molly had tasked her sons with removing them this afternoon. The air was starting to become crisp with the coolness of fall. She pulled the sweater tighter around her shoulders.

“Starting to get cooler.” She said simply, looking over at where James was playing a game of exploding snap with Fred and George.

“It is.” Hermione agreed, her hand absently going back to her belly. “He’ll be home soon Ginny.” She stated, watching as a flicker of melancholy passed over her sister’s face.

Ginny sighed and shifted in the comfy chair in which she sat. She reached towards the table that sat between the pair of them and picked up her cup of tea. Sipping it, she stayed silent for a moment. She looked at James and smiled slightly as he threw down his cards and started to laugh at Fred or George – she wasn’t sure which. She listened to the giggles float across the air to her and sighed again. “I know Hermione. It’s just lately I’m missing him more than the first time he left.”

“Well that’s perfectly understandable. Last time he left without a goodbye or a see you later. Ginny – he’ll be back.”

Ginny set down her tea cup in frustration. “I know he’ll be back. I’m not worried about that. I just miss him. Last time, there weren’t reminders of him everywhere I turned. I get up and get James ready for the day – I see Harry. I let Hedwig in from her nightly hunt – I remember him. I just want him back now!” She exclaimed, running her fingers through her hair, pulling the waves straight.

Hermione smiled softly as she allowed Ginny to rant. Reaching over, she rubbed Ginny’s shoulders. “You know it’s ok to miss him. And it’s ok to talk about it. You know I’m always here. “

“Thanks Hermione. And I know all of that. But you have better things to worry about than me and my life right now. Have you and Ron decided on whether or not you’ll move out of your flat when the babies arrive?” Ginny asked, attempting to change the subject.

Hermione looked at Ginny with an expression that said – nice try but we’re not finished with you but answered her question. “We’ve looked at some places, but as of yet nothing feels like a home to us. I want a place like here. Where the babies can grow up and everyone feels welcome. The way it’s going we may wait until after the twins are born. Quidditch will be finished for the season right before my due date so we’ll have a few months before Ron will have to go back on the pitch.”

“You’ll know home when you find it. Mum told me once that she and Dad spent a lot of time searching for The Burrow.” Ginny said offhandedly as her gaze went to the spot where James sat with his uncles. As she watched Fred pull out a jumbo bag of sugar quills out of the pocket of his robes she leapt to her feet. “One second Hermione - Fred! Do not give him that!” She yelled at her brother as she strode to where they sat.

“Oh come on Gin – it’s only sugar quills. He’s had them before. Honestly – some days you’re as bad as mum.” He replied, slipping the package back into his robe pocket. At that moment, George chimed in.

“You know Ginny, Fred is right – these days we can’t get anything by you. Honestly – how is our favorite nephew going to carry on the Weasley legacy if you won’t even let us give him a sugar quill or two?” He said, looking at her in mock shame as he threw his arm around her shoulder.

“You two can just quit it right now. You won’t make me feel guilty for putting my mum-hat on.” She said, watching as her two brothers grinning. “I’d like to think that someday when you have children of your own you’ll realize that giving a four year old a jumbo bag of sugar quills at 6 at night isn’t the brightest thing to do.” Ginny looked down at her son who was watching the exchange between his mum and her uncles.

“Ginny – when the world is graced with the brilliance of our children -“ George began,

“We can assure that we will practice utmost vigilance –“ Fred continued,

“And teach them everything we know.” They finished together.

Ginny had to shake her head and laugh. “Honestly, you two. I hope that the lot of you ends up with red-headed quadruplets and they drive you mad!” She joked back, giving the two of them a shove in the arm. “James – why don’t you go find Grandmum – she mentioned earlier that she had a new jumper for you.” Patting his head, she nodded towards the back door of the house. “I’ll be inside in a moment.” She watched as he took off at a trot, pausing to say hello to Hermione before calling out to Molly. Turning to her brothers, she pointed first at George and then at Fred. “Remember you two; I check his robes when he gets ready for bed. Don’t try to slip him some of those quills before we leave. I’ll know. And if I have to deal with a four year old with a sugar-high I will return the favour.” The twins nodded solemnly and although Ginny could see the twinkle in their eyes which she knew meant that although they may be agreeing to honour her wishes tonight – she wasn’t safe for the next go around. Sighing, she threw her arms around the two of them in a hug. “Now, I’m going to finish my tea and then find Mum and James.” She said, walking back to where Hermione sat.

*~*

Ginny sat in the chair by the fireplace and watched James playing on the floor beside her. He had wizards and witches strewn across the floor, most abandoned except for two. In one hand was a miniature of Dumbledore and in the other was a replica of Harry. Lost in his own world she listened as he talked to each of them. Looking at the clock on the mantle of the fireplace, she took note of the time.

“Almost time for bed Quidditch-bug. Can you start cleaning up your wizards?”

“Ok Mummy.” James said, looking up briefly before going to playing. Ginny smiled and went back to reading her copy of Witch Weekly. The headline on the page she opened to was entitled, “Getting married? Ten steps to a stress-free wedding.” Sighing, her eyes skimmed the article. Most of the tips included doing things that Ginny would never take part in. Like spending the week before on a deserted moor in the Scottish Highlands. It also suggested that wedding plans be started at least 6 months to a year before the actual day. Ginny snorted – she had maybe two months at most. Thank goodness I’ve got Mum. She thought to herself; Molly had been planning almost everything. She knew she should help more but Molly seemed so happy Ginny didn’t want to spoil her fun. Honestly, she didn’t know how one person could get so excited over flowers. Earlier this afternoon, she had gone into great depth outlining the reasons why Ginny needed what was called a fall ‘flower’ - which meant no tulips or daisies. Two flowers Ginny enjoyed quite a lot. After a bit of pleading, Molly conceded that she could have sunflowers if Ginny really wanted to.

Flipping through the last pages of Witch Weekly, Ginny took note that the wedding watch was on. Or as the featured reporter called it – days until the greatest bachelor since Merlin is taken from the wizarding world. As she read the article it included ways to save Harry from a life of servitude at the hands of the red-headed Weasley girl. She smiled as she read over them, knowing that steps 1, 4, 7 and 9 would never work on him.

Glancing up from her reading she noticed, the chaos in front of her was still there and James had made no move to clean up the mess he had made. “James, I thought I asked you to clean up your mess.” She said, setting the magazine on the coffee table.

“Ok Mummy – in five minutes. “ He said, not looking up at her as he continued to have miniature Harry and Dumbledore battle the giant stuffed snitch before it took over the miniature Hogwarts that it was hovering over.

“No James – not in five minutes. Now” She said, a warning tone entering her voice. As James heard the warning in her words, his concentration broke and the snitch fell to the floor with a soft plop,

“But Mummy – the snitch was about to take the castle.” He said, beginning to whine.

“Well the snitch can take the castle tomorrow. It’s getting past your bedtime. You’re getting tired, I can tell by your voice.” She kneeled next to him to pick up some of his wizards and place them into a box that her Dad had made for James to keep them in. They waved as she set them inside, each finding their own spot to sit down in. “How come the snitch was going to take the castle? Shouldn’t the good wizards win?” She asked, holding the box for James to set Dumbledore and Harry inside. She laughed as the Harry blew her a kiss and Dumbledore winked, as she closed the lid.

“I didn’t want them to win tonight. Sometimes bad wizards win.” He said, as he grabbed his stuffed snitch from the floor and stood close to Ginny.

Ginny sat back on her heels and looked at her little boy. She could see he was worried by the little furrow that had gathered on his brow. Smoothing down his hair, she laid a kiss on his cheek. “Now who told you that?” She asked, looking at his face closely.

“Billy told me on the playground. He said that bad wizards win all the time. “ James paused, his breath hitching as he tried not to cry. “He said that all the stories that Uncle Ron told me weren’t true. He said that Daddy was going to be eaten by a dragon!” He cried, fat tears running down his cheeks.

Pulling James into her arms, she sighed as she rubbed his back. “Oh Sweetie – I don’t think Billy knows exactly what he’s talking about. Bad wizards never win as much as they like to think they do.”

“But what if Daddy gets eaten by a dragon!” He exclaimed, as Ginny could feel his tears soaking through her shirt.

Squeezing him tighter, she tried to soothe him. “James, there’s no need to worry about Daddy getting eaten by a dragon. He’s in a place where it’s too cold for dragons. Remember what your Uncle Charlie told you about dragons? How they like the warm? And have I ever told you about when Daddy was younger, he had to battle a dragon? He had to capture a golden egg right from under a dragon’s nose. He shocked us all at how brilliant he was! If Daddy meets a dragon where he is – he’ll know how to get away.” Ginny paused and could feel his tears starting to slow down. Listening to the quiet crackle of the fire beside them, she rubbed his back some more.

“I miss Daddy.” James stated as she snuggled closer to his mum squeezing his stuffed snitch in the crook of his arm.

“I know Quidditch-bug. I miss him too. But he’ll be home soon.” She kissed the top of his head and rose to her feet. Feeling his little legs wrap around her hips; she carried him into his room. Setting him on the bed, Ginny went to fish a fresh pair of pajamas out of his dresser drawer.

“Alright then Mr. Weasley, let’s get you ready for bed!” Ginny exclaimed as she returned to his bedside with James’ favorite pajamas, which were dark blue and covered in little snitches that moved around on the material. She helped James pull his jumper over his head and held the top up for him to slip his arms through. Once he was fully changed, she shooed him off to the bathroom to brush his teeth while she turned down the quilt covering his small bed.

Ginny sat on the edge of the bed and listened to the sounds James made as he brushed his teeth for the night. She looked about the room and her eye fell on a picture that lay on the floor near his bookcase. Getting up, she went over and picked it up. As she looked at it a smile broke out on her face. It was a picture that James had drawn, but Ginny had not yet enchanted so the figures were stationary. There were two figures in the picture, both were identical in their dress and look, but one was smaller than the other. Ginny could tell it was supposed to be James and Harry standing together.

Hearing the enchanted mirror in the bathroom giving its approval to James on his teeth brushing, Ginny slipped the picture in her pocket and selected a book for them to read before bed and listened to his feet plod down the short hallway.

“All clean then?” She asked as she set the book on the edge of the bed and scooped him in up a hug. James nodded and smiled widely so Ginny could inspect his handy work. She returned his smile and kissed his quickly, before setting him onto the bed. As he snuggled down on the bed, Ginny pulled the covers over him. “Shall we read this tonight?” She said, holding up a tattered children’s book entitled Quidditch Charlie catches the snitch.

James shook his head. “No Mummy, I want to read that one.” He said, pointing at a book that sat on the shelf.

Ginny looked over and shook her head. “Are you sure? That one?” As James nodded she got up to replace the Quidditch Charlie book and pick up the other. Returning to the bed, she stretched on top of the covers beside James and waited for him to snuggle in beside her. “Ok then.” She said, opening the seldom read book. “Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived…..”



Chapter 21: A Quarry Caught
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry stalked into the room and cast a reviving spell on the prone figure that lay on the thin cot in basement’s windowless room. When they remained motionless, he summoned a cold bucket of water and dropped it on top of them.

“Malfoy.” Harry said, watching as his quarry awoke and began to strain against the invisible bonds that had been placed around him.

“Potter.” Malfoy hissed, staring at Harry with cold blue eyes. Hate still filling them even after all the time that had passed. “I see you’re still running with the Aurors. A disgrace to the wizarding world you are.”

Harry looked at Malfoy with disgust and pity. He found it quite ironic how Malfoy called him a disgrace, and meant it while he lay prone on a cot, his robes tattered and torn, not fit for wearing except perhaps while cleaning the thestral stalls at Hogwarts. His greasy, blonde hair lay limp across his forehead and it seemed that it had been quite a few weeks since he had had a proper bath.

“Ah now Malfoy – I wouldn’t go that far. Let us not forget how far you have fallen.” Harry said calmly, knowing his lack of emotion would irritate him more than if he had voiced his true opinion. “I’ve not been the one living in hiding, going from hidey hole to hidey hole. Now I will loosen your bonds,” he continued holding up his wand, “if you promise to behave. I need answers and seeing as you’re the first one of your lot to get caught by us, you’ll have the pleasure of giving me the answers I need.”

“Do what you want Potter. I’m not giving you any answers – not willingly. I hope you’ve brought some Veritaserum along on your journey – it will be the only way you find what you need to know.” He spat, a half-mad glint flicking through his eyes.

“If that’s the way you want it Malfoy – that’s fine with me. Just remember – you’ll reveal everything if we administer the Vertiaserum. I do hope you have no deep, dark secrets from the past you don’t want shared.” Harry countered, watching as traces of panic flashed through his eyes. “Shall I leave you to mull it over?” Harry moved from where he stood above Malfoy to the edge of the doorway. “You can have a few hours to mull it over and I’ll be back to get your answer. I’ll be sure to have some veritaserum with me in case your answer isn’t the one I hope you’ll give.” He didn’t wait for his enemy’s answer before he opened the door with a flick of his wand and stepped through.

Locking the door behind him, Harry placed his wand back into his robes and let the breath he was holding out of his lungs in a silent whoosh. He hadn’t thought seeing Malfoy after so many years would have an affect on him. The last time he had seen him was after the final battle with Voldemort. Both had been boys then, quickly being thrust into manhood by forces they couldn’t control. Harry had come across Malfoy attempting the Avada Kedavra on a fourth-year in the ruins of the Potions classrooms. Having the element of surprise on his side, Harry successfully disarmed him, and had kept watch on him until Ministry officials could arrest his schoolmate. Draco had been dragged off, cursing all that crossed his path, starting with Harry. At the time, Harry thought he’d seen the last of Draco, and had taken comfort in the thought of him being sent to Azkaban to await trial for his crimes. His comfort had been short-lived however, when a few months later; Malfoy senior had staged an elaborate escape for his son and fellow death-eaters. This action had thrust Harry into the war he hadn’t wanted to fight. Harry and his auror team had caught the escaped Death Eaters in the years since then, but the younger Malfoy had evaded them. After having no communications regarding him near the end of the war, it was assumed that he had died. Draco Malfoy had been the last wizard Harry expected to find at the base of the mountains in Yekaterinburg.

Looking back at the door to the room that held Malfoy, Harry knew that, this time, he would not let him escape his crimes. He nodded at the guard across from the door to come forward.

“Yes Mr. Potter?” He asked.

“Again, Dylan, please call me Harry. We’re all equals.” Harry commented amazed that the older auror held him in such high regard. The team on this mission was fairly new – all were experienced aurors but with the exception of Yuri none had worked with Harry before. Even after a month of living and working together, Harry had to tell them to call him by his first name or last name only.

“Sorry- Harry –“Dylan corrected, “what would you like me to do with Malfoy?”

“Keep watch on him for now. Take note if he says anything – but don’t talk to him. Even if he speaks to you first – ignore him and come find me right away.” Harry explained his face serious. “I want him to feel isolated. He’ll crack easier if we ignore him.” Dylan nodded as he took his place beside the door. “Right then. Someone will be down in a few hours to relieve you – and remember – do NOT talk to him.” With a final nod, Harry turned and proceeded up the stairs to the main level of the house.

*~*

Harry looked about the kitchen as he entered it. Most of the team was present, with the exception of Dylan McKee and the aurors who were in the field on death-eater surveillance.

“Good morning everyone. As you’ve probably all heard, last afternoon, Ariadne Calileigh and I captured a death-eater last night. Draco Malfoy.” Harry paused as an audible gasp echoed through the room. “As many of you know, Malfoy has been wanted by the Ministry of Magic for 5 years now. Once we are finished interrogating the suspect he will be escorted back to Britain to stand trial for his crimes against the wizarding world and the muggles he attacked during Voldemort’s last stand and the recent war.”

Harry looked at each of his fellow aurors. He could tell by the looks that passed over their faces that, with the exception of Calileigh, they all knew the atrocities that Malfoy had committed. He made a mental note to speak with her later to see why it was that she knew nothing of the evil that was Draco Malfoy. Taking a seat at the end of the table, Harry unscrolled the parchment in front of him and picked up the quill that was lying beside it.

“Now – onto why I’ve called this impromptu meeting. Our mission has taken a great leap forward with this capture. I’ve begun the interrogation of Malfoy, but for the moment he’s not talking. As I told McKee – no one is to talk to him. He’ll eventually be more forthcoming if we ignore him. I also mentioned to him that we will employ the use of veritaserum if he doesn’t give us the information we want.” Harry motioned towards a woman at the end of the table. “Irene – I took a sample of Malfoy’s hair last night after his capture. I want you to take this,” Harry reached in his pocket and drew out a small vile containing Malfoy’s hair and levitated it down to where she sat. “And get started on finishing the polyjuice potion. I expect a batch must be near completion?”

The older witch nodded as she caught the bottle. “Yes, with this hair sample we should be able to have some ready by the end of the day tomorrow.”

“Excellent. The rest of his gang won’t be suspicious by a long absence then.” Harry scribbled a bit of information onto the parchment in front of him before continuing. “Now, we must decide who is going to head into the nest once we have the location and other critical information from Malfoy.” Harry looked around the group, trying to assess who he thought should go into the nest.

Because they were dealing with a male death eater, the women in the group were out. After an incident where the polyjuice potion a female auror had taken during a mission went sour and the transformation didn’t fully take and her death occurred; a rule was put into place that stated men would have to impersonate men and vice-versa. That left, Harry, McKee, Yuri and five other men that could head into the nest disguised as Malfoy. Harry automatically took himself out of the group, as head of the mission, it was up to him to delegate to the others during times like this. If he had still had Tonks as his co-partner, he’d have ignored the rule and did the infiltration himself. However, with Moody and Lupin pairing him with Calileigh, Harry didn’t feel entirely comfortable leaving her behind.

Harry looked from Yuri, to the other three that were seated at the table. Two of the other men were absent, as it was their turn to set up camp near the base of the mountains and watch for signs of death eaters. Harry planned on making a trip out to camp later to fill them in on the latest development. Just as he was about to bring about another order of business about, the man beside Yuri cleared his throat. His eyes swung back towards the man that commanded his attention.

“Yes O’Connor?” Harry said acknowledging the wizard. Aaron O’Connor was around 10 years older than himself, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

“I’d like to volunteer for this sir.” O’Connor spoke as all eyes around the table moved to look at him.

Harry nodded and made some notes on the parchment in front of him. “Are you sure? “ He asked.

“Yes, I’m the best suited, I think.” O’Connor answered, his hands fidgeting nervously on the table top. “I’m about his size and colouring. If something were to go wrong with the polyjuice I’ll be able to sneak off easier than someone of say Yuri’s stature and colouring.”

“Those are good points Aaron. If there are no objections from anyone else, then you will be the one to go into the death-eaters nest.” Harry looked about the table to see the rest nod in agreement. “Yuri – I want you and Aaron to start preparing. You’ll follow him as far as possible without getting noticed.” Scribbling some more words down on the parchment, Harry set his quill down and rolled it up. “Thank you all for meeting this morning. We’ll gather again for another debrief tomorrow morning. Hopefully by then the interrogation will have moved forward and we will know the location of the nest. For now, we shall carry on as if things were normal. The death-eaters have eyes and ears throughout the town. We can’t let them know we have their ring-leader.” With that, Harry stood and left the room.

*~*

Sitting in the comfort of his attic room, Harry reviewed the notes from the meeting. He needed to find Yuri and Aaron later to discuss the plan they were preparing. For the time being he needed to be alone. Seeing Malfoy after all these years had thrown Harry for a loop. Memories Harry had long buried came back to the surface to swim in front of his eyes. Pausing in his reading, Harry pushed his glasses off his nose, closing his eyes as he pinched the bridge with his thumb and index finger.

Get hold of yourself Potter. He thought to himself. Calming his thoughts, Harry drew on his occlumency skills to push them back down. I must invest in a pensieve when I return to England. He mused as felt his mind clearing. He couldn’t let the Malfoy of the past cloud his thoughts right now. Sticking to the task was of the utmost importance.

Opening the middle drawer of the desk, Harry withdrew a new piece of parchment to write his daily report on. In the excitement of yesterday he had forgotten his daily report, sighing he resigned himself to having to include two days. Harry hated writing these reports but knowing the importance of them once the mission was over. Much of the trial would focus the reports that the auror team gave to the Wizengamot. If even one part of the report was questionable or wrong in anyway, it could be thrown out and the accused released. Harry knew there was no way he was going to allow Malfoy to slip through his grasp again. Taking a deep breath, he dipped his quill into the ink well and started to write.

September 11- 12th – Left for reconnaissance with A. Calileigh at 12h00 on September 11th. Hiked to the edge of town to continue to the rendez-vous point where the two of us were to relieve the last duo on duty. As we approached the path leading into the mountains I could feel a prickling down my spine. It was the same feeling I had experienced the night before when I accidentally stunned Calileigh in town. Pausing I stopped to listen to the sounds around me. Feeling a presence behind us I sent out the Stupefy curse and heard a body fall to the ground behind us. As I approached the body, I could instantly tell it was one of the death-eaters from the mountain. Getting closer, I realized that the death-eater stunned in front of me was Draco Malfoy. Instantly, I placed a binding spell on him so he couldn’t escape. Afterwards, Calileigh and I levitated the suspect back to the house. Placed suspect Malfoy in holding cell.

September 12th – Went to holding cell to start interrogation of Draco Malfoy. As of the time of this report he is being un-cooperative and is withholding information. I have issued an order to the team to not talk Malfoy. I feel keeping him isolated will allow me to get the information I need from him. …


Harry looked up suddenly from his report. Bollocks. Just as I was hitting my groove. He thought, as the visitor at his door knocked once more. Setting the quill down beside the parchment, he stood and crossed the floor to open the door.

“Yes?” He asked, slightly annoyed when he saw Calileigh was on the other side.

“Mr. Pott – I mean Harry. I just wanted to bring you my report. Yuri said you wanted us to hand everything to you for safekeeping when they were complete.” She stammered as she thrust her roll of parchment in front of him.

Harry pulled it out of her hands and unrolled it. Scanning it quickly, he noted how concise and detailed she was in her writing. Maybe I should talk her into writing my reports. He thought as he re-rolled the parchment and gestured for Ariadne to enter the room.

Conjuring a chair for her, Harry sat in the one pulled out by his desk. “Thank you Ariadne – it looks like you’ve covered everything. Mad-Eye and Lupin will be impressed.” He set the parchment beside the other reports on the desk and motioned for her to sit down. “A few of the others could take a lesson from you on report writing.”

Calileigh blushed as she sat down. She sat nervously on the edge of her chair watching Harry’s movements as he leaned back in his chair. Although she knew he was engaged to be married and had tried desperately to remember the fact, she couldn’t help having a crush on him. “Er- thank you?” She said quietly, her hands fidgeting on her lap.

Harry shifted slightly in his chair and looked at her. “Now Ariadne, I wanted to ask you about Draco Malfoy. How is it that you fought in the War and don’t know about him?”

“Well, uh, it’s not that I don’t know about Draco Malfoy. Well I’ve been told about him and his family. But I just never what he looked like before now.” She said quietly, feeling her cheeks flame once again.

“How is that possible? I realize you’re younger than I am, but obviously not by much. You would have attended Hogwarts during some of the same years as me. You did attend Hogwarts didn’t you?”

Ariadne looked about the sparse room. With the exception of the rolls of parchment on the desk and the battered rucksack in the corner – the room didn’t look lived in. “Well yes - I went to Hogwarts but only for my last few years. I believe your year was finished by then. My father was muggle and my mother was a witch. Mum home schooled me and my sisters. She didn’t think Hogwarts was safe for us. It wasn’t until the Ministry told her we had to attend for our N.E.W.T.s did we go.”

“Really? That’s quite interesting. I thought all young wizards had to attend Wizarding School in Europe.” Harry absently picked up the quill he had left on the desk when Ariadne had knocked and twirled it in his fingers. He wished he had skived some sugar quills from the twins before he left. He found they helped him think.

“Well Mum was top of her class when she attended Hogwarts. She once was offered a teaching position but turned it down to stay at home with us.” Ariadne sighed and tucked her hair behind her ears. She was getting the distinct impression that Harry wasn’t listening to her. Once again she felt like he was ignoring her comments and it was getting her angry.

“I know I seem sheltered Harry, but I am good at what I do. You realize I wouldn’t be here if Mr. Moody and Mr. Lupin didn’t think so.” She said, trying to keep her voice from wavering. “I realize I’m not as learned as you or any of the other aurors on this team. I know it’s too late for me to back out of this mission, but just because I didn’t recognize Draco Malfoy from 20 yards doesn’t mean I can’t contribute. Perhaps you should think about juggling us around. Place me with someone else. Mr. Potter – I’m not sure if I can be your partner.” Feeling overwhelmed by the lack of emotion on Harry’s face, Ariadne jumped to her feet and left the room, slamming the door behind her.

Harry sat for a moment in the silence after Calileigh’s outburst. He stared out the small window at the cloudy sky and mulled over her words. He supposed she did have a point. If she couldn’t do the job Mad-Eye and Lupin would not have sent her along on the team. He leaned back on his chair and moved his eyes towards the ceiling. Why can’t this mission just be finished with? Harry sighed. The sound hanging in the still room. He knew he was going to have to deal with this situation. He just wasn’t sure how to do it and still be able to deal with interrogating Malfoy and sending O’Connor on his way.



Chapter 22: Waking up
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Ginny exited the lift on the children’s floor in St. Mungo’s to begin the first rounds of her shift. As she approached the floor’s main station, she noticed a note in the cubby marked with her name. Saying hello to the Healers and medi-witches gathered, Ginny pulled it out and noticed the handwriting was from Ron.

“When did this come?” She asked to the witch who manned the phones.

“Oh just a few moments ago, a rather irritating owl brought it in. He missed his mark and ended up landing in one of the enchanted cleaning buckets. Poor little fellow didn’t enjoy that much. Thankfully the sender placed a drying charm around the letter. That kept it safe. Hope it’s nothing too serious.” Ginny smiled at the medi-witches description of Pig. The poor little owl, after all these years he still got over excited over the smallest task. Last week, Hermione had sent him over with a note for Ginny. Hedwig had not been impressed when she had allowed Pig to stay for a rest and some treats. That evening when she opened the window for Hedwig to go hunting and Pig to return her reply to Hermione, Ginny had gotten a nip on the finger to show her how annoyed the snowy owl had been.

“Thank you Miss O’Neil. I’m sure it’s nothing.” Ginny said, opening the letter to see it was a note reminding Ginny of dinner at Ron and Hermione’s flat later that evening. Seeing the medi-witch leaning over the counter, she folded the parchment over and slipped it in her robe pocket. “If anyone is looking for me, I can be found down in children’s ward one.” Turning on her heel, Ginny grabbed her charts from the shelf and walked down the hall.

Entering the ward; Ginny felt a smile fall across her face. Aside from having her good morning hugs and kisses from James each day, the part of her day when she had a chance to see her charges at St. Mungo’s was one of her favorite. As she opened the door, she was greeted by a symphony of hellos from the group of children that were gathered on a mat in the middle of the floor listening to a story from a student medi-witch.

“Good morning!” Ginny answered. Ward One was where the kids in recovery were placed before being allowed to go home. “How is my favorite bunch of patients today?” She asked, kneeling down near the children, and laughing as various answers were thrown at her from all sides. “Ok, ok – one at a time! I’m going to call each one of you over to the examination area, and maybe some of you will get to go home with your Mums and Dads today!” Ginny stood and moved to the small examination area she had set up when she had begun her rounds on Ward One. She listened intently to each child as she did a quick examination, making notes as she went along and when finished she slipped a lemon drop in their robe pocket and sent them on their way.

Today was going to be a good day. Most of the children she checked over were going to be picked up by their parents or caregivers later in the day. It always made Ginny’s heart fill with happiness when she watched one of the children being treated at St. Mungo’s head home with someone that loved them. As she sent the last little one on her way, Ginny rose to leave the room. She said goodbye to the children and promised to return before they were released from the hospital and excused herself from the ward.

Heading into the hallway, she went back to the main station to return Ward One’s charts for the medi-witch on duty to file. As she was about to head off to visit her more serious cases, someone called her name, turning she nodded at her superior, Healer Bones.

“Ginny – I’m so glad I’ve run into you. Are you almost finished up with the children? I need you to come down to Miss Tonks’ room. The testers want you there while they administer the next dosage of her trials.”

“Healer Bones - I just finished up with the children in Ward One. Most of them will be heading home this afternoon. I still need to visit my more serious cases but if the testers need me down in Tonk’s room then I’ll head there first.” Ginny responded, “Let me let just tell my medi-witch that I’ll be finishing my rounds later.”

*~*

The door to Tonks’ room was ajar as Ginny approached. She could hear voices in the room and knew that the tester had arrived with her patient’s dose of elixir for today. Ginny checked her watch and made a mental note that it was the third round in the elixir’s trial. If no improvement was found after this dosage, Tonks was to be pulled from the program. Ginny steeled herself and slipped inside the room, closing the door behind her.

As she entered, the occupants of the room turned to greet her. A nervous looking Lupin was at his usual post beside Tonks’ bedside; he looked up and smiled a hello to her. Lupin looked particularly ragged today and Ginny realized that the night before had been the last night in the full moon phase. She smiled in return as she walked over to where Tonks lay in stillness. Placing a hand on Lupin’s shoulder, Ginny squeezed it gently and said a quiet hello. She knew he would be uncomfortable discussing his condition with the tester in the room, but she made a mental note to ask him once they were alone if he needed anything. Ginny felt that with each transformation, Lupin aged another year.

“Healer Weasley, so good of you to join us,” the tester said as he picked up his clipboard from the table at the foot of the bed.

“Healer Smith, I hadn’t realized you were coming so early today. I was just in the middle of rounds when Healer Bones found me.” Ginny said, as she lifted Tonks’ chart from where it was clipped to the edge of the bed. Doing a quick once over, she read the notes made by the medi-witch early in the morning. Tonks’ vitals were strong but still unchanged. Ginny hoped that today was the day they started to see a change in her. “I presume you are ready to start?” She asked, setting the chart down. “Remus, we’ll need you to leave for a moment - if you don’t mind. This shouldn’t take long; perhaps you’d like to grab a bite to eat or a drink?” She placed a hand on his arm as he stood. “I’ll send the medi-witch for you as soon as we are finished.”

“Thank you Ginny. But I think I’ll just wait outside. I’m not feeling much for food or drink at the moment.” Lupin replied, patting Ginny’s shoulder. “Just stick your head out when you’re through and I’ll come back in.” With that, he left the room quietly.

“Strange bloke, he is.” Healer Smith commented as the door swung quietly shut. At his comment, Ginny’s head snapped towards him, where he was busy preparing Tonks’ for her dosage. A flash of anger bubbled up inside of her, which she quickly tried to put a damper on. Reminding herself that this person did not know Remus Lupin or anything about his life, she took a deep breath.

“He might say the same about you.” Ginny said, moving to stand on the opposite side of Tonks’ bed. Today, the enchanted ceiling above her was showing another peaceful day. Ginny had placed a charm on the ceiling to tap into Tonks’ brain activity. She hoped that once the elixir started to take effect, the ceiling would reflect what was happening in her brain. Since the charm had been placed on her, the ceiling was peaceful, showing that Tonks was still lost deep in the depths of nothingness. She longed for the day the storm clouds would cover the ceiling, giving Ginny an inclination that her friend was inside, fighting to get out.

“Pardon me?” Healer Smith asked as he produced the elixir from his robe pocket. It was in a small bottle, the liquid inside purple in colour.

“I said, he may say the same about you, Healer Smith.” Ginny said, her temper threatening to flare. “You shouldn’t presume things about people; they could do the same to you.” She finished, feeling heat rise into her cheeks. “Shall we begin?” She asked, pointing at the bottle in the other healer’s hand, effectively changing the subject.

Healer Smith opened the small bottle and a pungent odor filled the room. Both healers scrunched their noses up and began to cough as their eyes watered. “What is in it this time? That’s horrible!” Even in potions class with Professor Snape, Ginny hadn’t been assaulted by such a smell.

“I’m not quite sure. The night team brewed it. It’s gone through its tests already, so it’s supposed to smell this way.” Leaning over Tonks’ prone form, Healer Smith waved his wand to open her mouth; he poured the elixir into her mouth and gently prodded her neck with his wand to open her throat. The purple liquid bubbled for a moment before it silently slipped down into her body.

Ginny held her breath as the liquid went down. She picked up her chart and made note of the time. As Healer Smith straightened, a dark mist begun to gather at the top of Tonks’ head as the damage of the cruciatus curse was extracted from her brain. The cloud hovering in the air at the head of the bed was larger than the last two clouds that appeared when Tonks’ had been given the elixir. Ginny scribbled this down on the parchment, extractment cloud larger than previous trials.

“This is larger than last week’s cloud.” She remarked. “Do you think it may be working?”

Healer Smith examined the cloud and pulled a fresh bottle from the pocket of his robes. Gathering a small sample inside, he held it to the light where it swirled angrily around. “Not sure. I’m going to take this down to the labs and test it. Hopefully it will give us some answers of what is going on inside her brain. Whatever this is – it doesn’t seem to like the light.” He fumbled with the bottle as the mist hit at the glass. He quickly slipped it into his pocket. “Wow – that’s the first one of these that’s done that. I’ll let you know the results as soon as we get them downstairs. Make sure that you chart any sort of improvements or changes in her condition. Otherwise, I’ll be back next week with the next round of elixir.” He said as he waved his wand to dissipate the remainder of the mist then pocketed his wand and moved towards the door.

“Thank you Healer Smith. Will you please send Mr. Lupin when you leave?” Ginny asked as she looked up at the ceiling. It remained unchanged, the sky a bright cerulean, the fluffy clouds drifting by.

“Ginny? Did everything go fine?” Lupin asked as he re-entered the room and crossed back to return to his post beside his love’s bed.

“Yes Remus, everything went well. The elixir seemed to have done its job. I hope we’ll see some improvement soon.” She responded as she watched him take Tonks’ hand in his and stroke her fingers lovingly. To watch them made Ginny’s heart ache for Harry. It was nearing the two month mark since he had left on the mission. Each night before she went to sleep, her thoughts were filled with wishes that he would be home soon. Each morning she woke, she wished she would turn over and see his sleeping form next to her.

“Ginny? Are you alright?” Lupin asked, as he looked up and watched emotion pass over her face.

Pushed out of her thoughts and back to the present, she focused on the person in front of her. “Yes, yes – I’m fine Remus. I was just thinking about Harry. It’s been nearly two months since he’s left. But then, you know that.“ She answered a melancholy smile on her face.

Lupin looked at her and seen the worry and pain in her brown eyes. Feeling an empathy for her, he rose to put a fatherly arm around her and gave her a hug. “Yes, I do know that. I’ve been in your situation before. There were many missions that Nymphadora went on that I wasn’t privy to knowing about. And there was many times when I wasn’t able to tell Nymphadora what I was doing. It’s hard. But I can tell you that Harry is fine.”

Ginny looked up expectantly at Lupin. “Have you heard from him?” She asked a glimmer of hope in her voice.

“Ginvera, I wish I could tell you yes, but no we haven’t. But that isn’t a bad thing. It means they are doing their job well. The moment something goes wrong, Alastor Moody and I are notified by signal. That hasn’t happened. And I promise, if it does, you will be the first I tell.”

Ginny sighed and let Lupin’s words sink in. “Thank you Remus, you don’t know what that means to me. I just worry so. And I know I shouldn’t, Harry is a grown man after all. He defeated Voldemort when he was still a boy and he’s been to war. It all seems silly for me to harbour thoughts of doom and gloom.”

He smiled, making him seem younger than usual. “Ginny dear, it’s normal to worry and feel like you do. It’s called loving someone.” Giving Ginny a final hug and returned to his place at Tonks’ beside. “Look at me. I sit here most everyday and why? Because for some reason - beyond my comprehension - Nymphadora picked me to love; and made me realize that I loved her back.”

Ginny felt the tears well up in her eyes. The pain that mixed in with the love in Lupin’s voice hit a chord with her. Sniffing slightly, she brushed the tears away. “Remus, Tonks is lucky to have someone like you watching over her. Now before I go I’d like to talk for a moment.” She said, pulling up a chair beside him. “I’d like to put on my healer hat.”

“Ah, Miss Weasley, you always do have that hat on. That’s what makes you unique in your healing abilities.” Lupin said, a smile crossing his face.

“The full moon phase ended last night,” Ginny began, watching Lupin’s face.

“I’d rather not discuss it.” He said quietly, reaching up to stroke Tonks hair away from her face.

“I know Remus, but please, let me give you something that will help heal your wounds a bit faster. And don’t try to tell me you haven’t hurt yourself. I can tell from the way you were trying to hide that limp that you’ve done something. Did you take the wolfsbane potion Mad-Eye prepared for you?” She laughed at the look of curiosity on his face. “Harry told me about it. I was curious as to if you had anyone to brew the potion for you and wouldn’t let up until he told me.”

“Yes, I took Alastor’s potion. My legs are a little sore today but nothing out of the ordinary. The transformation was a bit more painful than usual but I think it may be a result of spending so many late nights here and at the DA headquarters.”

“Are you sure? I won’t mind getting some balm and potions ready for you.” She sighed as he shook his head and looked at the ceiling. Remus Lupin was as hard headed as the rest of them, she thought, he just hides it better.

As Ginny looked at the enchanted ceiling, she noticed something was different in the sky above. It was a slight difference and had she not placed the charm herself, she would never have been able to note the change; but up above in the top left-hand corner, a small black cloud hovered silently. It wasn’t moving much, but Ginny was positive that it hadn’t been there before. She inhaled sharply and glanced at her watch – it had been 30 minutes since Healer Smith had administered the elixir.

Ginny held her breath and looked at Tonks’ seemingly still body as Lupin watched in confusion. “Remus – I think we may have just had our first glimmer of hope.” She said excitedly as she pointed first towards to the ceiling and then at Tonks. The woman lay still in the bed except for her eyelids, where were beginning to move erratically back and forth.

*~*

As she left St.Mungo’s at the end of her shift, Ginny felt her spirits soar. The testers had arrived shortly after she had notified them of the change in Tonks’ condition, they confirmed that she had indeed responded to the elixir and would continue to be included in the trials. Ginny smiled to herself as she recalled the look of hope on Lupin’s face. As the testers had explained to him what he could accept over the next few weeks and months, his hands shook with nervousness, but the excitement shining in his eyes was unmistakable. Ginny wished that Harry had been home to see his friends and colleagues and be a part of the excitement. Preparing to apparate to Ron’s, thoughts of Harry were on her mind.

She opened the door to Ron and Hermione’s flat after knocking and receiving no answer and was greeted by a shout.

“You are an insufferable prat Ronald Weasley – I don’t know why I ever married you!”

“Because you find me irresistible and charming?” Came the sarcastic reply.

She left the entry way to find the two in the kitchen. Hermione was standing over a charred pot and Ron was attempting to hold back his laughter as he stood watching her in his dirty quidditch robes.

“Evening, you two.” She said, as she entered the kitchen. “Having some kitchen problems Hermione?” Ginny peered into the charred pot and seen what appeared to be the remnants of potatoes at the bottom.

“No! Everything was coming along fine – until that git you call a brother came in and scared me!” She exclaimed, setting the pot down onto the stove with a bang. “And he should know better –my magic has been acting erratically. When he pounced on me from behind, I must have performed the incendio charm with my mind and the next thing I know – my potatoes are ruined and he’s over there in the corner laughing at me!” The words came out in a rush and Ginny sympathized with her friend.

When she had been pregnant with James, spells would go off without any rhyme or reason. The first time it had happened, Ginny was terrified. She had been alone at the Burrow while Molly was off running errands in Ottery St. Catchpole. Ginny was quietly reading in her room, when suddenly the books on her shelves started flying off and dropping to the floor. Convinced that a poltergeist had taken up residence in the house, Ginny curled up in a corner of the room and began to cry, where Molly had found her when she returned.

“Hermione, Mum hasn’t told you yet about your heightened magical ability yet?” Ginny asked, plunking herself down into the nearest chair to relieve her sore feet. When Hermione looked at her strangely, Ginny recounted the story of her first encounter with neo-natal-magic. “So when witches get pregnant, the baby’s magical abilities can be twinned with its mother’s – it can cause out-of-control magic. Is this the first time it’s happened for you?” She asked.

“I just thought it was from being overtired.” Hermione said, shaking her head and setting the pot down. “Ronald, make yourself useful and clean that up would you? My wand is in the other room.” Knowing how to pick his battles, he quickly cleaned the burnt pot and mumbled something about cleaning himself up and excited the room. “But if this happens, how come it hasn’t been reported in any of the wizarding medical books I’ve read?” She quizzed, causing Ginny to laugh as she could picture the wheels in Hermione’s brain turning as she tried to recall all she had read.

“They don’t write about it. Simple as that.” Ginny replied. “Not every witch goes through it, some experience more than others. Mum said she had a terrible time when she was carrying Fred and George. Even in the womb, they wanted to cause trouble. Dad lost his eyebrows twice when he accidentally startled her in the night coming home late from work” She patted her sister-in-law’s hand affectionately. “Some Healers felt since not all witches experience the heightened sensitivity to magic that if they mentioned it, when the majority of expectant mothers didn’t experience it, they’d get upset and think that their child might not be as gifted as the ones that had their mum throwing things off of shelves and burning pots.

“Mum believed that because Harry was James’ father, it caused me to be more sensitive then she ever was. From my 5th month until almost the end, if I wasn’t careful I would set things off. Remember the night Ron’s hair grew until it reached the floor and turned maroon?” She laughed as Hermione smiled at the memory. “That was James. I lost my temper and although I was trying to keep it in check since we were at the dinner table he felt my anger and caused me to set the charms off without a wand. It was a total subconscious thought.”

“Oh dear – I hope it won’t happen I’m at work.” Hermione asked, biting her lip in fear and in worry of the havoc unconscious magic would have on the Ministry. “I can’t have my files catch fire or fly about at work! My superior would have my license to practice magic!” As the tears welled up in her eyes, Ginny quickly tried to calm her with a hug.

“Hermione – don’t worry. If you try and keep calm, you’ll be fine. It was worse when I was in large groups or with the family – especially when you are with Fred and George. Unborn babies seem to feed off of their energy.” She warned as patted her friend’s growing belly. “And in my professional opinion, your healer is going to put you off of work early. Magical twins can sometimes make the late stages of pregnancy difficult for witches. So by the time you are into throws of worst of the neo-natal-magic you’ll be safe at home or at the Burrow. And there you can throw caution to the wind and let the hexes fly. My brother’s won’t know what hit them and I shall thoroughly enjoy it! Now what are we going to do about supper? I’m starving!” She proclaimed, patting her own stomach as it growled on cue.

*~*

“So Tonks’ has responded to the elixir?” Hermione asked as she passed Ginny the bowl of pasta Ron had concocted to save dinner.

Ginny nodded, scooping the steaming noodles onto her plate and adding the rich, red sauce. Aside from Molly’s cooking, her brother’s pasta was one of her favorite meals. As she responded she picked up her fork to twirl some noodles onto it. “Yes! This was the third round of the elixir today and finally there has been some response! Remus was so happy, I wanted to cry. The testers have decided to push her next dosage ahead three days. As she’s the only one that has had any sort of response, they want to see what happens when they space the elixir closer together.”

“What happened?” Ron asked his mouth full of food. As he passed the garlic bread to Hermione, she tutted at him and motioned for Ginny to continue.

“I placed a charm on her enchanted ceiling that connected the sky to her brain activity. Since she was placed in the room, the sky has stayed calm and clear, save for a few fluffy clouds. This morning when we administered the dosage the mist that gathered afterwards was larger than usual. I stayed to talk to Remus once the testers had left to make sure he was doing ok after the full moon cycle and noticed that there was a single dark cloud floating in the corner of the sky. Then Tonks’ eyes started moving beneath their lids. Nothing more happened. Healer Smith has assured me that it was a step in the right direction. We’re hoping for great improvements over the next week or two.” Ginny set her fork down beside her plate to take a drink of the wine beside her. “So Ron - how’s my favorite Quidditch keeper?”

*~*

Harry felt the warm air hit him in the face as he entered the house. It was bitterly cold in Yekaterinburg for October and although the locals he had befriended assured him it was out of the ordinary and had to end soon, he didn’t believe it. Quickly removing his cloak, he slipped down the stairs and into the basement.

“Afternoon Yuri, how’s our favorite detainee?” He asked as he neared the door to Malfoy’s cell.

“’E vas making a large racket earlier, but now he is quiet. Are you going to go inside?” He asked, rising from the chair beside the thick oak door.

“I was planning on it. We need to move forward with getting Aaron into the nest. I noticed some questionable individuals in town this morning and I think they have come down to look for their leader. If he doesn’t begin to crack soon, we’ll administer the veritaserum. The longer we wait, the more dangerous it is going to be to send Aaron in.”

Harry paused at the door, “Yuri – while I’m in here – can you please head upstairs and get the vial and Calileigh? I think it would be interesting for her to be involved. As far as I know she’s never witnessed the potion in play.” As Harry finished, his friend looked at him in confusion. Harry knew he was puzzled over Harry’s decision to include Calileigh – but he ignored the puzzled look that was thrown over Yuri’s shoulder as he climbed the stairs.

After his last encounter with Calileigh, the short conversation they had had played over in his mind. Harry had ended up reviewing her file in the case notes Mad-Eye and Lupin had sent with him. When he was through, he realized that he had not handled the situation with her in the best of ways. He had also come to the realization that although Calileigh was an active auror during the war, she hadn’t seen much more action than what new aurors experienced in basic training. At that moment he decided that he needed to help her out. Since then, Harry made a conscious effort to ask her for her opinion and to include her when situations arose that he knew she had never been involved in.

Harry pulled his wand from his robe and silently pointed it at the door in front of him, causing it to swing open, catching the prisoner inside by surprise.

“Hello Malfoy.” Harry said, trying to keep the sneer out of his voice. “Are we ready to talk?”

Malfoy started at Harry’s voice, but continued to stare at the ceiling. “I think you already know the answer to your question Potter. I’m not going to willingly tell you anything.”

Harry stood at the door and stared at the man lying on the cot. Each day he came in here and each day Malfoy looked more pathetic to him. The untouched tray of food that Yuri had brought earlier lay untouched. It was the third day in a row that Malfoy hadn’t eaten. Harry was indifferent to that fact, but he knew that the Ministry would be upset when the fact came to light. Malfoy’s defender in the upcoming trial could use a malnourishment claim to attempt to lessen Malfoy’s sentence.

“That’s fine Malfoy, today we’ll be bring the veritaserum in. You’ve now been officially forewarned. Now if you want to rethink your position on giving me information, now is the time.”

Malfoy sat up as Harry spoke and stared at him with piercing blue eyes. The hate was still between the two was still evident. In fact, Harry believed it had grown stronger in the days since Malfoy’s capture. “I won’t be rethinking my position Potter.” He spat, “I won’t give up my secrets willingly. The Malfoy’s have a sense of honour.”

Harry tried to hold back the snort that bubbled up inside of him. “Honour? You? The Malfoys in general? Your family has no more sense of honour than Peter Pettigrew had.” He watched as his words sunk in and Malfoy’s hands tightened on the edge of the bed, causing his knuckles to turn white.

“And I suppose that you would be comparing my family to those lowly Weasels, you seem to hold in such high regard? Marrying mudbloods and haven’t got two sickles to rub together? Tell me Potter – how’s the weaselette doing? Still as fiery as I recall?” He sneered as he watched his words hit home. “If she hadn’t been such a mudblood lover, I may have given her a second glan-“

Malfoy’s words were cut off as Harry grabbed him by the front of his grimy and stained robes. “Malfoy – I strongly suggest you choose your words wisely.” He growled. His voice was steady but if anyone had heard him – they would have heard the danger warning in his voice.

“Ah – Potter still carries a soft spot for the weaselette does he? I bet she’s grown into a real – “ Malfoy’s words became strangled as Harry lifted him off the cot and slammed him into the wall.

“I’ve warned you once Malfoy – I will not warn you again.” He said coldly, holding him tightly against the damp stone.

Malfoy sneered in response, but Harry could see the panic in his eyes. As he lowered him to the ground, Yuri and Calileigh entered the room.

“’Arry – vhat are you doing?” Yuri yelled, pushing Harry off of Malfoy. “Did ‘e attack you?”

Harry shook his head and stared at Malfoy, who was making a play of claiming mistreatment. “He was warned to keep his mouth shut. He didn’t.” He said simply, looking over to where Calileigh stood at the door. “Calileigh, have you brought the veritaserum? I understand this will be your first encounter with administering it to a prisoner?”

She nodded and came forward, holding the vial of liquid in her hand. “Here it is. Irene said they did a test of it this morning and it worked well. How shall we begin?”

“Ah – you brought a rookie in Potter? Don’t I warrant anyone more important?” Malfoy said from his spot on the cot.

Harry turned and looked at Malfoy. “This young woman isn’t a rookie Malfoy – she’s been involved in the fight against the likes of you since the war began.” Conjuring a chair, he turned to Yuri. “Did you bring the quick quotes quill? Mad-Eye will want this documented.”

“Be sure to include the fact that I was man-handled just prior to this.” Malfoy said, as Harry heaved him from the cot by his arm and put him in the chair. Ignoring his prisoner, he cast a binding spell to keep him still in the chair.

Yuri prepared the quill and parchment to begin writing, dictating a few notes of his own before he signaled to Harry that he was ready.

“Right then – Calileigh, shall we begin? Let’s administer the potion.” Harry said, moving behind Malfoy and holding his head back. Calileigh uncorked the bottle and begin to pour it into his open mouth, pausing for a moment to prod his neck with her wand to open his throat.

Harry waited a moment to allow the potion to enter Malfoy’s system before he began.

“State your name.” He said.

“Draco Malfoy.” Came the response.

“Tell me where your headquarters is.” He asked, watching as Malfoy tried to fight the potion and hold back his answer.

“We’re in the eastern section of the Urals.”

“And where is the apparition point?”

“On the mountain path where you captured me.”

Harry smiled slightly as he took in Malfoy’s answers, the sound of the quill scratching against the parchment filling the otherwise silent room.

“I’m going to conjure some images of suspicious characters. You will identify them if they are in your group.” Harry withdrew his wand and whispered a spell, in front of Malfoy a mist gathered and slowly took the shape of a face Harry was imagining in his mind. He watched as Malfoy examined the image and nodded.

“Please say yes or no.” Yuri said, from his post beside the quill and parchment.

“Yes.” The three aurors could tell from the strangled response that he was trying to fight the effects of the veritaserum, but it was too strong for him.

“Excellent. Let’s continue.” Harry said.

*~*

“Now Aaron, you’ll head out to the mountain path at 14 00 hours tomorrow. The initial dose of polyjuice potion should give you enough time to apparate to the Death Eater’s headquarters. Once there, be sure to establish yourself. Make it known that you’ve returned. Give them the story we’ve discussed. You had to lay low in town for the past few days because we’ve been skulking around town asking a lot of questions.” Harry said as he paced the tiny room where he, Yuri and Aaron had gathered.

“Yes sir. – I mean Harry.” Aaron replied, correcting himself as Harry looked up from the roll of parchment in front of him.

“Alright – now once you’ve established how many of them there are in the camp, I want you to use your enchanted coin to let us know. Just think of the number while you’re holding the coin and we’ll be notified.” Harry held out his coin and thought of a number – which in turn etched itself on Aaron and Yuri’s coin.” He smiled to himself. “Excellent – it works.”

Aaron rubbed his coin and felt the numbers etched there. “And if anything goes wrong?”

Harry began rolling up the parchment that was strewn across the room’s table. “Hold the coin and think danger. We will arrive as soon as possible with reinforcements.” Harry stood and patted Aaron on the shoulder. “You’ll do fine. Perhaps we will wrap this up soon and everyone can go home.”

*A/N: At long last (well a few weeks at least!) the latest chapter. I hope everyone has enjoyed it. Please let me know!*

Chapter 23: The End of a Bad Week
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“Mum! I don’t care right now about what we’re going to serve at the wedding! I don’t want to talk about it!” She yelled as she threw down the dish towel she was holding onto the countertop. “Can we just for one moment NOT talk about it?”

Molly looked at her daughter who stood beside her at the sink. She was standing with both hands on the edge of the counter, her elbows locked and her eyes shut tight. Ginny had a look of tiredness on her face that Molly knew must be a result of a very bad week. All day, Molly noticed a combination of sadness and fatigue on her face, but hadn’t had a moment alone with her daughter to ask her about it. As Arthur was outside in his work shed, fiddling with his newest acquisition – something he was said was called a mirco-oven and James was playing in the back yard, now seemed to Molly like a good time to try to get her daughter to open up.

“Ginny dear - you know we have to talk about it. Heavens knows when Harry could come home. He’s been gone nearly three months now. He might show up on the doorstep tomorrow. It was the two of you that came up with the scheme that you’ll be married two weeks after he returns. The more you have ready – the less stressful it will be when the time comes.” She said as calm as she could. Molly could tell that Ginny’s temper was simmering just below the surface and that she would have to tread lightly.

“But Mum –" She began.

“No buts Ginerva Weasley. I know you’ve been having a bad week. Don’t try to deny it because it’s written all over you. But don’t take it out on me for trying to help you out with something. “ Molly said sternly as she placed an arm on her daughter’s shoulder. Then her tone became softer, “Would you like to talk about it?”

“No – I’d rather not.” Ginny said shortly as James bounded into the kitchen of the Burrow covered in mud and clutching a dusty old broom.

“Mummy! I want to fly!” He said, thrusting the broom at her. Ginny looked down at her son and smiled slightly.

“Quidditch-bug, I’ve already told you today that you aren’t allowed to fly yet. Now please take that broom back to the shed and put it beside the others.” She said, turning back to the dishes to pick up a dripping bowl.

Looked at his mother for a moment and then suddenly threw the dusty broom onto the floor “NO!” He yelled, “I want to fly!!”

The loudness and anger in his voice shot straight up Ginny’s spine and made her head throb. Having James act cranky was the last thing she needed at the end of this particular week. Reminding her self that he was just a little boy she set the bowl she was holding onto the counter and turned around slowly.

“Pardon me James?” She asked, looking down at him.

“I WANT TO FLY.” He shouted again, a whining quality entering his voice as he threw himself onto the floor beside the broom.

“And I’ve already told you that you can’t fly yet James. You’re not old enough yet.” She said, trying to keep her calm.

“Uncle George said he was four when he started to fly and I’m four now!” He continued, the tears welling up in his green eyes.

Molly could tell the two of them were about to lose their tempers. She was about to send the two into separate corners when Ginny lost her temper.

“James Arthur Weasley! You will return that broom to the place you found it immediately and then we’re going straight home and to bed!” She yelled her hand shaking as she pointed outside.

James chose this moment to start howling as his tears begin to fall. “NO!” He yelled back, equally as loud as he began to kick his feet.

Molly stepped between her daughter and grandson, the latter who was now pitching a tantrum of Weasley proportions on the kitchen floor. As the table began to shake from the magic emanating from the little boy she said firmly. “James please take that broom out to the shed where you found it. You are making a mess in Granmum’s clean kitchen.”

She waited as his cries subsided and he sat upright on the floor where he had just been thrashing about. Looking from his mother to his grandmother, James silently got up and picked up the broom and stomped outside.

In the ensuing silence, Molly then turned to her daughter. Ginny looked as white as a ghost and her own tears were threatening to fall.

“Mum, I just yelled at him. Mum – I never yell.” She said, her voice wavering as she looked at Molly.

“Ginny – your son has inherited at least one thing from you – your temper. It’s been quite awhile since a temper of that scale has taken place in this kitchen.” Molly said simply, and then sighed as she seen the look of guilt that was plastered on her youngest’s face.

“He hates me now Mum. He’s never acted like that before. I don’t understand.” She said, as a single fat tear rolled down her cheek.

“Dear – that little boy does not hate you. I guarantee you of that. He’s just cranky – I suspect he’s picked it up from you.” Molly drew her daughter into her arms for a quick hug. She knew how Ginny was feeling. The first time she had lost her temper with Bill; he had looked at her with his clear blue eyes glistening with tears and proceeded to throw his tantrum. It had tore her up inside as she suspected Ginny was feeling at that precise moment.

“Now why don’t you go upstairs and have a bit of quiet time? I’ll run James his bath and get him cleaned up. The two of you can stay here tonight. I think you both need some rest. You can tuck him in when he’s finished.”

Ginny stood in the comfort of her mum’s arms and laid her head on her shoulder. “Mum – are you sure?”

Molly chuckled at the insecurity in her daughter’s voice. “Yes darling. I’m sure on all accounts. By the time James has had his bath and you’ve both had a chance to let you temper recede, this feeling you’re having will go away.”

Molly sighed as she watched Ginny go upstairs and listened for the tell tale creak that signaled her daughter had entered her room. Satisfied, Molly turned to go outside to find her grandson.

She rounded the corner of the shed to find James sitting on the ground, his head on his folded arms that lay on his knees. She cleared her throat and watched as he looked up at her with tear stained cheeks and his hair sticking wildly out at all ends. Molly’s felt a little twinge in her heart as she imagined this must have been what a four-year old Harry must have looked like when he had been upset at that age.

“Granmum? Where’s Mummy?” He asked, rubbing at his eyes with grubby hands.

Molly kneeled down beside James, her knees throbbing slightly from the stiffness she was occasionally feeling in her joints these days. But she ignored it, knowing that seven children, two grandchildren and the thought of more on their way made her feel young.

“Mummy’s upstairs in her room. I thought I might come and find you myself and we could go run your bath. You and Mummy are going to stay with me and Grampie tonight. How does that sound to you?”

James sniffled as he looked into his Granmum’s eyes. “But Mummy’s mad at me. She wants to go home!” He said as his voice hitched and tears filled his bright eyes again.

Molly stood and lifted James into her arms. Moving over to where the tree swing hung, she sat down and rocked them gently. “James darling, although your Mummy lost her temper, she’s not mad at you.” She felt his little fingers gather the shoulder strap of her apron between them, so she continued to rock. “I think Mummy’s had a rough week and sometimes that happens to Mummy’s. But she’s not angry with you.” She looked down to find James’ eyes fixed on her face. Giving him a squeeze, she kissed the top of his head. “Besides I don’t think anyone could ever be angry with you. Now let’s go run that bath and get you cleaned up. Afterwards, perhaps we’ll make you some hot chocolate before bed.”

James’ eyes lit at the mention of the bedtime treat and he nodded, snaking his arms around Molly’s neck to give her a hug. “I love you Granmum.” He said, smiling up at her.

*~*

Ginny lay on the twin bed in her childhood room as thoughts from the week crashed about in her head. She was worried about Tonks and her progress, worried about Harry and worried about the wedding. She drew a few deep breaths and focused her thoughts first on Tonks.

For the past two weeks, the testers had brought up the elixir on a regular basis. The conclusion had been made that because she had been the first to respond to treatment, her dosages would be increased until her improvement stopped. But as Ginny entered her patient’s room each day, it didn’t seem like any improvement was being made.

Changes had taken place but since the first time Ginny had noticed the tiny little black cloud in the corner of the ceiling; Tonks had taken a turn in the opposite direction that Ginny had hoped she would take. At first, she spent most of the time prior to treatment, thrashing about on her bed. So much so, that she had to be restrained in fear that she might fall out of bed and hurt herself in other ways.

Then this week, Tonks had opened her eyes. Directly following her treatment, her dark eyes had flown open and met Ginny’s. There, deep in their depths, Ginny had seen the fear and confusion residing inside. Ginny had tried to soothe her. Telling her that everything was ok and that she was at St. Mungo’s being treated, but it seemed like she hadn’t heard a thing. Tonks looked from Ginny and rested her eyes on Lupin. She watched as Tonks looked at him with confusion, not recognizing the man she loved. Ginny’s heart had broken along with Lupin’s as he calmly smiled while being assured by the testers that this madness was temporary. They were quite certain that Tonks was fighting her way to the surface. The process of getting her back was going to be a painful one for all involved.

For the remainder of the week, when anyone had tried to touch Tonks or even entered her field of vision as she stared at the enchanted ceiling above her, she would start to scream. The testers and Ginny realized that when it was time for testing or any part of her daily routine, Tonks would need to be sedated, as the screams were painful to hear. They were the screams of someone that had been terrified and tortured. The only things that ever seemed to calm her down seemed to be the enchanted ceiling and the sound of Lupin’s voice – but only from a distance. The moment Tonks could sense a presence near her the cries would start, but if she could hear Lupin from across the room, she calmed. The ceiling that had once been filled with blue skies and fluffy white clouds was now filled with dark clouds and flashes of lightning.

Ginny stared at the ceiling in her old room at the Burrow, feeling a tear roll down the side of her face and fall into her hair. She wished so much to make the pain stop for her friend and patient, but at the moment she was at a loss. She felt so helpless going into the hospital room everyday and then see no positive progress. Things had to change soon – otherwise she wasn’t sure how much longer any of them could take it. Ginny and Lupin included.

Sighing, she sat up and pulled her old childhood bear into her arms. It was torn and tattered but as she hugged it to her chest, Ginny felt a bit of comfort. She felt horrible for yelling the way she did at James. Recalling the anger and surprise in her son’s face as she yelled back at him in the middle of his tantrum, she began to feel melancholy.

Ginny knew her mother was right in saying James hadn’t been permanently scarred by her temper, but it still hurt her to know she’d yelled at him the way she did. Truth be told, she’d been rather short with him all week. The outburst earlier had just been a result of the entire week building up.

Sitting up with her bear still in her arms, Ginny looked around her old bedroom. It was as if time had stopped in here. Although she had lived here up until just a few years ago – the room had stopped evolving when she had graduated Hogwarts. The old wallpaper was starting to peel and had faded to a white-yellow and the pink flowers on it were nearing translucency, but when she closed her eyes, she could see the wallpaper as it had been on the first day it had been put up. She smiled at the memory, she had wanted quidditch wallpaper so badly but Molly had insisted that she needed some “feminine” touches in her room and the yellow and pink flowered wallpaper was the first step. The Weasley boys had teased her for weeks on end once it had been hung, and Ginny would pout and tell them she was going to draw snitches, quaffles and bludgers on it because she was no girl. But when she went into her room every night she secretly admitted she liked her mother’s choice in wallpaper.

There were posters hung on the walls from the summer of Ginny’s teen years. The Weird Sisters took up one narrow wall and on another there was a poster of the Cannons that Ron had given her when he finally had run out of room on his walls for Cannons paraphernalia. The wall where her bed was nestled against was covered in photos from her Hogwarts years. Only a few existed from her first year but as the years progressed more and more were added. The very last photos on the wall were from her Hogwarts graduation.

Molly and Arthur had made such a big deal that day. Her father had strutted around the grounds of the school, prouder than a peacock, boasting how his daughter was the last of an era. Molly alternate between crying and fussing over Ginny’s graduation robes. Ginny had spent the entire day in a state of embarrassment over her parents because of the attention they were giving her. The entire family had come out for the occasion of her leaving Hogwarts and was shown by the photos on her walls. There was the entire Weasley clan posing on the lawn in front of the main doors of Hogwarts, one of just her and her parents. Hermione, Ron and Harry joined her in the next one and then just her and her brothers in the other.

In the final picture Harry and Ginny stood together. He had been so proud of her that day and she could tell by the smile he wore in the picture as she looked at it now. Although Voldemort had been defeated for nearly a year, Ginny could see the shadows under his eyes from not sleeping at night. But they had been really happy then. In the present, her fingers ran over the photo tracing Harry’s face gently.

Feeling the sudden need to be near Harry, Ginny went over to her closet and opened it. Kneeling to the floor, she threw open her old Hogwarts trunk and started to root around inside. She pushed aside her old, battered books, which were all hand-me-downs from her brothers or from the used pile at Flourish and Blotts. Old robes were piled underneath, along with numerous Gryffindor scarves. Worn down quills and crumpled bits of parchment were scattered in her trunk and Ginny chuckled as she thought of what Hermione’s reaction would be if she seen the mess.

She plunged her hand down deep into the trunk and felt around until her fingers brushed against something soft. Tugging gently, she pulled out a faded scarlet t-shirt with scrolled gold lettering proclaiming this player was property of the Gryffindor quidditch locker room. Ginny set it aside and reached back into the trunk and pulled out a pair of matching shorts and old socks covered in broomsticks.

Closing her trunk and she returned to her bed with her findings. Lifting up the shirt, she held it close to her nose and inhaled. It still smelled slightly like Harry, fresh air and broomstick polishing oil. The summer of her fifth year, when the trio had banished her from sitting with them while they discussed what she would eventually find out was their plans for their horcrux search; Ginny had snuck into Harry’s trunk. She had her suspicions that they weren’t going to return to Hogwarts, so she decided she was taking something to keep herself close to Harry. She had nicked his exercise outfit and hidden it in her trunk. Hermione had found out what she had taken but Ginny had sworn her friend to secrecy and when Harry had asked where his workout shorts had been, Ginny denied that they even existed. Harry had looked at her like she was barking mad and went to tell Ron his sister was crazy.

Ginny smiled at how simple life always was in those last days of summer. Wanting to feel the soft fabric against her skin, Ginny quickly changed and looked down at her outfit. There was a hole in the big toe of her left sock but still the broomsticks floated along happily. The shorts that had once fallen loosely off her hips, fit a bit snugger, and the shirt that had been baggy and roomy was a little tighter across her chest. Must be from having James, she thought, wrapping her arms around her mid-section. Feeling better in Harry’s clothes, Ginny left her room to find Molly and James.

As she walked in the hall outside her room, Ginny could hear Molly and James’ voices coming from the room at the bottom of the second floor landing. Going down, she found them both sitting on the bed while Molly toweled off James’ hair. She smiled as she watched Molly listen intently to James tell her about spending Friday with Mrs. Edgecombe.

Stepping in quietly, she knocked softly on the dresser to get their attention. James stopped in mid-sentence and turned to see who was there. His face lit in a smile and Ginny knew then their argument earlier was forgotten.

“Mummy!” He said, standing up on the bed and reaching for a hug from her.

Taking James in her arms, she took a deep breath and inhaled his just out of the bath scent. The simple, clean smell reminded Ginny of her own childhood. She wasn’t sure what sort of soaps Molly kept in the bath, but every one in the Weasley family had used the same soap growing up. One day Ginny had asked her mother what was in the soap that made the children smell so good, Molly just told her it wasn’t the soap Ginny smelled, but the child underneath.

“Hey Quidditch-Bug, you’re not pestering your Granmum are you?” She said, giving him a final squeeze and a kiss before letting him go and sitting on the bed.

James shook his head as Molly answered, “of course not Ginny-dear. James was telling me all about his week. We were just finishing the week.” She leaned over and smoothed down Ginny’s hair. “Feeling a bit better?” She asked.

Ginny nodded and fiddled with the hem of her t-shirt. “I’m sorry for being so cranky earlier.”

Molly tut-tutted her. “That’s fine dear; we all have a bad day and bad weeks. I’m going to go down to the kitchen and get a snack ready. I promised James some hot chocolate. Come down when you’re ready.” She said, leaning over to place a kiss on her daughter’s cheek before rising and leaving the room.

Ginny sat up against the headboard and patted the bed next to her. James took the invite and scrambled up into her arms once more. Feeling a comfort overtake her, Ginny relaxed and stroked her little boys back.

“Mummy? I’m sorry I was bad this afternoon. I just want to fly a broom.” He said quietly.

Ginny sighed deeply and gave him a little squeeze. “I know Quidditch-Bug, flying always looks like such fun doesn’t it? But you have to wait until you’re five. Maybe next year and I don’t recall stories of any of your uncles flying before they were five. You should ask Granmum. She’ll tell you.” Ginny looked down at him and tried to smooth down the jet black hair that was sticking up in all directions as it dried. “I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have lost my temper with you. I want you to remember that no matter how angry Mummy may seem, I’ll always love you no matter what.”

James nodded against her and she felt his fingers start to rub the fabric of her t-shirt. “Your shirt smells good.” He said, looking up at her.

“That’s because it’s Daddy’s.” Ginny said, chuckling when his eyes lit up at the thought of Harry.

“It’s Daddy’s? It’s old.” He said, looking at the lettering on the shirt. “What does it say?” He asked.

“Well I borrowed it from Daddy a long time ago when we were in school. I missed him a bit more than usual tonight so I wore it to remind me of him.” Ginny said, “It says Property of Gryffindor quidditch locker room. Remember how I told you Daddy played quidditch at Hogwarts?”

James nodded. “Uh-huh. He was the youngest seeker in a century!” He said excitedly, scrambling out of her arms and bouncing on his knees. “Daddy could find the snitch anywhere on the pitch couldn’t he?”

Ginny nodded, feeling his excitement. “You’re right. He was the youngest seeker. I remember he caught the snitch while he was being chased by a rogue bludger. The whole house cheered so loudly when it happened. It was quite the sight!”

“Mummy – when I go to Hogwarts I want to be a seeker!” He shouted, jumping up on the bed and throwing his stuffed snitch into the air. Catching it in his arms, he fell back onto the bed in a sitting position. Ginny laughed as he giggled.

“Well darling, I am sure you will play quidditch. You do come from a long line of quidditch stars after all!” She watched him squeeze his stuffed snitch tightly; his eyes tightly shut as he held it out and made it fly through the air in his small hands.

“Mummy?” He quietly asked as he opened his eyes and scrambled back into her arms.

“Yes James?” Ginny responded, looking down at him.

“Will Daddy be back soon? I miss him.” He said simply, a hint of sadness in his young voice.

“I know you miss him Quidditch-Bug.” Ginny sighed, letting the silence envelope them for a moment. “It feels like he’s been gone awhile doesn’t it?” She felt James nod in agreement into her shoulder. “He’ll be home soon.” Ginny gave him one final hug and set him beside her. “Hey - I think Granmum might have the hot chocolate ready by now. How about we go down to the kitchen and get some before bedtime? I bet if we look hard enough we can find some pumpkin pasties to go with it!” Ginny said, laughing as James shouted in agreement and bounded downstairs to the kitchen.

*~*

Molly sat in her favorite chair, her knitting needles clacking together as she finished a row on the bottom of a tiny sweater. The bright blue ball of yarn lay at her feet, unraveling itself as the progress continued. The sweater was for Bill’s little one, the first in a large group of jumpers that Molly would have to knit this year. The fire crackled in front of her had her hands flew along, and she paused for a moment as she heard soft footsteps behind her.

“Hello darling.” She said, looking up at her husband. Arthur leaned down and kissed her softly on the lips. “All finished outside then?”

Arthur nodded and took a seat in the comfy chair next to his wife. “Yes – I made great progress with this mirco-oven; I’ve discovered that placing metal inside causes a great deal of sparks!” He said excitedly, gesturing with his hands while Molly’s eyes widened in the fear that she may wake up in the morning and find her husband’s experiment shed destroyed by fire. “How is your knitting coming along?” He asked, pointing at the needles in her hand.

“Wonderfully - I do hope Bill’s little one enjoys her first jumper. It’s been far too long since I’ve had the opportunity to make one this tiny.” Molly said, setting her knitting down, where the needles continued on their work.

“Molly-dear, it wasn’t that long ago that little James was that tiny.” He said, looking at his wife. “Speaking of James, where has he and Ginny gotten to?”

Molly stopped to listen and could faintly hear her daughter and grandson upstairs, preparing for bed. “They’re upstairs getting ready for bed. I suggested they stay for the night.”

“Our Ginny looked tired today didn’t she?” Arthur asked, as he fiddled with a muggle plug and stared at the fire.

Molly leaned over and stilled her husband’s hand. “She had herself a bad week Arthur. But she’s young and she’ll bounce back. She’s been through a lot worse than this.”

He looked down at their two hands in his lap. Even after all the years of marriage, her touch caused a shiver to run up his spine. Arthur rubbed his thumb across the top of her hand and then pulled it up to his lips to kiss. “I know you’re right Molly, but I still worry. She is my little girl you know.”

Molly smiled at her husband and kissed him lightly. “I know darling, but out of all of our children, Ginny is the one we need to worry about the least. She’s always been the strongest.” She stood and gave him one last kiss. “I’m going to check on them before bed. I’ll meet you upstairs in a little bit?” She asked, playfulness dancing in her eyes.

Arthur chuckled deeply in his throat and pulled her down into another kiss, this one much more passionate. “That sounds perfect Molly-Wobbles just perfect.” He responded, as he breathlessly broke the kiss.

*~*

When Molly finally broke away from Arthur’s embrace, the house was silent. She climbed the stairs with a smile on her face to find her daughter and grandson. In the extra room on the second floor, she peeked in to find James tucked under his blankets, his stuffed snitch in the crook of his arm. Closing the door quietly, she made her way to the third floor landing to find her daughter.

Ginny was sitting cross-legged on the bed when Molly found her. She was still dressed in the scarlet gym clothes and was absently running her brush through her long hair. She looked up and caught sight of her mother. “Hi Mum.” She said, setting her brush down. “Dad finally let you go?” She giggled at the shocked expression on her face. “I went down to grab a glass of milk and seen the two of you. I hope that Harry and I are like that in our golden years.”

“Ginerva Weasley! I never!” Molly blustered, even as she turned a red the shade of Ginny’s t-shirt.

“Oh Mum! Really! I’m a grown woman! And I have a child. Haven’t you noticed? I’m quite aware of what you and Dad get up to when this house is empty!” Ginny laughed as her mother sat down next to her.

Molly picked up the hair brush Ginny had abandoned and ran it through her daughter’s hair. The brush glided through her red hair smoothly. “Remember how we used to do this when you were little?” She asked, thinking back to Ginny’s childhood. Every morning when Ginny was preparing for her day Molly would brush out her hair and pin it up. Then in the evening, they would carry out the ritual again after bath time to make sure it was tangle free. It was something that each of the females in the Weasley household looked forward. Something special that only Molly could share with Ginny.

Ginny nodded. “I sure do. I used to love when you brushed my hair. Mostly at night though. I always thought that in the mornings, one of the boys would find us and tease me mercilessly.”

Molly chuckled at Ginny’s statement as she set the brush down and start to separate her daughter’s hair for braids. “I missed this so much once you went off to Hogwarts.” She said quietly, her daughter’s hair slipping through her fingers and into place. The two women sat silently as Molly finished. When she was done, she pulled Ginny back into her embrace.

“Mummy?” Ginny said in a quiet voice.

“Yes Ginny-dear?” Molly said, her hand stroking Ginny’s forehead in the same manner that she used to when Ginny was younger.

“Do you think Harry will be home soon? I just wish he was here right now.” She said, taking comfort in her Mum’s cool hand on her cheek.

“Ginny dear, Harry will come home as soon as he can. I know he will. The two of you have been through so much already. The two of you remind me a lot of myself and your father when we were younger. You have the same type of love that we share. He’ll come home for you, have no worry about that.”

Her mother’s words brought ease to Ginny’s mind. “Thanks Mum.” She said, turning in her mother’s arms to kiss her cheek. She pulled out of the embrace and stood up. “I think it’s time for me to head to bed. James won’t sleep in.” She pulled Molly off the bed and into a hug. “Goodnight Mum.”

Molly returned the hug, her chin just tucked under Ginny’s. Her daughter had always been just slightly taller than her. “Goodnight Ginny-dear.”

A/N: I know, I know! No Harry action in this chapter. I had intended to add some in, but I felt that this was the natural end. I promise he'll be in the next one! :)

Chapter 24: To sleep perchance to dream
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry sat at his desk, going over the final reports from Aaron. The stage was set and it was time for the aurors to move in and capture the deatheaters nest. According to page 12, there was only eight deatheaters living in the mountains. Although when you counted Malfoy, who was still secured in his cell in the basement, there were nine from this nest.

The team was to leave at six in the morning. The rest of the group was downstairs, going over their own final details and getting their personal effects in order in the instance that they didn’t return to their families after this. Harry had left them, preferring to be alone. It was a ritual he had established with Tonks during the war. While the other aurors preferred staying together in a group and indulging in firewhiskey – he and Tonks had retired early to go over the details of the upcoming objectives and gather their thoughts.

Tonight his mind was solely on Ginny and James. In a short time he would be home with them and he wasn’t going to let anything delay it from happening. Harry sighed as he rolled up the parchments in front of him. The plan was foolproof, the team had reviewed it over and over again, going through each aspect and what role everyone would play.

Finally tired of reading the scrolls of parchment on the desk in front of him, Harry picked up his wand that lay beside them and with a flick of his wrist – the parchment rolled up and stacked itself in a neat pile in the top right hand corner of his desk. He then left his desk and moved over to the door, cracking it open slightly. Hearing noises coming from downstairs confirmed his suspicions that the rest of the team was still awake. Checking his watch he made note of the time and hoped they would head to bed soon. If they weren’t well rested, someone could run the risk of being hurt when they moved out and into action in the morning. Having already warned them that they should turn in early – Harry knew that now he could only worry about himself. So he closed his door over once again and placed a locking and silencing charm on it.

He quickly changed from his robes and into more comfortable attire for sleeping. He smiled wryly as he though of the mission he had last been on during the war. He and Tonks had slept outdoors under the stars for 12 days straight during the rainy season in Germany. At the time Harry had thought he would never be dry again and now here he was in the thick of a mission all the while living in a four story house while he and his tea prepared to take action on the nest of Death Eaters.

Tonks would love this, Harry thought as he lay back on his narrow, but slightly more comfortable than the ground - bed. As he set a waking charm and extinguished the lamp by the bed, his thoughts wandered to Tonks and how she must be. He recalled that before he left Ginny had said that the trial for a potential cure was to start. Harry hoped that it had and that the results would be positive ones for his partner and friend. In Harry’s mind if anyone deserved a happily ever after it was Nymphadora Tonks and her werewolf, Lupin.

Harry smiled to himself in the dark. Happily ever after seemed to be a term generally reserved for fairy tales and the muggle romance novels he occasionally caught in Ginny’s hands. His mind stopped as a picture was conjured in his mind of Ginny curled up in an overstuffed chair in the Burrow. Harry remembered how she blushed whenever she got caught reading one of those novels. The first time he had found her – her cheeks had turned as red as her hair and she had pleaded with him to keep his mouth shut and not tell her brothers. Oh how he had tortured her at first! Harry loved teasing Ginny and had kept her going for a good long while until one day she had come across Harry up in Ron’s room looking at a copy of a “girly magazine” that the twins had given him. After that, a truce had been struck. Harry wouldn’t tell the Weasley boys about her guilty little pleasure of reading muggle romance novels and Ginny promised not to tell Molly that Harry and her sons were looking at Muggle men’s magazines. Although after being caught by Ginny – Harry had been too afraid someone else would catch him so he gave the magazine back to the twins, thanking them for their generosity but that he had changed his mind.

As he smiled at the memory, Harry’s mind drifted from that seemingly long ago summer at the Burrow and a Ginny of the past to a Ginny of the present. When he had returned from the war – Harry realized that she had grown up so much. She was still his Ginny, but now she was so much more than just that. Much of the sweet innocence that he loved so much was gone, but it was replaced with a passion and maturity that he knew she probably wouldn’t have achieved had Harry not left – he was sure she would have grown up, they both would have eventually but they’d have been rather different than the adults they were now. She was a mother that loved her son with fierceness and caring he had only ever witnessed in her mother. She was a healer that cared for her patients much more than she should. It amazed Harry at how so much came in such a small package and to top it off, she still loved him - despite the fact that he had left her behind twice before and despite his scars, both inside and out. So with his mind still fixed on Ginny, Harry fell into a deep sleep.

*~*

A pair of bright, green eyes flew open in the dark and Harry knew instantly he wasn’t in Yekaterinburg. He also knew he was deep inside of a dream. He knew it was a dream because the bed he lay on wasn’t the tiny bed at the top of the team’s house but a chair that faced a sleeping Ginny. Harry also knew that this wasn’t a dream involving the past because his sleeping Ginny had a sleeping James tucked in beside her and the hand that rested on his back wore the ring he had given her just three months earlier. As he sat there, he surmised that their thoughts must have crossed during sleep. Harry remembered that he had forgotten to do his occlumency exercises before he fell into sleep and his mind had been full with thoughts of Ginny.

He watched as her sleeping form moved slightly from the deep breathing that comes with deep sleep. As he was about to force himself to wake up, Ginny’s dark brown eyes flew open and locked onto his immediately.

“Harry?” She whispered softly, looking at him as he sat on the blue chair in the corner of the room. “Are you back?” She asked her sleepy voice full of hope.

He shook his head and smiled slightly at her pout. “No,” he whispered in return. “Somehow our thoughts have crossed. Hermione once told me about it happening but obviously this is the first time I’ve ever experienced it.”

Ginny quietly got out of the bed – careful not to wake James who had snuck into her bed earlier that night; and crossed to where Harry was sitting. “So this is a dream?” She said, looking down at him and wondering if he was actually there.

“I believe it is Gin. Were you thinking of me before you fell asleep?” He asked, chuckling quietly when she crossed her arms and looked at him silently asking him if he really wanted to ask such a silly question. “Alright, so you were thinking of me. Want to tell me about it? Were you remembering the time we snuck – “

“Harry!” Ginny whispered loudly, cutting him off and blushing as she looked over to see if she had woken James.

“Don’t worry Ginny. From what I’ve read we can’t wake him. Only those that crossed thoughts are aware of what’s going on.” He said as he reached out to grab her hand, his fingers threading with hers as he pulled her down onto the chair with him.

“Are you sure?” She asked doubtfully, glancing back once more to where their son lay peacefully asleep on the bed.

“Positive.” Harry responded as he snuggled into her neck. He inhaled deeply and let her distinct Ginny scent invade his senses, as his arms snaked around her waist. “You smell good.” He said simply before he let his lips find the sensitive skin just below her ear.

Ginny sighed as his lips roamed along her neck and his hair tickled her cheek as it brushed against it. “I am missing you so much Harry – James as well. And so much has happened since you left.” She whispered breathlessly as his hand slipped under the hem of her shirt.

Harry cut her sentence short with a kiss. “Shhhh. Gin, as much as I’d love for you to tell me everything; you can’t tell me right now. At least nothing that’s been happening. The team is heading out tomorrow and I can’t have new thoughts floating about in my head.”

She pulled slightly and looked into his face. The green eyes she loved so much looked tired and his face showed the stress that he was feeling. She leaned down and kissed him once more. “Alright, if that’s what you think is best. I’ll save all my news for when you really come home. But I warn you – I have a lot to say!” She said smiling as a small smile turned his mouth up.

“I can believe you do. We shall book an entire night just for you to tell me everything.” He teased, laughing quietly when she poked him in the ribs.

“Hey! I’m not that bad – am I?” She asked a pout on her pretty face.

“Well not as bad as well –“

Ginny laughed as she pressed her fingers onto his lips and made him quiet. “Don’t finish it.” She said before she replaced her fingers with her lips and kissed him deeply.

A tremor of longing shot through Harry’s body as he buried his hands in her thick red hair. They kissed silently and let their hands roam over each other in the dark for several minutes like two teenagers. Then with just as much suddenness, Ginny pulled away, causing him to groan in frustration. This dream had to be half real because in the few dreams he allowed himself to have, his dream Ginny never pulled away from him. As he sat there holding her, Harry looked at her with question in his eyes. She just smiled and ran her hand down the side of his beard-roughened cheek.

“You need to shave.” She said absently as her eyes once more roamed over his face.

Harry turned his face and pressed a kiss into her palm. “I never shave before we head off into the field – I look more dangerous this way.” He said, as he ran his hand up underneath the back of her night-shirt before leaning in for a kiss. She instantly pulled back. “Aww – Gin.” He pleaded.

“Harry – I know this is a ‘dream’, but we’re snogging while James is in the room.”

This elicited a groan from him as he laid his forehead against hers. “What if I promise that James is just a part of the dream and he won’t ever be scarred emotionally from it? The real James is fast asleep and totally oblivious in your real bed.”

“I know. But still Harry – we can’t snog like this in front of our son. Even if he is part of the dream and won’t wake up.” She giggled as his shoulders slumped slightly as he conceded to her reasoning.

“You’re right. We better not.” He agreed, pulling Ginny close and settling her in his arms. Looking about the dark room, Harry felt a twinge of deep longing in his chest, and he felt just how badly he wanted to be back with the two of them so badly. “You know, this rather reminds me of when we used to spend time in the common room and the Burrow. We were both so afraid we’d be caught mid-snog by Ron or even worse – your Mum – so we’d do nothing but cuddle.” He whispered in her ear, causing a shiver to run up Ginny’s spine.

“Well can you blame me? Ron would have made a scene in front of everyone. Despite the fact that he used to go around attached to Lavender at the lips. Thank goodness that Hermione never let him show his affections so freely with her! You know – he may have given us his blessing back then, but I had heard him tell Neville once that if he ever caught us snogging like he and Lav-Lav did, he was going to hex you ten-fold.” She laughed at the memory and as she felt a rumble of laughter in Harry’s chest she knew he remembered it as well. “And I can’t imagine what Mum would have done. Blame me for corrupting you I suppose.” She stated as she laced the fingers of her free hand with his and snuggled closer. “Will you be safe tomorrow?” She then asked so softly that Harry nearly missed what she had said.

Feeling a bit of sadness enter his heart, Harry squeezed her tight. “I’m always safe.” He answered as he looked at her in the faint light of the room. Her soft red hair fell around the face he loved. A face that was now serious and faintly worried. “I’m coming home soon. I can promise you that.” Harry held her for a little while longer but when she began to yawn, he knew it was almost time for their joined dream to be over. “I think it’s time for us to go back.” He whispered before kissing her softly.

“But I don’t want you to go.” Ginny said quietly, her small, strong arms still wrapped tightly around him.

“I know Ginny, I would stay here with you forever if we could – but the quicker we wake up, the quicker I can get through this mission and come home to you and James.”

Ginny nodded and kissed him again. “I love you Harry.” She whispered against his lips, pressing them against his once more.

“I love you too Gin.” He responded as she left his arms and went back to her bed. She quietly climbed back into bed, laying back on the pillows and pulling the quilt back over her, keeping her eyes locked with his the entire time. When she finally surrendered back to the sleep that had brought them together, Harry watched her for a moment in silence. As his own eyes finally grew heavy again and he drifted to sleep, he thought to himself – was that my old quidditch shirt?

A/N: Well this was a bit shorter than the few previous chapters - but I was just so excited to get it online - I thought it had to be posted on it's own. The rest of Harry's mission can wait for the next chapter. I hope everyone enjoyed!

Chapter 25: Battles
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

There were multiple quiet popping sounds in the clearing as Harry’s team of aurors apparated in. Each one was dressed in robes made of dragon-hide. He hated wearing them, finding them stiff and unyielding, but this was counterbalanced by the fact that the robes repelled most spells, charms and hexes – with the exception of the unforgivables – cruciatus, imperius and avada kedavra. Because the positives of the dragon hide outweighed the negatives, the robes his team wore were the official battle uniforms for all aurors working for Britain’s ministry of magic.

Harry waited silently for the group to gather around him in a loose circle. The sun was beginning to rise behind the grey clouds that filled the sky, creating a haze over the clearing. When everyone was accounted for, he looked over the group. The lot of them looked exhausted and after a quick chat with Yuri over breakfast, he knew that most of them had been up too late and had drank too much.

He couldn’t fault them; he knew what thoughts had to be running through their heads. There were two main groups of aurors, those with no families to speak of; they had joined for the adventures that being an auror offered; while those with families joined to support them, a means to an end. Each group was fatalistic – the adventure seekers saw each mission as a potential end – so they enjoyed as much as they could. The family men knew if they didn’t go back their wives and children would be well taken care of. The Ministry had an excellent benefit program for survivors.

Harry didn’t feel as he fit into either category. He didn’t stay on as an auror for the adventure, he had had enough of that in his young life and he didn’t do it to provide for his family. Merlin knew he had enough gold, between the money left to him by his parents and by Sirius, and the portion of the joke shop earnings that the twins insisted on giving him; it was possible for Harry to live comfortably for the rest of his life. He stayed in the auror program out of a sense of duty, and unfinished business.

For the longest time he had been unsure of what that business had been but the day he and Ariadne had captured Malfoy on the mountain pass, Harry had known he was coming full circle. Once this nest of the death eaters was dismantled and Draco Malfoy was in Azkaban – Harry’s journey as an auror would be over. It was now time to get through the day.

“Hello folks.” He said once a silencing charm was placed around the group. “It’s time for us to finish this mission. We all know what needs to be done. There’s 10 of them inside, 11 when you count Aaron O’Connor disguised as Malfoy. He’s going to meet us at the mouth of the cave and disarm the spells around the entrance to allow us in. Once inside, we must pretend that he actually is Draco Malfoy. We’ll be under that those inside know me and my history with their leader; which means I’ll lead the charge to capture O’Connor.” He looked to each of member of his team to see them nodding in agreement and continued.

“I want all of you to head in there and take as many prisoners as possible. There is to be no killing unless there is no other choice.” He began to pair off those that surrounded him. When he got to Calileigh he noticed her complexion looked rather green. “Are you alright Calileigh?”

The blonde witch looked up suddenly and nodded. “Yes – I suspect it’s just a case of nerves,” she responded, trying to seem nonchalant but he could see that it was more than simple nerves.

Pairing off the final few aurors, he dismissed them from the circle and told them to prepare their final strategies. Gesturing towards a pile of boulders, he guided her over to them. It was nearing the rendezvous time and he knew had to get her under control quickly. Sitting down beside her, Harry looked at the rest of his team. They had gathered with their respective partners and were finalizing plans. “Is this your first time on the front lines?” He asked.

Ariadne paused for a moment before she spoke. “Yes.” She admitted quietly.

Harry made mental note to speak with Lupin and moody about their choice of a partner for him upon their return to Britain, but at the moment he knew he had to bolster her confidence and get her through today.

“Right then. Well you must remember that you are good at what you do. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. Every one of us had a first time at this – and we were all nervous when it happened.” Harry chuckled at the look she gave him.

“But you’re the boy – “ she began.

“Who lived.“ He finished for her. “And I was much more nervous than you are right now when I went through my first real battle. Just try to remember to keep a clear head and stay swift on your feet. A spell can’t hit what’s constantly moving.” He said as he looked at her to see if his words had any effect. Pleased that they appeared to have, he rose to his feet. “Right – let’s get this finished shall we?”

Ariadne nodded and rose to stand beside her leader. “Thank you Harry.” She said as they walked over to join the group.

*~*

A red stream of light shot past Harry, narrowly missing his shoulder. As the auror team had stormed the cave – all hell had broken loose. The death eaters had immediately started slinging curses at those advancing upon them. Although O’Connor had kept them well informed, he had not had a chance to map out the network of tunnels in the cave.

The death eaters quickly retreated back as the aurors pushed on, ultimately breaking the larger group into smaller ones, which meant that as the battle ensued, Harry was losing track of his team. Feeling confident in their abilities he grabbed Calileigh by the sleeve of her robe and pulled her after O’Connor. It was time to capture their Draco Malfoy. He hurried along the stone wall, his wand at the ready.

As Harry easily deflected the spells O’Connor threw at the pair to allow them to follow, he watched as he slipped into an entryway with a death eater just ahead and to the left of the damp, stone corridor. Slowing down, Harry inched towards the entryway. At the mouth of the cave, he could hear an out of breath death eater as he spoke to O’Connor.

“Why didn’t you kill them Malfoy? You told me that the next time you seen the great Harry Potter you were going to shoot the killing curse at him.” The strange voice hissed.

“I want him trapped first. Potter and I have a history.” Harry heard O’Connor say. He let go of the breath he was holding and chose that moment to reveal himself. With Calileigh close behind him, he turned the corner.

“Drop your wands.” He said as he looked at O’Connor and then at the ragged looking death eater to the left of his disguised colleague. The stranger had a glint of madness in his eyes; it was a look he had seen many times. During the war a large group of the death eaters he and Tonks had captured were half-mad from living in the caves and hidey-holes. This made them a volatile foe to deal with.

The wizard in front of him was no different. It was obvious to Harry that Malfoy and his small group of followers had spent a long period of time in seclusion. Like Malfoy – this man’s robes were full of holds and tears; his hair was long, dirty and full of mats and tangles. He was in much worse shape than Malfoy had been when he had been captured. Even from the distance he and Calileigh were at Harry could smell the firewhiskey seeping from this strange man’s pores. Harry never quite understood why most death eaters allowed themselves to deteriorate to the way they did. While on the front during the war, the soldiers at the front used cleaning charms and freshening spells to keep themselves clean.

Focusing on the pair in front of him, he once again issued his command. “Drop your wands.” Harry said loudly as his voice echoed against the damp rock of the cave.

“Give it up Potter.” Malfoy/O’Connor sneered. “You and I both know that I’ll be the one walking away from here while you’re on the ground wishing you hadn’t even found us.”

“The two of you have to the count of five to drop those wands.” Harry repeated for the third wand as he kept his wand trained on the death eater and glanced to the left of him to see that Calileigh was beside him, her wand at the ready. Her hand shook slightly under the gaze of the mad-man in front of her.

“Let’s get this done Malfoy. That pretty little witch will be fun to play with.” He said, his eyes raking over Calileigh.

Harry raised his wand higher. It was time to end this stand off. In the distance he could hear intermittent shouts coming from different sections of the cave. As he began to count down to his ultimatum before he threw the first curse, he noticed a flicker of moment on O’Connor.

He hadn’t noticed before but his colleague’s appearance was changing as the poly-juice potion began to wear off and neither had O’Connor. The long, white blonde of his hair was shortening and changing to the darker blonde it was supposed to be. The changes were small but as Harry searched for a way to alert his team member of what was happening, the strange death eater took notice. Changing his focus, he roared “Trickery!” and concentrated his wand on Aaron O’Connor.

As quickly as the death eater shouted Avada Kedavra, Harry pointed his wand at his newest foe and shouted a disarming spell. His wand shot out a stream of red light at the same time the enemy’s wand shot out a steam of green the curse found its target just before the wand that shot it flew into the air.

O’Connor fell through the air and his appearance fully reverted to its original state. Harry shouted to Calileigh to protect the entrance as he sent a binding charm at the now wandless foe in front of him. As he stunned him, Harry kicked the wand across the cave and turned to look down at his friend. His face was void of expression, his eyes no longer containing the spark of life.

The wave of sadness that hit him in the same way it always hit him when he witnessed a death by the killing curse. From Cedric Diggory, to Dumbledore to O’Connor and all those in between, Harry always felt the emotions run through him. When he was younger he wasn’t able to control his emotions and they burst through. Now, after so many years of war, he was able to keep himself in check, for he knew he would mourn his friend later. Now, the sadness turned to anger and his attention immediately focused back on the death eater that lay bound on the cave’s floor.

“What is your name?” He asked his question void of any sort of emotion. When the ragged man stayed silent, he nudged him with the toe of his boot. “I asked you a question and I expect an answer.” He said as he leveled his wand between the man’s brow. “The man you killed just now had a family. They deserve to know the name of the bastard that killed him.”

He stood above him and waited for what seemed to be an eternity. Behind him, he heard Yuri approach the mouth of the cave, ready to give his report and yet he still waited, feeling sadness and anger course through him. Turning only once, he ordered Yuri to send all the aurors back to the headquarters with their prisoners and for Calileigh to wait with him.

Finally, the death eater spoke in a low voice. “Samuel Beck” At those words, Harry nodded and gestured for Calileigh to come forward.

“Auror Calileigh, please place this wizard under arrest for being a death eater and for the murder of Aaron O’Connor. We’re finished here.” Finished, Harry lowered his wand and allowed Calileigh to take over.

*~*

Harry apparated back to headquarters last, taking O’Connor’s body to the make-shift morgue in the basement, he left it there with the others. In addition to O’Connor, three others on Harry’s auror team and 4 death eaters had died during the battle. He left quickly, pausing only to give instructions to the medi-witch to prepare the bodies for transport home.

As he trudged up the stairs, he could hear his team members going over the details of the battle as they prepared their reports. Weariness settled on his shoulders as he entered his room. Giving the parchment covered desk a glance, Harry opted for his bed. He lay back and stared at the ceiling. Yuri was contacting Moody and Lupin and they were not going to be pleased with the turn of events. When the team had headed out, it was strictly an observation mission. No battles or storming of the nest was to take place, but the moment he had captured Draco Malfoy, an executive decision was made and Harry changed the course of the mission. He knew he was going to have to explain himself to them and he hoped they were going to be able to see his reasoning.

As he lay there letting his brain process what he was going to tell Moody and Lupin, Harry realized that he was still wearing his heavy dragon-hide robes. He rose to take it off and empty his pockets. Various small vials were in one pocket, healing potions he carried with him to help the healers in the field when he could.

In the last pocket he pulled out two wands. One was his – a battered wand made of holly which contained a feather from Fawkes and the other was O’Connor’s – it was made of birch and although he was unaware of the core, it was lightweight and Harry suspected it had to contain unicorn hair or something to that effect. He gripped both tightly in his hand as a new wave of sadness washed over him. Whenever possible, the wand of an auror killed on a mission was given to his family. Moody and Lupin would take care of notifying the family but Harry felt that he should write a letter to his comrade’s family. Sitting down at his desk, he set the wands down and unrolled a piece of parchment.

As he dipped the quill in the ink pot, Harry reflected on the wizard he knew and tried think about how he would remember Aaron O’Connor. Aaron had been the son of a muggle family and out of his four brothers to become a wizard. He was still single, and to Harry’s knowledge had no girlfriend to speak of. So Harry addressed his letter to his parents.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. O’Connor,

I write this letter to you with a heavy heart. As you know by now, your son Aaron has died while on a mission. I want you to know that while Aaron served under my watch he was nothing but professional and died valiantly. I had a chance to know Aaron and you raised him well and should be proud to have had such a fine son. He was honourable and kind to all that he knew. He faced his challenges bravely and even in death he will be remembered for the good he did to help the wizarding world overcome the evil it has had to face. I shall remember your son not as he died but as he lived.

Sincerely,

Harry James Potter.


As he looked up from the parchment, Harry felt his eyes grow damp. Since the war began he had written many letters like this to families of his colleagues and they never got any easier. Looking at the wands as they lay on his desk he let the tears roll down his cheeks. Harry could imagine the pain and anguish O’Connor’s family was going to have to experience once Moody and Lupin left them to their grief and Harry knew he never wanted Ginny to experience that sort of emotional pain. It was time to step down as an auror. He grabbed another piece of parchment and began to write his letter of resignation.

*~*

Ginny’s evening at St. Mungo’s had started out on a bright note and she hoped that it would carry on throughout her shift. When she had arrived some of the female healers and medi-witches that she worked closely with had thrown her a shower to celebrate her upcoming wedding – even though no one had any clue when it was going to be – including Ginny. She had received a wide spectrum of gifts from the tame to the cheeky sort. As she had opened the more racy gifts her face had flamed pink under her freckles as she stammered thank you. She supposed that Harry would enjoy some of the gifts the younger women had given her, they had gone on and on about how lucky Ginny was to be marrying such a handsome man and how happy he’d be when she wore some of the nighties they have given her.

She now stood in the empty break room and when she stared at the pile of gifts on the table, her face flamed in embarrassment once more. Placing a shrinking charm on them, she placed the little package in her locker. I must remember to hide these when I get home, she thought to herself. Most of them were not for little eyes and she would never live down the embarrassment if her Mum found them while on a cleaning excursion. After she placed the charm on her locker, she headed off to get her shift underway.

Ginny entered Tonks’ room to find only her patient inside. Tonks lay on her side staring at the wall. Just as she was about to close the door to get the examination underway, an orderly tapped on the door.

“Healer Weasley?” He said.

“Yes?” She replied as she wondered where Tonks’ constant visitor has disappeared to.

“I have a message from a Mr. Lupin.” The orderly thrust a piece of parchment in her hand. Ginny thanked the young wizard and as he left closed the door behind him. She then opened the note that was left for her.

Ginny –

I’m sorry I had to leave before your visit to Nymphadora today. Last evening, Alastor heard from Harry’s team. Please do not worry; it wasn’t by the method I had told you about before. Things appear to be fine. I hope to be back soon. In the meantime, please take good care of my dear.

Remus


As her eyes read the neatly written words, her heart leapt in her chest. They had heard from Harry! She thought as she clutched the parchment in happiness. Things had progressed from being a good day to being even better. She slipped the note into the pocket of her robes and smiled as she walked to Tonks’ bedside.

“Good afternoon.” She said, the happiness shining through in her voice.

Tonks rolled over and looked at her healer. “Wotcher Healer Weasley.” She said quietly. Although she was still not her normal self, her condition had progressed to a better state. She no longer screamed when a familiar face approached her beside and had ventured outside for a small walk in the rooftop garden in St. Mungo’s. She still didn’t remember a lot of her old life but she was getting better and Ginny was happy with the progress she was making.

Ginny picked up Tonks’ chart and reviewed the notes left from the healer that had done the morning rounds. Happy that things were still getting better at a steady rate, Ginny looked at the ceiling. Today it was a light grey and in a few spots the clouds seemed to be thinning and blue sky was peeking through. Ginny noted this change, marking it as the third time in a week that the ceiling had shown touches of blue.

“How are things today?” She asked as she began her routine examination of her patient.

Tonks let out a large sigh and looked up at Ginny. “It’s been fine I suppose. When I woke up this afternoon Mr. Lupin wasn’t here.” Her lip trembled slightly as she spoke. “He hasn’t left me has he? He’s always here when I wake up from my nap.”

Ginny smiled at her friend. Since Tonks had once again become coherent, she had taken to calling Remus, Mr. Lupin. She could tell Tonks knew he was something more, it was in her eyes when she said his name, but she just didn’t know what it was.

Reaching behind Tonks, she fluffed the pillow to make her more comfortable while she administered the elixir. “Your Mr. Lupin will be back soon. He left a note with me to say he had to take care of some issues at work.” She responded as she pulled out a vial containing the elixir from the pocket of her robes. Uncorking it, she held it up for Tonks to take. “Now it’s time for your elixir.”

A look of disgust passed over the witches faces as she took the vial from Ginny’s hand. “This is vile you know.” She said before tipping it down her throat. As she gagged at the taste Ginny watched as a faint black mist gathered over her head before dissipating. Each time Tonks took the elixir the mist was growing finer and the amount leaving her brain was smaller. Her brain was healing.

“I know it’s nasty, but if the results keep improving at the rate they are, you won’t need to take it much longer. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?” Ginny said, setting the chart down at the foot of Tonks’ bed.

The older witch smiled at her healer’s enthusiasm. Tonks knew that at one point the two of them had been friends. Mr. Lupin had told her so and she felt a familiarity with the girl. She watched as Ginny sat down next to her bedside. Today her healer had a glow to her, she looked more happy than usual.

“You seem quite happy today.” She said as she sat up higher in her bed.

Ginny smiled widely at Tonks. “I am very happy today. I just had some wonderful news delivered to me as I was coming into your room.” She looked at her patient sitting in her bed and contemplated telling her the news.

Tonks began to feed off of Ginny’s excitement. She leaned in closer from her bed and Ginny could see a faint twinkle in her eyes. The old Tonks is in there. She thought. She wants to come out.

“So what is the news? I bet it has to do with that flashy little ring you’re wearing.” She said, pointing down at Ginny’s finger.

Ginny felt her cheeks turn pink and she twirled the ring around on her finger. She nodded as she looked down on it. “Has Rem- I mean has Mr. Lupin mentioned the name Harry Potter to you at all?” She asked, looking at Tonks’ eyes for a hint of recognition.

“I think so – he was my partner when I was injured?” Tonks replied hesitantly. The name was vaguely familiar to her and in the back of her mind an image of a brother-like man leapt to the forefront. She had been good friends with this Harry Potter. When Ginny nodded, she smiled. “So you’ll be marrying him then?”

The smile Ginny gave answered the question even before the words were out of her mouth. “Yes I am. He’s been away for the past four months but that is where Mr. Lupin is. Harry’s coming home!” As the words tumbled forth from Ginny’s mouth, they became even more real to her.

*~*

Harry sat in the front room of the Yekaterinburg headquarters with the newest arrivals to the city – Mad-Eye Moody and Remus Lupin. Both aurors had apparated in the afternoon the day after receiving the note from Yuri. He could see that they were quite tired from their journey but he knew he had to explain to them the change of events before they settled in for the night.

The room was still as he attempted to gather his thoughts. He first looked at Lupin, who wore a calm but questioning look and then to Moody, who wore a look of restraint. Harry knew his superiors were torn between wanting to know where Draco Malfoy was being kept and tearing a strip off of Harry for disobeying clear orders.

“I know you’re both anxious to know what happened.” He began.

“You’re damn right we want to know what went on Potter! You disobeyed direct orders!” Moody interjected, unable to keep his voice silent any longer. Angry now, he rose and began to pace, his fake leg thumping against the scarred wooden floor.

“If you’d let me finish my sentences, you’d know why!” Harry yelled in response as his own temper rose and he jumped to his feet.

“You may be Harry-sodding-Potter but you still answer to me!” Moody continued, pointing his finger at Harry as his enchanted eye spun around in its’ socket.

Ever the voice of reason Remus stood between the two. “Gentlemen – can we allow calmness to prevail? Harry, you disobeyed a direct order and there may have to be repercussions. Alastor, Harry needs to explain himself before we get too carried away.” He pointed to two of the vacant chairs in the room and ordered them to sit. “Now, we’ll hear from Harry first. He seems to have something he needs to tell us.”

Harry sat forward in his chair, suddenly nervous about what he had to tell his mentors and friends. He quietly reached into his robes and pulled out five envelopes. One was addressed to Lupin and Moody; the others were for the families of his team-mates that had been killed in battle. Setting his resignation letter face down on the table beside him and handed Lupin the others.

“These are letters of condolence for the families of my team members that were killed in action.” He paused for a moment as emotion filled his throat, reaching in another pocket of his black robes, he pulled out four wands. As he was about to continue, Moody began to mumble. “Excuse me Mad-Eye, what was that?” He asked.

“I said there’d be no letters needed if you’d have followed orders!” The older man yelled.

“Mad-Eye please!” Harry shouted in return. “You of all people have no right to talk about the rules. You taught me to follow my instincts and my instincts were to act! If I may continue - if those letters could be delivered with their wands I would appreciate it; I couldn’t save them, but I can choose to remember them.”

He handed the wands over. “Before I explain the capture of Malfoy and our charging of the death eaters’ nest, I need to give the two of you this letter.” Picking it up from the side table, he handed it to Remus. When the two men looked at him curiously he continued.

“I want you both to know I’ve been contemplating this decision since the war ended. When I had to come back here after the battle and saw my wand lying with Aaron’s on my desk I knew that I could never let Ginny and James experience the same sort of pain that his family is going to have to go through. That is my letter of resignation. After this mission is complete I am retiring as an auror. I’ll stay on until Malfoy goes to court and is put in Azkaban. Once it happens, I’m finished. I’ve quit.”



Chapter 26: A Return
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“Are you sure Hermione?” Ginny asked as she looked around the pristine flat her brother and sister-in-law lived in. It was homey but overly clean, there was no dust to the naked eye, and Ginny sometimes suspected that Hermione had placed some sort of cleaning charm on all surfaces to make sure the dust was dissolved seconds after it landed. Ginny was a good housekeeper but nothing like Hermione, having a child had solved that. She looked down at James as he lay flat on his belly, his little legs kicking through the air as he quietly coloured his latest piece of art. Beside him lay his stuffed snitch and the piece of beach glass his father had given him before he had left. In the past few weeks, James wouldn’t stray too far without either in his possession.

Hermione tut-tutted at Ginny. “Don’t be silly Ginny. James and I are going to have a lovely night together!” She said while she waddled over to the couch. She had just reached the midway point of her pregnancy and the twins were growing larger every time Ginny saw her friend.

“He tends to make a mess Hermione – “ Ginny began as she sat down beside her.

“Nothing a simple cleaning spell can’t take care of!” She interrupted as she patted Ginny’s hand. “Besides, I have to get used to little ones running about. If Ron has any say, we’ll have a house full soon enough!” Hermione laughed as she picked up her cup of tea to take a drink.

“My brother wants a house full does he? He’s finally admitted he’s a Weasley after all!” Ginny commented as she mimicked Hermione’s actions and drank the tea in front of her. She watched James as he continued to colour. She let out a small squeak of alarm as his sock foot swung seriously close to Crookshanks head as he investigated his visitor. The old orange cat mewed at James to let him know he was there. Normally, the two got along, but Ginny could imagine that the cat didn’t enjoy having his space invaded by little feet.

“Well we’ll see how we handle these first two.” Hermione said, patting her rounded stomach. “I’ve read lots of books on what its’ like to raise twins as your firstborns.” She reached for a biscuit on the plate that was on the tea tray in front of them. “James, sweetheart, watch out for Crookshanks please. I think he’s trying to say hello to you.”

Ginny laughed as she watched Hermione polish off the cookie she held in her fingers and reach for another. Her fears of disaster slightly lowered, Hermione had picked up more of Molly Weasley than Ginny expected she knew and suddenly Ginny felt as if she was making a big issue about the sleepover. She admitted she wasn’t worried that Hermione would let him play with fire or knives - she worried the twins would do that if she ever gave in and let him stay with them. Hermione would take good care of him, but she was worried that James may destroy the place. The flat wasn’t exactly child-proof. But when Hermione had flooed earlier that afternoon and offered to take James for the night, it was too good to pass up.

“Ginny – he’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. We’ll both be fine.” Hermione said as she offered the plate of biscuits to Ginny, who declined. “James is going to keep me company while Ron is away at his Quidditch match. You deserve a night to yourself Gin. And some night I’ll gladly accept your offer to take my little ones – when they come.”

She smiled at her friend and looked about the room. It did appear that anything that was breakable could be repaired. “Ok. You’re right.” She conceded.

“I knew you’d finally see my point reasoning. Come now – I want to show you the baby’s room.” Hermione said as she pulled herself off the couch. “Merlin! I’ll be happy when these nine months are over. I’ve been researching the third trimester. You never told me half of the things that are going to happen!”

Ginny laughed as she threw a glance at James to make sure he was occupied before she followed her friend down the hallway. “Hermione if I had told you – you’d have never allowed Ron near you! Now I can be a horrid sister, but I’m not mean!”

The baby’s room was painted a soft yellow and enchanted teddy bears tumbled along the border that had been hung near the top of the ceiling. As Ginny’s eyes looked over the room she saw two of everything. Walking into the room itself, she ran a hand along the dark, rich wood of the first cradle. She smiled wistfully as she reminded herself that James had once been small enough to sleep in something so tiny.

“Aren’t they beautiful?” Hermione asked, breaking through the memory. “I always loved the cradle you had for James when he was born so I made Ronald find two that were quite similar.” She said as she waddled over to Ginny. “I can’t wait to take them home and put them down to sleep. Although for the first bit, they’ll sleep in one together.” She sat herself down in one of the rocking chairs before continuing. “I read it’s best to keep them close while they’re still newborns.”

Ginny chuckled at the enthusiasm in her friend’s voice. “This is perfect Hermione. You and Ron have done a perfect job with this room. I can’t think of one baby that wouldn’t be happy in here.”

*~*

Ginny unlocked the door to her flat and slipped inside. Setting the pair of muggle keys she sometimes used in the dish by the door, she went into the living room to see if any post owls had been by.

A small stack lay on the table, which she picked up and leafed through. The Daily Prophet was on top along with the latest edition of the Quibbler and a note from her mum reminding her not to be late for Saturday’s dinner. She set the mail back on the table and went into the kitchen to find a snack. Ginny opened the fridge to find unappealing leftovers on the shelf in front of her. She didn’t open the pantry, already knowing it was empty. I’ll have to pop out for take-away later; she thought as she turned off the light and left the kitchen.

Wandering about the flat she realized the house was too quiet without James. It had been quite a long time since Ginny was home alone unless it was after a night shift and he was staying at Mrs. Edgecombes. Turning on the wireless and moving the volume to high, she decided that a bath was in order.

Going into the bedroom, she noticed that Hedwig had left her perch atop the wardrobe to go on her nightly hunt. As she quickly changed out of her robes, Ginny shivered at the chill from the open window before she slipped into her comfy old bath robe.

In the bathroom, she set the tub to fill, pouring some lavender oil into the water and then turned to the mirror while steam filled the room. Pulling her hair into a loose knot on the top of her head, she leaned in close to examine her freckles. Satisfied that no new ones had appeared, she unknotted her robe and hung it on the silver hook on the back of the door. Just as she was about to dip her foot into the water, she heard a faint knock sound at the door.

“Bloody hell.” She cursed, turning off the water and reaching for her robe. “One second!” She shouted, hoping whoever was at her door could hear her. She knotted the robe and rushed out of the bathroom to the door, wondering who it was.

Ginny came to a halt at the front door and stood on tiptoe to gaze through the peephole, and let out a squeak of surprise.

It was Harry.

She fell against the door. He was home – here – and just on the other side of the door. She couldn’t believe it. Looking down at herself, she thumped her head against the door. Dressed in a tattered robe with her hair all a mess was not how she wanted to greet him on his first day home. Her mind began to race as she tried to come up with how to stall him while she changed.

“Ginny?” The deep voice said from the other side of the door. “Love? I know you’re home. Can you let me in please?” Harry his muffled voice asked.

Snapping back to reality, Ginny took a deep breath. He wasn’t going to give her time to change and make herself pretty for him. Accepting it, she threw open the door. For a moment, they stared at each other. Ginny’s brown eyes ran over him, not believing that the man she loved was standing in front of her. He looked tired but happy. His face was leaner than when he had left, but Ginny suspected that a day out at the Burrow would fatten him up. Suddenly, the urge to touch him took over and she leapt at him; her arms wrapping around his neck. Lifting herself on her tops of her toes, her lips sought out his. As they met Harry threw his broom and rucksack to the floor and brought his arms around her to pull her close. Breaking apart for a moment, Ginny looked deep into his green eyes and felt overjoyed that he was home.

“You haven’t shaved.” She said quietly.

Harry laughed while he squeezed her tightly and kissed her again. As they stood in the doorway wrapped around each other, Harry could feel the weariness and stress he had hanging on him ebb away. It was if the woman in his arms was drawing it out the longer she held him. When he felt a tiny breeze at his back, Harry realized they were still in the open doorway. Stepping back slightly from Ginny, he moved inside the door so it could be closed. Looking at his broom and rucksack lying on the floor, he used his mind to move them against the wall where they couldn’t be tripped over. After locking the door with a charm so no one would come barging into the flat, Harry turned his attention back to Ginny.

Her shiny, red hair was piled on top of her head but was loosely coming out of its knot. Harry felt his fingers itch with the need to bury themselves in it. The smile she was now wearing lit up her brown eyes and as he returned the infectious smile, he felt slightly like a teenager that didn’t know what to do with himself around his first girlfriend. It was then that he noticed her attire. Ginny was wearing an old robe that was older than dirt. Harry was positive she may have even worn it during her last year at Hogwarts. It had begun as a sunny yellow colour, but now it was several shades paler and had numerous patches on it where the fabric was wearing thin. The robe in question was also in danger of coming untied. Their hello kiss had pulled it apart and he could now see the freckled curve of her breasts.

“Ginny?” Harry asked, breaking the small silence that enveloped them. He reached up with his fingers to run them along the edge of her robe, causing a shiver to run through her. When she looked at him, he continued, “do you make it a habit of greeting visitors only wearing this dirty old robe?”

Ginny nodded as she felt the blush rise in her cheeks. She hadn’t exactly pictures their reunion like this. Vain as it may have been, she had hoped to have looked a little better. As his eyes wandered over her face and body, Ginny thought, at least I’m not wearing that muggle face thingy that Hermione had sent home with me.

He cupped her face gently with his hands and kissed her. His lips were soft at first but his touch became much firmer when she opened her mouth to nip at his lower lip. Trailing his hands back down to her waist, Harry lifted her off of her feet so he could walk them into the living room. As they continued kissing he could feel her hands pulling at the buttons of his traveling robes. When they were undone; Harry shrugged out of them to let them fall onto the floor at their feet. He groaned against her neck as he felt her fingers edge around the top of his trousers before trailing up into his t-shirt.

“Welcome home Harry.” She said breathlessly before pulling the two of them onto the couch.

*~*

The wireless programming changed from a news report into a slow song which caused Harry to open his eyes. Ginny stirred on top of him and he met a pair of brown ones that were sparkling with happiness which Harry knew would be reflected in his own. She had propped herself by her elbows on his chest and her red hair tumbled around her bare shoulders.

“Have I mentioned how happy I am to be home?” He said, smiling widely before kissing her nose.

“Well you never voiced it.” She replied, “But, I got the general idea from your hello kiss.”

As she traced her delicate finger along the scar on his shoulder, Harry looked about the room and realized there were clothes everywhere and that the flat seemed to be missing one quite important person.

“Hey – we’re all alone.” He said, looking back into her face.

“Well Potter – I dare say we couldn’t have done what we just finished doing without being alone. Did you have some sort of change of personality when you were off saving the world?” She replied a hint of teasing in her voice.

Harry immediately felt the heat of a blush creep up his cheeks as his mind conjured an image of him and Ginny in a compromising position and Ron walking in. “That’s – that’s not what I meant.”

She giggled as his face bloomed red and leaned down to kiss his shoulder, her hair tickling his skin. “Well what did you mean then?”

As her lips continued their quest from his shoulder to his neck and up to his ear, Harry thought he might lose his mind. “I mean – we are here alone. Doesn’t a certain little someone reside here as well?” He asked, groaning when her lips stilled against his ear lobe.

“Our dear little son James, you mean?” She said, looking up at his face. When Harry nodded, she continued. “He’s spending the night with Hermione; she wanted to have a sleep over. Ron’s away at a quidditch match and she wanted to practice being a mum. Worked out nicely didn’t it? We can head over to their flat first thing and pick him up. He’s going to be thrilled to see you. ”

Harry chuckled. It was just like Hermione to think she needed to practice at being a mum.
Harry ran his hand absently along the bare skin on Ginny’s back and smiled when he got a shiver out of her. “You’re not worried she’s going to make him read Hogwarts: A History while he’s there? Knowing Hermione, she found a children’s version of that tome.” He said lightly.

Ginny laughed against his neck, which she had resumed kissing. “Actually James has a copy already. She did in fact find a copy of it for children. Ron had better be prepared to read it as a bedtime story.”

Harry laughed at her statement. It made his heart content to know that his friends hadn’t changed since he’d been gone. Although it was only for a short period, each time Harry returned from being noble and playing the hero, he feared that his world had moved on without him. The worse had been that day not long ago when he had returned to the Burrow to find Ginny holding their son. At first, panic had risen in his chest and he had thought she had moved on and found someone new without him. It hadn’t occurred to him until that little boy had looked at him with those bright green eyes that mirrored his own that he was Harry’s. His heart had stopped for a moment that day; for he knew if Ginny had moved on without him he would never have known how to go on. And now just months later, he returned again and once more she was there, waiting for him.

Ginny pulled him out of his memory with a gentle poke to the ribs. “Hey there Potter, what’s got you so serious all of a sudden?” She asked, stroking his cheek with one finger.

“I was just thinking about how happy I am that everyone is as I left them.” He kissed her then, loving how she tasted to him. As she returned the kiss, Ginny’s stomach began to growl.

“Oh!” Ginny said, jolting against him. “I think I’m hungry!” She pulled out of Harry’s arms and sat up at the end of the couch. Leaning down, she grabbed her robe and pulled it on. “Shall we have a bite? I have nothing in the pantry but I was contemplating ordering some take-away.”

Harry sat up begrudgingly, chilled by the sudden departure of Ginny’s warmth from on top of his body. Looking about he realized his clothes were strewn about the room. He noticed his boxers and t-shirt were closest to where he was, so he reached out to grab them.

Shrugging them on, he looked back at Ginny. Something about her seemed different. He wasn’t quite sure what it was – but something was different. “I could eat.” He said as his own stomach rumbled at the prospect of food.

*~*

With her arms occupied with bags of take-away curry from the little shop on the corner, Ginny pushed open the door with her foot. She had offered to go on her own, while Harry grabbed a shower. She figured he needed that more than a walk.

“Harry!” She called, heading into the kitchen to set her purchases down. “I’m back!” When she received no answer, she wandered down to the back of the flat to see what he had gotten up to.

Entering the bedroom, she found the room softly lit by the bedside lamp and on the bed she found him lying on the bed, clad in flannel bottoms and a faded cannons shirt. Although disappointed he was fully clothed once more, Ginny was excited to see the return of one of her favorite shirts. Must nick that later, she thought as she unclasped her cloak and set it on the chair in the corner of the room; quietly she perched on the edge of the bed to try and gauge Harry’s level of unconsciousness. When he didn’t stir, she climbed up to lay beside him.

He sighed as she eased down against him. Ginny stared at him in the soft light of the bedroom, and was pleased to see some of the tension he had in his face when he arrived was gone. She noticed then he had left his glasses on when he lay down, so she reached up and eased them off the bridge of his nose to fold them and set them on the table. He had shaved while showering and his damp hair brushed the collar of his shirt. Cuddling up next to him, she breathed in his scent, letting it fill her senses, for her, he always smelled the same; a combination of fresh soap and fresh air. Still lost in sleep, Harry mumbled to himself and pulled her closer to him. Knowing he needed his sleep, Ginny forgot about the food she had just left in the kitchen and wrapped her arms around him, snuggling into his shoulder.

When she woke up, Ginny was disoriented. She had been dreaming that James was lost and calling for her. But upon opening her eyes, the room was dark and near silent. The only noises she heard was the sound of Harry’s deep breathing and the cool breeze from the open window rustling the curtains. Knowing James was with Hermione, she realized it was just a dream; and settled back against Harry’s side and closed her eyes. It was then she heard the voice from her dream. It was a faint, but insistent, cry of her name.

Trying to sit up, Ginny realized her limbs were still entangled with Harry’s. Squirming out of his embrace, she hurried out towards the front of the flat where the cries were louder. She skidded into the dark living room to find the embers of the fireplace burning and James’ little face peering out with tears streaking down his face.

“Mummy!” He yelled louder when she came into view. As she knelt down in front of the fireplace, he scrambled towards her. Grabbing him in her arms, she held him tightly.

“James! What’s wrong honey?” She asked, running her hands over him to see if he was injured anywhere.

He continued to cry, burying his face in her shoulder. She tried to soothe and calm him as best she could, while keeping her panic level restrained. Rubbing his back and pressing her lips onto his damp hair. “Quidditch-bug, can you tell me what’s wrong?

“Au-aunt Mione.” He hiccupped, his tears starting fresh again. “She fell down and won’t wake up.” He cried, pointing at the fireplace. Ginny kissed him once more on the head and placed him on the couch.

“Sweetie, I want you to stay right there, so if Aunt Hermione wakes up and comes to the fireplace she can see you. I’m just going to grab my cloak and I’ll be right back.” She said, quietly, stroking his hair gently. When he nodded, she dashed down the hall.

She grabbed her wand off the table and lit the room so she could see what she was doing. Grabbing her medical bag out from the floor beside the wardrobe, Ginny went over to shake Harry awake.

“Harry.” She shouted, as she grabbed his shoulder. “Harry, wake up.” When he opened his eyes, she hurried over to grab her cloak.

“Wha- what’s going on?” He asked, sleep still clouding his thoughts.

“You have to get up. James is here… he took the floo over here himself – something has happened to Hermione. I’m not sure what, but I have to get over there right now. I’ll take her right to St. Mungo’s. I need you to go find Ron and tell him to come immediately.” Ginny paused for a moment while she tried to remember where he was supposed to be playing. “He’s playing against Appleby tonight. Get up there and find him. I’ll take James with me.” She leaned over and kissed him quickly on the lips. “Please Harry, be fast.” She whispered, and rushed out of the room.

*~*

Harry felt as if he had never moved so quickly in his life. The moment Ginny dashed from the room, he jumped off the bed and dashed into the bathroom to splash cold water on his face. He then ran out to the front of the flat to get his cloak. As he skidded into the hall near the front door, he stubbed his toe on the small table Ginny had placed near the wall. Harry let out a string of curses as he flung his cloak around his shoulders, forgetting he was still in his lounging clothes. He then left the flat by disapparating and heading to the stadium that Appleby called home.

As he arrived at his destination, he could hear the cheers and yells of the crowd as the game inside the arena took in the match. Harry quickly rushed inside, looking around to find someone that could take him to the pitch. Over to his left, Harry noticed a wizard standing near a gated area and strode over.

“Excuse me sir, can you tell me how to get to the pitch?” He hurriedly asked.

“No one’s allowed down to the pitch – that’s restricted access.” The guard replied with a thick Scottish accent.

“I realize that, but this is an emergency. I have to talk to the Cannon’s coach. One of his players’ wives has had an accident.” Harry replied, pointing at the gate behind the guard. “Is the pitch through here?”

“How do I know you’re not just lying to get into the match for free?” The guard asked suspiciously, giving Harry a once over.

Harry, who was getting more and more frustrated at the guard’s actions, pulled his black hair off of his forehead to reveal his scar. In an instant his demeanor changed and recognition passed over his face.

“Mr. Potter? Harry Potter?” He stammered.

“Yes – that’s me. Now please, I’m not trying to get into the match for free. I need to see Ronald Weasley.” Harry said, and waited while the guard unlatched the fence.

He ran down the dimly lit corridor towards the noise of the pitch. Night had fallen a few hours ago and the flood lights were on in full force on the field. He squinted as his eyes adjusted to the brightness and his heart skipped a beat when he heard the roar of the crowd and the sound of the player’s brooms slicing through the air above him. Next to a passionate kiss from Ginny, nothing sent his heart racing more than the roar of the crowd at a quidditch game. Scanning the sidelines quickly – he noticed a man wearing the cannons trademark orange screaming into the air and clutching a whistle in his hands. Jogging over to him, Harry tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention and explain the situation.

The coach nodded and blew his whistle in two fast bursts to signal the referee who was up near Appleby’s goal watching opposing chasers argue over the quaffle. Immediately, he called a time out and swooped down to find out what was needed.

Ron along with the rest of the Cannons touched down smoothly and Harry looked at his friend and contemplated how he was going to tell him that Hermione had been taken to St. Mungo’s. The coach snagged Ron by the arm of his uniform and pointed at Harry. Ron quickly hurried over.

“Hey Mate! What are you doing here? When did you get home?” Ron exclaimed excitedly, his cheeks flushed by wind and exertion of being in the match. His smile quickly sobered when he noticed the seriousness in Harry’s face. “Bloody hell – is something wrong with Ginny? James? Mum? Dad?”

Harry shook his head and set his hands on his friend’s shoulders to calm him. “Ron, it’s none of them. We need to go to St. Mungo’s right now.” He explained, keeping his own voice as calm as he could. “Ginny sent me to get you, she apparated Hermione there just a few moments ago.”



Chapter 27: Night and Mornings
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Ginny had been waiting in the hallway for the last hour. Upon arrival in the lobby on the main level, Hermione had been whisked away from them and taken for tests while Ginny had been directed to the fourth floor to wait. A medi-witch appeared briefly to tell her that Hermione was being brought up to the floor she was waiting on and that a healer would be by to give her more information. Ginny had smiled and thanked her. She knew being a fellow employee at St. Mungo’s was giving her some leverage and the others on staff were keeping her informed for that reason.

Once she knew Hermione and the babies weren’t in mortal danger, Ginny relaxed a bit and tried to comfort James as he was still rather frightened and tense by all that had happened. He had only been to St. Mungo’s a few times before. One was to visit his Aunt Fleur after she had given birth to his cousin and the other times had been to visit Ginny while she worked. This had been the first time he had been here under a state of panic. While she waited for Harry and Ron to arrive from Appleby she gathered him in her arms and cuddled him close, explaining to him that he had been a very brave boy and that Aunt Hermione was going to be ok because of his quick thinking. He drifted off as she was singing to him softly and although Ginny didn’t think she was all that tired, the weight of him in her arms and the quiet of corridor make her eyelids droop and a light sleep fell upon her mind.

As quickly as sleep had taken her, a commotion tore through her consciousness and roused her. Trying not to disturb James, she shifted slightly and leaned forward to see if her instincts were right. She watched as Harry and Ron came rushing towards her at a breakneck speed.

Having run up 4 flights of stairs trying to get to the floor his wife was on; Ron was quite out of breath. The two came to a halt in front of her and as Ron put his hands out to grab Ginny by the shoulders he realized that she was holding James so in typical Ron fashion; he just began to shout instead. “Is she ok? Where is she? Can I see her?”

“Ron – calm down. You’re going to wake James. Harry? Do you mind?” She asked, gesturing for him to pick up his sleeping son from her lap. As he took his small form in his arms, she rose. She placed a sisterly arm around Ron’s shoulders to comfort him. “She’s resting now, just in the room across the hall. I told her healer that I’d summon her when you arrived. You can go in while I fetch her. But try not to disturb her, ok?” She explained and led him to the room where his wife was.

Ron slipped inside the room quietly and caught his breath. Hermione lay quietly in a bed by the window. He could tell she was sleeping by the way her mouth was slightly open and as her chest rose and fell rhythmically. He swallowed the lump in his throat as he approached her bedside and quietly leaned over to kiss her forehead before gently taking her hand in his. He watched her silently until she stirred and then leaned down to whisper in her ear that he was there.

“Ron? Why are you here? You’re supposed to be in Appleby tonight.” She asked sleepily.

He looked into her brown eyes and smiled. “Harry came to fetch me.” He responded.

“Harry’s home? Why did he fetch you?” She asked, slightly disoriented as to where she was.

“He’s in the hallway watching James. Ginny’s gone to fetch Healer McEachern.” Ron said, trying to keep her as calm as possible.

“Healer? What?” She said as she came to the realization of where she was. Acting on instinct, her hands fell on her rounded belly, to make sure the twins were where they should be. “Why am I here?” She asked him, her eyes starting to shine with tears and fear.

“Mrs. Weasley, you are in St. Mungo’s tonight because you had a little episode at home.” Healer McEachern explained as she swept in the door. She had a stern expression on her face that reminded Ron quite a lot of Professor Minvera McGonagall.

“An episode?” Both Ron and Hermione asked at the same moment.

“Yes, that’s correct. It seems you passed out this evening. Mrs. Weasley – since our last check up have you been taking it easy like I recommended?” She asked – her voice becoming little less harsh when she noticed the fear in both expectant parents’ eyes. Her patient was more exuberant than most her age; and each time she arrived for a check up, she was armed with a parchment full of questions and general concerns about what was happening.

Hermione’s cheeks turned pink at her Healer’s question. “Well Healer McEachern, I’m trying but my cases at work have been so demanding. I have to finish them before the babies are born.” She tried to explain, sitting up on her bed.

Healer McEachern looked from wife to husband and sighed inwardly, none of her other patients were quite as stubborn. “Hermione, I told you that you should take it easy now that you are approaching the third trimester. It’s a critical time for a witch carrying twins. You gave quite a few of us a scare today, including your poor husband. Mr. Weasley, you look to be as pale as a ghost. Now Hermione, it seems like you were suffering from a minor case of exhaustion.” She produced a piece of parchment from her white medical robes.

“I am putting you off on bed rest.” She handed the parchment over to Ron. “And I will hear no arguments on this matter. Mr. Weasley, tomorrow I want you to take this to your wife’s immediate supervisor and inform them of the circumstances.”

Ron nodded and as he slipped the parchment into his quidditch robes, Healer McEachern patted the end of the bed where Hermione’s feet were. “I know you want to get as much done at work as possible Hermione, but you need to put the needs of the babies in front of that. I can’t stress to you enough that the last trimester can be very stressful for a young witch carrying twins as her first pregnancy. You need to rest as much as possible and let them grow in a relaxed atmosphere. You won’t be on complete bed rest, you can go out on short outings and visit with your friends and family, but there’ll be no work or strenuous activity. Are we clear?”

Hermione nodded, lying back on her pillows. “Yes. I understand.” She said quietly. “The babies are ok then?” She asked, her lip trembling slightly.

“The babies are fine. I just need you to rest now.” Healer McEachern said, more softly this time. “I’m going to keep you here tonight for observation, but you can go home first thing in the morning. The medi-witches will be around later to make sure you are still comfortable.” She explained, heading for the door. “Please don’t hesitate to page me if you need to.”

As the door swung shut behind the older witch, Hermione burst into tears and flung her arms around Ron’s waist as he stood beside her bed.

“I’m so sorry! I never meant to scare you like this!” She cried, her tears soaking into the wool of his quidditch uniform.

Ron held her close and let her cry while he stroked her back to calm her. “Shhhh… I’m just happy you and the babies are fine Hermione. And now we’ll do precisely what the doctor ordered. You are resting as much as possible and I won’t hear an argument about it.” He said softly before kissing her.

The pair turned towards the door when they heard a soft knock and watched Ginny poke her head in.

“Can I come in?” She asked quietly and entered as they nodded. Walking over to the opposite side of the bed from Ron she gave her sister in law a hug. “Healer McEachern told me before I came in that everything is ok but I just wanted to check on the two of you myself.” She said, giving Hermione another squeeze.

“I’m sorry Ginny.” Hermione said in an apologetic voice. “I must have caused James and you quite a scare.”

“There’s no need to apologize. I mean you did cause a bit of a scare, but thank goodness we taught James how to use the floo on his own for emergencies. He’s sleeping right now, but he wanted me to give you a kiss from him.” Ginny kissed the other witch’s forehead and straightened. “We’re going to head back to the flat now but an orderly will be in with a cot for Ron. I assumed you’d want to stay so I asked for one to be brought around.“ She said to him before rounding the bed to give her brother a hug.

“Now Harry and I will be by in the morning, I’ll bring some fresh clothes for the both of you. The orderlies are also going to bring a change of robes for you Ron – I dare say it wouldn’t be very comfortable to sleep in quidditch robes would it? Do you want me to let Mum and Dad know? You know she’s got a sixth sense about things like this. Not to mention a clock.”

Ron nodded as he looked at his baby sister. She had really turned into a little Mum herself. “That’s probably a good idea. Do you mind Gin?”

“Of course not, I’ll floo her as soon as I get back to my flat.” Ginny turned to leave when the door to the room opened and Harry slipped in with James on his shoulder.

“Hey.” He said quietly, looking over to the area of the room where Hermione was and paused for a moment when he noticed how pregnant she had gotten. He felt envious of his friends. He loved James with all of his heart but he wished sometimes that he had been around to experience pregnancy with Ginny. “Someone is getting restless. I think he wants his Mum.” He explained as he walked over to where Ginny stood next to Ron.

Ginny immediately held out her arms to take James from him. “We’re going home soon darling.” She said softly as she kissed him gently. Harry watched the little exchange as his son buried his head in the crook of her neck and his little arms tightened around her neck. When she smiled at him over their son’s head, he felt his heart swell in his chest, it was a smile filled with love and Harry knew it was meant all for him.

“Welcome home Harry.” Hermione said quietly from her bed causing him to look away from Ginny and over at her. He took in the woman he thought of as his sister and moved over to give her a hug.

“Thanks Hermione.” He said, planting a kiss on her cheek. “I see you’ve been quite busy since I’ve been gone. This has to be one of the more exciting welcome home evenings I’ve ever experienced!” He laughed and gave her another hug before sitting on the edge of the bed.

“I’m sorry I caused such a scare tonight.” She added, biting her lip in worry.

“Hermione – if I hear you apologize any more tonight, I’m going climb to the roof and throw myself off.” Ron muttered, exasperation evident in his voice.

“Well Ronald – go ahead and throw yourself off. See if I care what you do! I will raise our children on my own!” She said as the tears welled up in her eyes and she crossed her arms over her chest.

“Hey – hey.” Harry said, “Let’s not wake the entire hospital ok? Ron, if Hermione needs to say she’s sorry, she can say she’s sorry. And Hermione, please stop saying you’re sorry. We are all just happy that you are ok and that the babies are safe. I am looking quite forward to meeting my nieces or nephews or both very soon.” Thinking that he had diffused an argument between the two, he rose from where he had perched himself between the couple. It seemed after all of their years together, they could still push each other’s buttons with the simplest of words but Harry never worried about them; he knew their love was a special one - it withstood anything that was thrown at it.

“Sorry Hermione.” Ron said as he gazed at the hospital floor, his toe moving around in a circle around the black and white tiles.

“It’s ok Ronald. I’d say the same, but I seem to apologize too much these days.” She said, still annoyed at his words.

As the two became involved once more in arguing and oblivious to the fact that Harry, Ginny and James were in the room with them, Harry gestured towards the door. “We’ll see you in the morning ok guys?” He asked, even though he was being ignored. When he reached Ginny at the door he leaned near her ear, “those two haven’t changed in the entire time I’ve known them. Let’s get out before they wake James.” He whispered.

As his warm breath brushed against her ear and neck, Ginny shivered and nodded. The time had definitely come to head home and the last thing she wanted was to have James awake when they arrived back at the flat.

*~*

As Harry slowly floated up from the cloudy state of dreams, he could feel something digging into his side. Bugger, he thought, I knew I should have slept near that tree last night. Opening one green eye, he looked at his surroundings and realized he wasn’t sleeping outdoors or even on the ground. He was home, in Ginny’s flat, in bed. He turned his head to the side and took in her bright red hair peeking out from under the covers she was wrapped in. He shivered at the chill in the room as he realized that she had taken all of the blankets to her side of the bed. As he moved to grab them back, he felt something jab him in the side once again. Reaching down beside him, his hand came in contact with a small foot. Sitting up slightly, he found the foot belonged to his son.

James lay sideways in the bed, his top half was closest to Ginny and he had the edge of the stolen blankets covering him from the chill. Harry grumbled to himself as the little boy’s foot shot out again and kicked him squarely in the ribs. Slipping out of bed quietly, so the other two wouldn’t be disturbed, Harry made his way over towards the bathroom. As he turned the knob, he heard a quiet hoot from atop Ginny’s wardrobe. Glancing up he found Hedwig peering at him with her bright, lamp-like yellow eyes. She hooted once more in what Harry took to be amusement before she nestled her head into her snowy feathers for sleep.

He grumbled to himself once more. “Ruddy bird, you’re only finding this funny because I left you behind.” When he received nothing but silence from the room, he slipped into the bathroom and turned on the shower.

Ginny woke when she heard the shower turn on. It always caused the pipes to shake and rattle when the water flowed into them. She sat up and found James lying beside her. For a moment, confusion washed over her before she realized that Harry was back and that was who was in the shower. Smiling, she climbed out of bed and headed to the kitchen to make some coffee to start the day. As the aromatic brew woke her senses, she decided to surprise Harry in the shower.

Harry turned off the water taps in the shower and shook the wet hair out of his eyes. Feeling refreshed and more awake, he pulled the shower curtain back to grab a bright blue towel from the rack to dry off. Out of corner of his eye, he noticed a fuzzy red mass of hair. “Ginny! What are you doing in here?” He hissed, wrapping the towel around his waist and securing it.

She stood from where she was perched on the closed lid of the toilet and walked the short distance to him. Handing him his glasses, she reached up and kissed him on the lips.

“My ever modest Harry,” She said, giggling as the steam fogged his lenses up once again. “I just wanted to wish you a good morning.” She held up a mug of coffee to him. “And bring you something to start the day with.”

“I thought you were sleeping.” Harry said, stepping out of the tub and drawn more by her perfume than the smell of fresh coffee went closer to her.

Ginny’s mouth went dry as he approached her. She could see droplets of water rolling off of his shoulders. “I was.” She responded, setting the mug on the shelf above the sink and lifting a finger to trail down his arm. “But I woke up when the pipes began to rattle. I realized it must be you when I found James sprawled across the bed beside me.”

Harry looked down into her brown eyes and came closer to her, the desire to kiss her growing in his chest. “Ah yes, those little feet woke me up this morning. I thought was I out in the field sleeping on rocks.” He trailed his hand down her arm and smiled when her eyes closed at his touch. “We really need to talk about a bigger bed.” He said, as his mouth dipped down press against hers.

As his lips touched hers, she felt her knees grow weak. His tongue slipped against hers and she tasted the fresh mint of toothpaste. Wanting to be closer, she wrapped her arms around his neck and snaked her hands through his wet hair.

Harry groaned against her mouth as he felt her body press against his. He moved forward until her back was against the hard wood of the door and then reached down to run one hand along her side and pull her smooth leg up against his towel covered thigh. Harry could feel the knot he had secured the towel with becoming loose and he knew that it wouldn’t be long before it fell to the floor.

Keeping his lips on hers, Harry’s fingers moved down her side, brushing against her breasts and ribcage as he searched for the hem of her t-shirt. Looking down, he noticed it was the faded old shirt he had worn to bed last night. Pulling his lips from hers, he looked at her face until she opened her eyes again.

“Is that my shirt?” He asked, smiling as she nodded silently, her teeth biting lightly on her lower lip as she looked at him. As his fingers started to move the hem up her stomach, Ginny sucked in a deep breath and lifted her arms to let him slip the stolen garment over her head.

Flinging it on the floor, he began to kiss her again, his hands roving over her bare skin, that was now moist from the steam in the small room. Harry groaned as her hands moved down his back and she ran her fingers along the edge of the towel.

“Mummy? I’m hungry.” With their private moment suddenly invaded, the two adults broke apart at the sound of James’ voice on the other side of the door. As the doorknob began to turn, Harry quickly braced his hands on solid wood to keep it closed.

“One second James!” She called, “Mummy’s just brushing her teeth!” Ginny looked at Harry frantically. “Get my shirt.” She whispered quickly. She threw it over her head while she grabbed her toothbrush from the edge of the sink and pulled the door open a crack. She looked down to find him at the door, his dark hair sticking up in all directions from sleep. “Good morning Quidditch-Bug. Did you sleep well?” She watched James nod while he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “Just give Mummy one more moment ok? And then we’ll go make some breakfast. How do pancakes sound?”

“Ok Mummy!” James jumped in excitement as pancakes were his favorite breakfast food.

Ginny laughed. “Why don’t you take your snitch back into your room and put him on the bed?” She watched her son run over to the bed and grab his favorite toy from the blankets and when he dashed from the room, she closed the door to the bathroom shut. Looking over, Harry was standing rooted to the floor by the sink, his hand tightly clutching the towel. His skin was still flushed but when she fixed on at his face, it was white.

“Harry? Are you ok?” She asked, walking over at him to stroke his arm gently.

“James – he nearly – walked – in – here. When we were almost – doing – you know.” He said, pointing towards the door.

“He didn’t see anything – I guess we will just have to be careful next time and not let our needs rage so out of control.” Ginny laughed and stood on tip toe to kiss Harry, who leaned away from her kiss.

“Ginny! Not now! He could come in here!” He said quickly, glancing at the door.

Feeling insulted, Ginny stood back and pouted. “Honestly! You do realize that James lives here all the time? You’re turning into quite the prude Mr. Potter! That’s twice in less than two days that you’ve been shy with me! He’s bound to see us kiss. As long as we don’t attack each other like rabbits when he’s in the same room, he’ll grow up to be a rounded individual. We just have to be more conscious of using the locking charm if we don’t want to be disturbed” Ginny said, placing her hands on her hips and stared him down.

Harry looked at her standing before him in her knickers and his t-shirt. Her hair was still wild from sleep and her brown eyes grew darker as she waited for his response. He silently contemplated his options; he knew he was sitting on the edge of a precipice. Ginny’s temper was up, and he could try to diffuse it or ride it out. Deciding to take the easy way out, he leaned towards her to kiss her until she forgave him but was met by a small, but strong hand on his chest.

“I don’t think so.” She stated, pushing him away. “James could walk in at anytime. I wouldn’t want him to see his parents doing anything as natural as kissing each other.” She said, not bothering to hide her annoyance. As the words left her mouth, she threw her toothbrush in the sink and turned on her heel to leave the bathroom and Harry behind.

After getting dressed, Harry found the two of them in the kitchen. Ginny was vigourously mixing batter for pancakes and James was sitting on the counter next to her watching her movements. His slipper covered feet kicked lazily against the cupboards below him.

“Mummy? Can I have two pancakes?” He asked.

“Quidditch-bug you can have as many as you like.” Ginny responded, glancing up from the bowl and kissing his nose quickly. “But only two? Are you sure you’re a Weasley?” She asked, tweaking his nose.

Harry watched as James giggled at her. Feeling like a spectator, Harry hung back for a moment and continued to watch his family. Ginny smiled at James and took the bowl of batter over to the stovetop. Pouring out large circles into the pan, she tapped it with her wand and set them to cook. It was then that Ginny noticed Harry standing on the edge of the kitchen.

“Would you like some pancakes Harry?” She asked sweetly, the annoyance she was feeling towards him still evident in her voice. Setting the bowl down, she picked James up off the counter and set him on the floor.

“Sure – that’d be great.” Harry stepped into the kitchen and sat at the table. He could feel James’ eyes on him so he turned to him. “Hey mate – how are you doing?” He asked, his breath held as he waited for an answer.

James looked at Harry with shyness in his eyes. Harry could tell he knew him but he wasn’t exactly sure what to think about him. He slowly made his way over to Ginny and pressed up against his leg.

“Mummy?” He said, tugging on the edge of her t-shirt. When she leaned down he whispered in her ear. “Is that Daddy?”

Ginny smiled and nodded her head. “Sure is Quidditch-Bug. Don’t you remember him being here last night?”

James shook his head and moved over to where Harry sat at the table. “Are you home now?” He asked.

“I sure am James. I got back just last night.” He said, looking down at his son, who stood looking back at him with identical eyes. Ginny watched the interaction between the two and took note of just how alike they were. She expected that Harry had looked the same as their son at his age. Although the happiness that was in their eyes couldn’t have been in his back then – not with having to live with those horrid Dursleys. She remembered when she first saw that same light in Harry’s eyes. It had been during her second year at Hogwarts and she had happened upon Harry and Ron playing wizards’ chess in the common room. It had been one of those rare times that Harry had beaten her brother at the game. Ron began to sulk while Harry did a dance around the room, shouting out to anyone around them that he had won, his green eyes dancing in joy.

“Good.” He said, climbing up into Harry’s arms for a hug. James’ arms snaked around his neck in a tight hug. “Did you miss us?” He asked.

“I thought about the two of you every day I was away.” Harry said, looking over at where Ginny was setting fresh pancakes onto a plate. “Come on now. Let’s get breakfast over with. Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione are waiting for us at the hospital.” He said, setting James onto the chair beside him.



Chapter 28: Secrets Revealed
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry threw back the curtains in the living room and noticed that the morning was grey and cloudy. It was, once again a typical London day. He had woken early today, wanting to be up when Ginny arrived home from her shift at St. Mungo’s. She had been on nights for the last three days and he and James had spent their mornings together while Ginny slept.

Entering the kitchen, Harry set the kettle to boil for tea and began to pull out some eggs and rashers to make breakfast when he heard the front door open and close quietly, followed by Ginny calling his name.
Ginny undid her cloak and set it on the chair next to her. She was extremely tired after this particular shift. Emergencies popped up left and right and the flu that was making its way through St. Mungo’s had hit the children’s ward. Almost all of Ginny’s patients were sick and decided that Ginny was the only one that could administer their medicine last night as a result her feet were aching from running the corridors all night long.

Harry met her just outside the entrance to the kitchen. He pulled her into a hug and could feel the tension in her shoulders. She leaned against him and sighed quietly as she breathed him in.

“Good morning.” She said, looking up at him.

“Good morning Love.” He replied leaning down to kiss her hello. Sensing she needed to be held for a moment, he led her over to the couch to sit down. Gathering her beside him he wrapped his arms around her.

“Rough night?” He asked while his fingers found their way into her hair. He pulled the pins out and let it fall around his fingers before he began to knead her neck muscles. Ginny groaned in pleasure as she began to relax under his touch. “Want to talk about it?”

She sighed again. “Things were just more hectic than usual. The children’s floor finally got hit with that flu that was going around and I was so tired this shift. I only hope that I don’t come down with it as well. I can’t wait to climb into bed and sleep.” She said as she glanced over her shoulder at Harry. He was still dressed in his pyjamas from the night before. On one side of his head, his hair was mashed up against his skull while on the other the black locks stuck straight out. His comfortable look make Ginny realize she was still wearing her healer robes.

“I feel ghastly.” She said, smoothing down the wrinkles on the front of her robes.

“Well let’s get you into something more comfortable and into bed.” He said, rising from his spot on the couch. Harry took her hand in his and pulled her back onto her feet. When she winced in pain, he picked her up and carried her down the hall.

“Bed sounds wonderful.” She said, burying her head in his neck. As they entered the room they now shared, she noticed that the bed was empty.

“James is in his own bed.” He said, sensing her question before she had time to form it. He set her down near the wardrobe and went to sit on the edge of the bed while she pulled an old t-shirt and pyjama pants from the top shelf. “You looked tired when you left last night. I thought it would be best if you didn’t have little voices waking you so soon after your shift ended.” He continued as he watched silently while Ginny removed her robes and placed a cleaning charm on them before she began dressing for bed. Once she had pulled the t-shirt over her head she joined Harry on the edge of the bed.

“Thank you for that. I do love James dearly with all my heart but I really need some rest.” She said as she leaned over to kiss him goodnight.

Harry wrapped his arms around her in a quick hug. He was glad she had gotten over her annoyance at him earlier in the week. Of course that day that had only happened because he spent breakfast time and the time at St. Mungo’s apologizing for being a git and agreeing with her that it wouldn’t scar James if he found his parent kissing and being affectionate with each other.

“Now get to bed.” He said quietly.

Ginny climbed into the bed and pulled the covers around her. The whole scene looked quite inviting to him. “Mmm – this is perfect.” Ginny said sleepily. “What are the plans for today?” She asked.

“I think James and I will wander over the London Zoo for a bit. That’s if it doesn’t rain. If not, we’ll stay in and play.” Harry leaned over and kissed Ginny once more. “Now go to sleep love. We’ll be here when you get up.” As he was about to leave the room he place a silencing charm around it to keep Ginny from being disturbed and went back to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.

It was an hour later when Harry finally heard James stirring in his room. Harry set down his cup of tea and made his way to James’ room. He opened the door and poked his head in to find James in bed. “Good morning Mate!” He said cheerily.

“Good morning Daddy!” James said excitedly and leapt off the bed and into Harry’s arms, who laughed and gave his son a morning hug. James had not inherited his mother’s morning temperament. Ginny could be worse than a blast-ended skrewt some mornings. James on the other hand had been a little ray of sunshine each morning that they had spent together. Suddenly James’ stomach growled loudly, that trait he had inherited from his mother.
“I think someone is rather hungry this morning.” He said as he set him on the bed. James nodded his head in agreement as he scrambled down onto the floor.

“Race you Daddy!” He cried and took off out the door. Laughing as Harry followed.

*~*

Later in the day, Harry laughed as James skipped ahead of him to jump in the shallow puddles in front of them. The two had just been leaving the London Zoo when the rain had come pelting down. Knowing Ginny would not be amused if they came sopping wet, he had pulled James into a doorway and quickly transfigured their fall coats into yellow rain slickers and his son’s trainers into bright, yellow rain boots.

“Be careful not to splash anyone!” Harry called when he noticed an elderly couple coming towards them.

“Okay Daddy!” He responded loudly, pausing to wait until the couple had passed by to jump back into the puddle.

Harry caught up to him and stood off to the side to watch for a moment. He loved observing his son – since he’d gotten home, Harry had spent countless moment watching James - his son fascinated him. As James splashed and giggled when the rain slipped off the front of his hood, he smiled wistfully and wondered to himself that if his father had lived would they have played in the rain. These thoughts brought him around to the fact that he was retiring from active auror duty. Ginny and James still had to be told and knew it was going to have to be soon. Moody and Lupin were keeping the news quiet, but soon the press would have to be told. Malfoy’s trial was slated to start within the next two weeks. This also meant the plans for a quick wedding upon his return were going to have to be put on hold. Harry was unsure of how Ginny was going to take this news. He tore his thoughts away from aurors and Malfoy and the future to find James had stopped his splashing to stare at him.

“Daddy, can we have tea?” He asked, slipping his hand into Harry’s.

Looking up the street they had wandered onto; Harry noticed a friendly looking pub on the corner. Being near lunch, he figured James would be allowed in. “We sure can James. There seems to be a pub up on the corner. Let’s head there.” He answered and led the way.

The atmosphere of the pub was a busy one. Harry glanced around and noticed a few families tucked away in quiet nooks at the back. The noise of the crowd made him hesitate for a moment. Harry was never one for large crowds but after a quick scan of the room, he knew there was only muggles in the building and that no one would recognize him, he signaled to the server as she strode by.

“Excuse me Miss?” He said, catching her eye. “Are there any free nooks?”

The server paused and sized him up. She was an older woman that appeared to have spent many a year inside the pub serving its’ patrons. She gave the two of them a wide smile.

“Sonny - no one has called me Miss in a dog’s age! And I’ve just got one opening up now. Follow me.” She said, sweeping her arm in front of her as she led them through to the back end of the pub. As she seated them she rattled off the specials. “Seems like the two of you were caught in the rain out there.” She stated while Harry removed James’ slicker.

“Indeed we did.” Harry answered, hanging the two jackets on the hook outside of their seats.

“No what can I get you fine gentlemen today?” She asked.

As Harry was about to order a cup of tea for himself and some milk for James he heard both of their stomachs growl in unison.

“I’m hungry Daddy.” James said quietly as he tugged at the sleeve of his father’s jumper.

“I can tell mate.” He responded as he turned to the server. “Did I hear correctly, that your special is beef stew?” When she nodded he continued. “We’ll take two specials, a cup of tea and a glass of milk please?”

She nodded and set off to place their order, leaving the two alone. Harry glanced down at James to find hi looking about the pub in wonder.

“Daddy –“ He whispered. “There’s no magic here.

Harry smiled at the innocence in his voice. “You’re right James, there is no magic here. This is a muggle pub.” He pointed at him. “We’re the only magical people here.”

“Really?” He said, watching as business went on in front of them. Muggles sat and talked while they waited fro their food to arrive. Servers and busboys moved about delivering hot plates of food or clearing away the dirty plates.

“Really. Mummy’s never taken you to a muggle place like this before?”

James shook his head. “We go to the park.” He answered.

“Well this is quite special then isn’t it?” He said, “Did you know when I was growing up – I had to live with muggles?” He laughed when James’ green eyes grew wide. “It’s true, no magic at all. I didn’t even know I was a wizard until I was eleven.”

James attention had been taken from the pub and had landed on Harry. “No magic at all?”

Harry nodded solemnly. “Nope - not at all.” He paused in his story telling when he saw the server coming towards them with steaming bowls of stew.

“Here you go loves.” She said placing the bowls down in front of them before looking down at James. “I reckon I have never seen someone look so much like their Daddy before.” She commented.

“I have my Mummy’s freckles.” James said proudly causing the lady to chuckle and lean over to look at the bridge of his nose.

“I suppose you do.” She agreed. “Now tuck in!”

James giggled. “Granmum says that too!”

“Well that just goes to show you that she’s a smart lady.” She said, patting him gently on the head. “Enjoy your meal.”

When she left, James looked at Harry. “Daddy.” He said, “I think I like muggles.”

*~*

While father and son were happily enjoying a hearty beef stew in a war and cozy pub; Ginny lay awake in her bed, her mind racing. Just moment earlier she had been sleeping peacefully when she was jolted awake by a sense of nausea deep in her stomach. She’d rushed to the loo and threw up most of the contents of her stomach before she climbed back into bed.

Glancing at the clock at the bedside she realized it was lunch time and hoped to herself that Harry would take care of lunch they were at the zoo and not come home to find her in the state she was in. While the flu at St. Mungo’s was quite real, Ginny knew she wouldn’t be able to use it as an excuse for the way she was feeling.

She was pregnant. Again. And she knew precisely when it had happened; it was that last night she had been with Harry before he left on his mission - one last quick moment together before he had to be off. When the morning sickness had started the morning after their dreams had crossed, Ginny knew what was causing it even before she had taken the test. The signs had all been there for Ginny to see; she had just chosen to ignore them - the irritability, the fatigue – not to mention the fact that almost immediately her body had begun to change, her hips were slightly wider and her breasts slightly larger. In fact, she was shocked that no one else had taken notice of the changes going on and questioned her about them. Ginny herself could make out the aura she cast when she looked in the mirror everyday.

Lying there, Ginny’s hand slipped under her shirt to rest on her belly. She could feel the tiny bump that poked itself out. That had happened the day Harry had returned and she was shocked he hadn’t noticed. Ginny mused though that he really had no cause to notice. A pregnant Ginny would have been the last thing he’d have expected when he came home. Staring at the ceiling, she made the resolution to tell him once James was tucked into bed that night. The three of them were heading to the Burrow for the weekend in two days and Ginny knew that Molly was going to make her try on her wedding dress. She had finished the cloak Ginny was wearing and the final alterations needed to be made on both the dress and the cloak. Ginny knew the dress was going to be tight and then there would be no hiding it.

Ginny patted her belly, her fingers roving over the bump. “Daddy is a fertile one, isn’t he?” She said quietly. A new wave of nausea hit her as she sat up, causing her to close her eyes and to take deep breaths to calm her stomach. Once her stomach was calm, Ginny summoned her medical bag and took a potion from it to calm her stomach. Downing the entire contents of the small vial, she got out of bed to get ready for the day.

Ginny was curled up on the couch reading the latest healer journal when Harry and James burst through the door a few hours later.

“Mummy!” James shouted as she leapt onto the couch beside her. “We seen bears and a lion!”

Ginny laughed at his excitement. “Made it to the zoo I see.” She took note of the bright yellow slicker – and damp - her son was wearing. “And got caught in the rain as well.” She added, looking at Harry with one raised auburn eyebrow causing him to smile guiltily.

“We did! And Daddy made our coats into rain slickers. And we had lunch in a muggle pub. And Mummy – there was no magic!” James recounted as he bounced on his knees beside her.

“My, my. Someone had quite a full day.” Ginny said, ruffling his hair, before looking up at Harry who was standing near the coat closet watching. “Go give Daddy that rain slicker to hang in the closet. You’re making the couch all wet!”

James bounded off the couch and handed the damp garment to Harry, who took it and transfigured it back to its normal state before handing it in the closet. Making his way over to the couch, he lifted James into his arms and sat down next to Ginny.

“Hello love.” He said, leaning over to kiss her softly. “Did you get some rest while the two of us were gone?” He asked, brushing a stray curl off of her face and looking to see if she was as tired as she looked this morning when she had gotten home from work. She smiled as she pressed her cheek into his palm.

“I slept like a baby.” Ginny commented, “Now don’t worry about me. Tell me all about your day.”

“Actually Gin – there’s something I’d like to talk to you and James about.” He said, taking her hand in his and rubbing his fingers over the ring she wore.

As the words left his mouth, Ginny’s stomach fell into her feet and a feeling of dread crept into her voice. “Okay.” She prompted hesitantly.

“I know I haven’t talked much about the mission since I got home – but well – I think we’ve been focused on other – how shall I say – things?” He began, his face going bright red. “But you do know we’ve caught Malfoy.”

“What’s a Malfoy?” James interrupted. To his four year old mind, the name sounded like a terrible beast.

“He was a slimy boy that went to Hogwarts with Daddy and me. “ Ginny answered. “He grew up to be a very bad man.” James nodded and sensing that his mum was nervous about something he shifted closer to Ginny.

“Well, there’s something the press doesn’t know yet.” Harry said, looking down at their two hands.

“He escaped didn’t he?” Ginny exclaimed angrily, pulling her hand away from his. “The foul git!” She swore, causing James to look at her in surprise.

“No!” Harry exclaimed loudly, taking hold of her hand again and holding it to keep her from jumping up from her spot on the couch. “No, it’s nothing like that.” Harry stood and placed James beside her before sitting on the edge of the coffee table in front of them. He could see the fear in her bright chocolate eyes and realized she was expecting to hear him announce that he had to go again; Harry knew he was on the edge of fouling up his great and wonderful announcement.

“It’s not even close to that.” Harry sighed and ran his hand through his hair, causing the wild locks to stand up on his head. “I’ve handed in my resignation. I’m retiring from auror duty. No more chasing the bad guy.”

Ginny sat there and let the words sink in. “No more auror duty? You can just decide that?” She asked, hesitant to believe his words.

“No more. Once the trial is over and Malfoy is sent to Azkaban, I’m finished.” Harry said, smiling first at Ginny and then at James.

“But Moody? Remus? They’re fine with this decision? I know I sound skeptical but Harry – this is a big decision. I can’t believe they’d just let you go. You are one of the best after all.”

“They will be fine with it. And of course I can just go. I’m the boy who lived after all. And this boy is ready to spend time with his family.” Harry leaned over and kissed Ginny on the lips and then grabbed James in a hug.

*~*

“Come on James – let’s get into bed.” Harry said, pulling the covers back on his son’s bed and gesturing for him to climb under the covers.

“But Daddy – I need to say goodnight to Mummy.” James said, turning to go find Ginny.

Harry grabbed him by the back of his Gryffindor pyjamas. “No way mate, you have already given Mummy goodnight kisses and hugs three times now; and – you have a glass of water and your golden snitch is in your bed waiting. And – we’ve checked under the bed and in the closet for boggarts.” He picked up his son and placed him on the bed. “Now it’s time for bed, which story would you like?”

“Quidditch Charlie Daddy.” James said, looking up at him. Harry nodded and moved over to the bookcase to find the book in question.

“Excellent choice!” Harry took the book and sat down at the edge of the bed while James lay down and snuggled beneath the covers. Once he was comfortable, Harry moved back until he was propped against the wall and cracked open the book to start reading.

Harry finished the last page of the book and closed the cover over. He looked down and found James was sleeping, snuggled up against his side. Setting the book on the night table, Harry gently eased James down onto his pillow. He sat for a moment and watched his son sleep, his little chest rising and falling rhythmically in sleep. Harry marveled at how still his little form could be in sleep; when he was so active when he awake. After spending three full days with him, Harry was knackered out. He watched as James sighed in his sleep and rolled over onto his side, his little hand seeking out his golden snitch and gathering it to him. Standing, he leaned over and kissed James on the side of his head and tucked the blankets around him before he left to seek out Ginny.

She heard him coming down the hall before she seen him. “James asleep then?” She asked as he rounded the corner.

“Yes, finally.” He smiled, gathering her in his arms as he sank onto the couch beside her. He looked at her for a moment, letting his eyes take her in before kissing her. When his teeth playfully nipped at her bottom lip, she allowed her mouth to open so he could taste her. A few quiet moments passed before they both needed to come up for air.

“Well then, what did I do to deserve that kind of kiss?” Ginny asked softly.

Harry smiled at her as he pressed his forehead to hers. “For being you – I can’t believe that you’ve spent four years chasing our son and you can still stand. He’s got me knackered out after just 3 days!”

Ginny chuckled softly as she ran her fingers up into his hair. “Poor Harry, was it the glass of water he insisted upon or coming out to say goodnight to me three times that has you so tired?”

“You heard us?”

“Of course I did, the flat isn’t that large you know. He’s got you wrapped around his little finger.” She said, looking into the fire that was crackling in front of them.

“I suppose he does, doesn’t he?” Harry said, kissing Ginny’s shoulder. “So now that you’re off for the next few days what shall we do tomorrow?” She stiffened at his question. She knew precisely what they were going to do tomorrow and it involved St. Mungo’s. Harry felt her tense and looked at her curiously. “What is it Love?”

“Well I thought it might be nice for us to spend a bit of time alone tomorrow.” She said quietly. “Mrs. Edgecombe has been missing her days with James since you came home. And I think he misses her.” She grabbed his hand and held it in hers. “Harry I have an appointment at St. Mungo’s tomorrow and I’d like you to come with me.” She stated quickly.

Harry immediately went into concerned mode. “Is everything ok? Ginny whatever it is – I’ll be there.”

“Harry – calm down – as far as I know everything is ok. At least it has been.” She said calmly, taking his face in her hands, she kissed him softly. “Mr. Potter, it seems that we are going to have a new addition to our little family.” She sat back and watched to see if her words had taken root in his brain.

“That’s not a shock Ginny, Ron and Hermione – “ He began, but was cut off by Ginny’s hand covering his mouth.

“Harry Potter – don’t you dare continue that sentence. I’m not talking about Ron and Hermione and the twins. I’m talking about us you prat! I’m pregnant.”

Harry felt his heart swell with joy. Grabbing her in his arms he hugged her tight. “Really? You are? How? When?” He asked excitedly.

“Really. I am. Seems like it happened the regular way, and I’ve estimated that it happened the night you left.” She answered, laughing at the way his green eyes lit up as she confirmed his answers.

“Bloody hell Ginny! This is fantastic!” He cried, kissing her again. “Does anyone else know?”

“No – only you and I know and Healer Finnegan.”

“Seamus is a healer? I always wondered what career he ended up pursuing” Harry asked.

“No! Not Seamus –Ambrosia Finnegan is her full name. Do you honestly think I’d let Seamus Finnegan be my healer?”

Harry paused for a moment and thought about it. He definitely didn’t want Seamus Finnegan that close to his soon to be wife.

“I suppose not – what time do we need to go to St. Mungo’s tomorrow?”

“Around eleven and I thought we might visit Tonks afterwards. You’ll be so happy with her progress!” She said excitedly, pausing when she noticed Harry was staring at her with a silly look on his face. “What? Do I have something on my face?” She asked.

Harry shook his head and cupped her face in his hands. “You’re beautiful Gin. I love you – you do know that don’t you?”

Ginny blushed and smiled at his compliment. “We’ll see if you feel the same way when I’m waddling around like an overfed pygmy puff! The joy of impending fatherhood is fogging your thoughts right now.”

Harry laughed at her and pulled her close. “When we will tell James? And your Mum and Dad? And Ron and Hermione and the rest of the family?”

“It’ll have to be this weekend. Everyone will be home and Mum’s going to make me try on my dress this weekend and when it doesn’t fit she’ll wonder why? I’m into my fourth month, so we’re past the critical stage of pregnancy.” She answered, snuggling down into his arms, warmth spreading through her.

“How big is the baby?” Harry asked, pressing his lips into her hair, the need to keep touching her taking over.

“Just tiny still, by the end of the month he or she will be around 4 ounces. But feel! My stomach already has a tiny bump!” She explained excitedly, guiding one of Harry’s hands under the hem of her shirt to lie on her stomach. “Can you feel it?”

Harry’s fingers trailed gently over her stomach, settling finally on the small bump she indicated. “Ginny, this is amazing.” He said, awestruck as he nodded into her neck from behind.

Ginny shifted so that she could look Harry in the eye. “It is isn’t it?” She kissed him gently and smiled, amazed at the emotions she could see swimming in his eyes. “We should get to bed. Mummy’s need their sleep.”

*~*

Ginny and Harry were escorted into a small room on the maternity floor of St. Mungo’s. The room was painted a sunny yellow colour and had a bed in the middle. On top of the pillow was a hospital shirt for Ginny to change into while they waited for Healer Finnegan to arrive.

“Harry – why don’t you pull that chair over to the side of the bed, you can sit there while we wait.” She commented as she changed and lay down on the bed to wait. Harry moved the free chair over to her left side and looked down at her.

“I love you.” He said, leaning down to kiss her.

“That’s exactly what I like to hear from an expecting parent!” Healer Finnegan said as she swept into the room and closed the door behind her.

Harry straightened immediately and felt his face grow red. Ginny laughed and took his hand in hers, letting her fingers stroke the back of his hand and give him a bit of support.

“Good morning Healer Finnegan. How are you today?” She asked.

“Well Healer Weasley – I’m doing just fine, but today the more important question is how are you doing? But before you answer that question; please allow me to introduce myself to Daddy.” She held out her hand towards Harry. “Mr. Potter I presume?”

Harry took her hand and shook it firmly. “Yes, that’s me, nice to meet you Healer Finnegan.”

Healer Finnegan looked Harry up and down and turned to Ginny. “No wonder he’s been witch weekly’s sexiest wizard alive! I see where James gets his good looks from now!” She teased, laughing when his cheeks flamed pink once more. “Now Ginny dear – how have you been feeling?” She asked, picking up her quill and parchment.

“Quite good actually, my morning sickness isn’t as near as bad as it was with James. I’ve taken that anti-nausea potion you prescribed when I need it but other than that, everything seems fine.”

“Excellent – morning sickness like you experienced with James usually isn’t as bad with the second child.” She finished writing the notes she was making and moved over beside Harry and Ginny. “Shall we hear the heart beat then?”

When both parents nodded excitedly, she lifted the hem of Ginny’s shirt and placed the tip of her wand on her belly. As she said the spell, the sound of a fast, but regular little heart beat filled the room.

Ginny squeezed Harry’s hand in happiness as he looked down at her in wonder. “It’s so fast!” He said, leaning down to kiss her softly on the forehead.

“That’s a nice, strong heart beat.” Healer Finnegan commented as she drew the tip of her wand away from Ginny’s stomach to make a fine grey mist form. “Did you want to know the sex?” She asked as she prepared to go over the next portion of the check up.

She watched as Ginny looked at Harry and he looked back at her. Both shook their heads and Ginny answered, “I think we’d like it to be a surprise.” She said, watching as a picture formed in the mist above her midsection.

“Alright, now here is your baby.” She pointed to various areas of the mist. “Here you’ll see their spine is forming nicely, and if you look closely you can see their hands and feet are nearly developed. “

As Healer Finnegan relayed some more of what they would expect in the coming months, Harry watched the tiny form in the mist turn over and move their fingers. The action made his heart constrict and his eyes grow damp. He was amazed that something so tiny could affect him so. He felt Ginny squeeze his fingers in a gesture of reassurance.

“Well that about sums up everything you’re going to need to know for now. Although this should be a refresher for you Ginny! I’d like to see you again in a month, just to check and make sure everything is coming along nicely.” Healer Finnegan finished, making a few last notes on her parchment. She then took a vial out and guided the mist into it. “I’ll have the medi-witch make a replica of this and you will be able to take this home with you. Ginny, you know the incantation you need to get the mist to re-form?” Continuing as she nodded. “Wonderful, now remember that this only shows your baby at this stage. A new mist will have to be conjured next check up.”

Ginny nodded and sat up on the bed. “Thank you Healer Finnegan.”

“You’re quite welcome Ginny.” The elder witch replied and turned to Harry who had become quite silent after the mist had formed an image of his growing child. “Mr. Potter, you have become awfully quiet.”

Ginny laughed and placed a kiss on Harry’s cheek as he blushed. “Oh don’t tease him so Ambrosia – he’ll never want to come again!”

“Of course he’ll come back Ginny – he has that eager father look to him. I expect he’ll be on top of everything that happens in this baby’s growth.”

Harry blushed again and seemed to find his lost voice. “Thank you Healer Finnegan. You’ve read me right. I plan on being here for every step of the pregnancy with Ginny.” He stated, a hint of pride in his voice.

“Excellent. Now Ginny – we have a few more examinations to do. Harry you may want to go for a bit of a walk. Unless you’d like him here?” Healer Finnegan asked, looking between the two of them.

“No, Harry dear – you don’t have to stay for this part of my appointment. It’ll just be a lot of poking and prodding of me – no fun baby mists or heartbeats to listen to. Why don’t you head down to visit Tonks and I’ll join you when Healer Finnegan is finished with me?” Ginny answered, squeezing his hand tightly.

Harry nodded, Ron had so graciously filled him in on some of the appointments Hermione had dragged him to and knew he didn’t need to be present for that. Giving Ginny a quick kiss on the lips, he headed down to Tonks’ room.

*~*

Harry made his way to Tonks’ hospital room with a spring in his step and happiness in his heart. He was going to be a father! As he walked through the corridors at St. Mungo’s he wondered if this was how Ron had felt the first time he had heard the twins’ heartbeats. Excitement bubbled up in his chest as he thought about the future. He was finally going to be able to settle down and have a family. Smiling to himself as he walked, he was glad no one was able to read his thoughts – the twins would say he was sounding like a teenage witch!

Approaching the partially open door to the room his former partner was in, Harry could almost feel the difference in the atmosphere surrounding it – like a fog had been lifted. Knocking as he entered, Harry moved into the room to find Tonks and Lupin bent over a game of wizard’s chess at the end of her bed.

Lupin looked up first as Harry neared the bed, nodding he touched Tonks’ arm lightly to alert her to her visitor. Harry looked at the couple as they sat there. Lupin looked particularly tired, the lines on his face seemed deeper than usual – but Harry could see love in his eyes and as Harry watched them he wondered if the same sort of love was reflected in his eyes when Ginny was around. He expected it was.

When Tonks looked up Harry could tell although she was vastly improved from the time he had left – anything would have been an improvement over her prone form lying in the bed – but she still wasn’t the same Tonks he grew to appreciate and care about. In his eyes, her vibrancy was gone.

“Good morning Harry.” Lupin said, welcoming him into the room.

“Hello Remus.” Harry said with a smile as he walked over to the bed they sat on, sitting in the chair that Lupin offered.

“Nymphadora, you remember Harry don’t you?” He asked, gently gathering her hands in his.

Tonks looked from Lupin and then to Harry, nodding shyly; the recognition that she knew him there in her dark eyes. “Wotcher Harry Potter.”

“Hey Tonks. How’s things?” He said, feeling quite awkward. Here sat his former partner, a person he had spent many a night with sharing stories of their dreams and hopes for the future and he couldn’t think of a thing to say more than to ask her how things were.

“Well, I’ll be happy to leave this place.” She said, her voice laced with honesty causing Harry to laugh at her words. In that simple statement was a trace of the old Tonks.

“Well then. I’ll take that as you’re improving.” He said, watching as Lupin cleared away the chess set from the bed.


“As soon as I get the ok from the healers, I’m going home. Each day I’m recalling more and more. The healers say they may not get the entire curse out but hope to get most of it. Now I hear you’ve finally come to your senses, have you? You’re going to make Ginny Weasley an honest woman?”

Harry’s cheeks flushed pink. “How –“ He began.

“How do I know about your upcoming nuptials? Ginny told me and then Mr. Lupin confirmed for me.” Tonks smiled slightly, a sparkle hitting her eyes. “I do remember a few things here and there. And one of the memories I’ve remembered most about you is the fondness for your red-headed witch.”

“Speaking of red-headed witches –“ Lupin said, returning to the bed to perch on it next to Tonks. “Have you told Ginny about your decision?”

Harry nodded, watching while Tonks unconsciously moved closer to the old werewolf. Ginny had given him the up to date news on her recovery, but had mentioned that Tonks still didn’t know that she and Remus had been planning on marrying when the war had ended. In fact, as far as Ginny could tell, Tonks did not even recall that she had been in love with Remus Lupin. But Harry could tell Tonks subconsciously knew she was in love with her constant visitor, if he was to perform legilimency on her, he’d find those thoughts buried deep in her brain.

“I’ve told her.” He said.

“Told me what?” Ginny asked as she came into the room.

“About my decision to change careers.” He said, rising to meet her and hooking an arm around her waist and pulling her close to him.

She nodded. “Ah I see. Good morning Remus, Tonks.”

“Hello Ginny.”

“Wotcher Ginny. Someone’s already been by this morning to give me the elixir.” Tonks said.

“That’s great Tonks. It’s always comforting to hear that someone is doing their job when I’m not around. I actually was here for myself today.” She looked up at Harry expectantly. “Did you tell them?”

He looked down to see her chocolate eyes sparkling with excitement. “I wasn’t sure if I should.” He commented, rubbing his hand along her back.

“Tell us what?” Lupin asked, watching the young couple curiously.

“Well Remus is like a father to you. Of course we can tell them.” Ginny stated, playing with the front of his robes.

“Tell us what?” Tonks then asked.

“But we haven’t told James yet – or your parents. Shouldn’t they know first?”

Ginny sighed in exasperation. “Oh Harry - really! Remus and Tonks won’t tell everyone else before we’ve had a chance to.”

“Tell us what?” Lupin asked once more, finally getting their attention.

Harry hesitated, looking down at Ginny who squeezed his arm gently to tell him to go ahead.

“Well, you see, Ginny’s pregnant.” He said quietly.

“Oh Harry – you can’t just say that.” Ginny said, giving him a light shove. She looked over to Lupin and Tonks. Her initial worries about being pregnant was now gone and the anticipation about having a new baby was taking over. “We’re having a baby!” She cried. “I had a checkup this morning.”

Lupin smiled as he rose and walked to where they stood. He shook Harry’s hand and enveloped Ginny in a hug. “That’s wonderful news! Lily and James would be so happy for you.”
“Thank you. We’ll be telling the family this weekend.” Ginny explained, linking her hand with Harry’s.

“Congratulations.” Tonks said happily from her spot on the bed. “Do you know what you’re going to have?”

“No – we want to be surprised.” Harry answered, a smile spreading across his face.

“Harry – we should get going. Mrs. Edgecombe will be waiting for us to get back.” Ginny said, placing a hand near his elbow.

“Oh yeah – right.“ He said, squeezing her hand before he walked over to his old partner to give her a quick hug. “Tonks – I’ll come by soon ok? Don’t give Lupin too much trouble ok?”

Tonks laughed as she looked at Lupin and blushed. “I’ll try not to. But don’t forget to visit Harry.”

“I won’t.” He promised. “Remus – I’ll be by headquarters at the start of the week? We can talk about our plan of action.”

Lupin nodded. “That will be fine. I’ll let Mad-Eye Moody know. He’s been at me for the past week to contact you to come in.”

Harry nodded and Ginny bid her goodbyes before the two headed back to the flat.

*~*

Ginny sat down on the couch with James, pulling him close. They had returned to the flat just as he was getting up from his nap and he was still rather groggy. They had intended to get back by lunch but Harry had convinced her to take a side trip to Diagon Alley for a bite to eat at the Leaky Cauldron. She had flooed Mrs. Edgecombe who had told them to take as long as they wanted so after lunch they had popped by to visit the twins at the joke shop. Fred and George had been so delighted to see that Harry was home they tried out their latest experiment on him. It had taken all four of them sending various shrinking charms to return his feet to their normal size. Once that had happened, Ginny insisted they stop by Flourish and Blotts before heading home.

She now motioned for Harry to join them on the couch and Ginny pulled a book out of the bag by her feet. Once Harry sat down beside James, she presented their son with the book.

“Quidditch-Bug, Daddy and I have something to talk to you about.” She said, looking down at him. He looked from her to Harry and then down at the book that now sat in his lap. The cover was brightly coloured and contained an image of a family smiling out at him. There was a mother and a father and a boy that was James’ age and in the mother’s arms was a little bundle swaddled in a blanket.

“Mummy? What’s the cover say?” He asked.

Ginny put her arm around his shoulders and let her fingers smooth down his unruly hair. She used her free hand to point at each of the words while she read them out. “I’m a Big Brother.” She answered, looking over his head at Harry, who was staring at the two of them silently. Ginny rolled her eyes at him and wondered exactly how the man she loved could save the wizarding world from the brink of destruction but couldn’t chime in with her when talking to their son.

Ginny turned the cover to begin reading the book, answering all of James’ questions as they went along. “And that’s why I’m the best big brother!” She finished.

“Mummy? That’s a good book.” James answered, letting his fingers roam over the last page.

“It was wasn’t it? James, do you know why Mummy brought this book home?” She asked. When he shook his head she continued. “Well Quidditch-Bug – Mummy’s going to have a baby and that means you are going to be a big brother too.”

“Really? But your belly isn’t big like Aunt ‘Mione’s.” He said, pointing his finger at her still flat stomach.

“Well remember how Aunt Hermione’s used to be small too? The baby is only really tiny right now.”

“Will the baby like me?” He asked, looking at Harry this time, seeming to want an answer from him this time.

“Of course the baby will love you. And do you know what? You’re a really lucky little boy because you have uncles that are all big brothers to someone. And whenever you want to know something about being a big brother – they will be able to help you.” Harry answered.

“Even Uncle Fred and Uncle George?” James wondered.

“Well maybe not them. Stick with Bill or Ron.” Harry said quickly, wiggling his feet in his shoes and remembering that afternoon.

A/N: I'm quite sorry about the bit of delay that has been this update - life got in the way for a bit and then a bit of writer's block. But if you've made it to the end of the chapter you may have noticed it's a bit of a beast! I hope everyone enjoyed it and I'm now off to start the next chapter. Ah - a weekend at the Burrow - that should be fun!

Chapter 29: A quiet weekend at the Burrow?
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

I own nothing but the plot.

As Ginny flooed into the Burrow’s living room with James perched on her hip, she could hear the usual Saturday afternoon chaos happening throughout the house. Knowing Harry was only a few seconds behind her, she moved to the side and to set James down on his feet and brush the soot off of his robes. Feeling the fire flame behind her, she heard Harry’s feet step into the living room.

“Ginny I told you I would floo with James.” He said impatiently, reaching down to pull her up by her elbow.

“And I told you I was perfectly fine to carry him Harry.” Ginny responded as she pulled her arm away, her voice low so no one would hear what they were talking about.

“Ginny you can’t lift heavy things.” Harry implored.

“Sweet Merlin Harry – he’s four. He barely weighs 2 stone soaking wet – if that. He’s not heavy.” She whispered, while she brushed the soot off of her own robes and looked about for curious ears.

As Harry was about to counter that 2 stones was in fact heavy, Molly noticed them standing in the living room.

“Harry!” She cried, rushing over to envelope him in a tight embrace. “It’s wonderful to have you back!”

He pulled out of her arms, taking a deep breath of air into his lungs. It never ceased to amaze him that a woman of her size could do that to him – every time she hugged him. “Mrs. Weasley – Molly – it’s wonderful to be back.”

“Well I can see they fed you next to nothing while you were on that mission of yours. You three arrived just in time, lunch is on the table.” Molly scooped James up on her hip. “Hello there my little James – are you hungry?” She asked, kissing him on the cheek as he nodded. “Come now you two, you can finish your bickering later. Let’s get to the table.” Molly finished and swept James out of the room, not waiting for Harry and Ginny to follow.

They walked into the kitchen to find the entire Weasley family sitting about, minus Charlie as he was still off chasing dragons in Romania and Percy who had moved to America once the war was over to work on International Wizarding relations. Saying their hellos the couple sat down on the bench as Molly set James down on one long bench beside Ginny and began to set him a plate.

“Mum – he doesn’t need that much.” Ginny said reaching for the plate and getting her hand shooed away as her mother set the plate down.

“He’s a growing boy Ginny. He needs lots to eat.” She responded, placing a kiss on her grandson’s head before heading to her own seat. “Harry tuck in now. There’s plenty here.”

“Yes Harry – tuck in – Mum made extra just for you. George and I haven’t been able to eat anything all day as she was waiting for you to arrive.” Fred said from his seat on the other side of the table.

“Our own mother - making us starve because we’re having someone famous at dinner.” Fred chimed in, throwing his hand to his forehead and falling against his brother before the two of them fell into a fit of laughter.

Harry blushed at the twin’s attention – he knew they were kidding of course – but it still embarrassed him to have the attention drawn to him.

“Honestly you two – I did not say you couldn’t eat. I told you to leave the treacle tart alone. I know they are your favorite Harry dear.” Molly said, passing the basket of bread to Ron who sat at her left.

“Now that you’re home Harry – we need to go flying.” He said, grabbing a roll out of the basket before placing one on Hermione’s plate. “Who’s up for a quick pick up game after lunch?”

Harry nodded enthusiastically; it had been ages since he had been on a broomstick for pure enjoyment. As he dug into his potatoes, his mind wandered and he began to think about flying.

“Ok – it’ll be me, Harry and Ginny for one team. George, Fred and Bill can be on the other. One keeper, one seeker and a chaser/beater for protection – Hermione, Fleur, Amie and James can watch from below.” Ron planned out excitedly. He immediately began to eat faster, eager to get into the sky.

“Honestly you would think a man that plays professional quidditch wouldn’t care about playing for fun. You can be quite mad you know that.” Hermione said as she buttered her roll. “Have you thought that perhaps the rest of us want to catch up with Harry before you drag him off into the sky above us?” She asked, reaching for her goblet of milk.

“Hermione – you can talk to Harry whenever you please – it’s a fine day out. Perfect conditions for a fun game of quidditch.” Ron continued. As he was about to launch into a detailed explanation on weather conditions, a small voice piped up.

“Mummy can’t play quidditch Uncle Ron.” James said. “She’s having a baby – just like Aunt ‘Mione.” He stated before he started to happily eat his carrots.

At her son’s words, Ginny felt her stomach fall to the bottom of her toes. Her mind raced with scenarios of how the rest of her family was going to react to this news. Ginny looked from her son, who sat on her right, to Harry whose hand now hovered in front of him, his fork shaking slightly and was now turning a rather pale shade of white. It was then, she realized that the usual ruckus of lunch had died and each pair of eyes around the table was concentrating on them. She closed her eyes briefly and willed her stomach to calm itself. They could handle this, she could handle this. Anything couldn’t be as hard as telling her mum and then her dad and finally her brothers about being pregnant and alone. Now Harry was home and he was committed fully to her and to James and to the baby. It just meant she’d be pregnant when she got married. That wasn’t so bad was it?

Ginny’s hand, which was under the table clutching her napkin, reached over to squeeze Harry’s knee affectionately. This hadn’t been the way she expected to tell her family the news.

Arthur, who up until now had been quite quiet at the table, was the first to speak. “Ginny? Harry? Is what James saying true?” He asked, looking at the two of them.

“I’m going to be a big brother! Mummy read me a book all about it.” James said happily, wondering why the adults at the table had become so quiet.

“It’s true Dad.” Ginny confirmed. “We’re having another baby.” She looked nervously at her father and then to her mother, both of which shared a similar look of shock on their faces.

“Bloody hell Harry –“ George began.

“You’ve got strong swimmers!” Fred finished.

“George! Fred! Be nice to your sister!” Molly scolded.

“Sorry Mum. Harry. Can we name this one?” Fred started.

“We’ve got loads of good names.” George continued, reaching in his robes to pull out a large roll of parchment. “Of course – we’d been planning letting Ron have first dibs on the list – “

Fred grabbed the list from his brother and unraveled it, his finger running down the parchment, settling on something. “But as you know our dear brother ended up as a Prefect. An embarrassment we shall never live down. So we shall bestow our lovely names upon the offspring of the chosen one.”

George grabbed the parchment back and pointed to an untidy scrawl on the parchment. “Aha! What do you think about Buija? It means spark plug in Honduras!” He said excitedly.

“Ah yes – Buija – it could pay homage to our dear papa.” Fred said, looking down the table at his father.

Ginny laughed, she had to hand it to the twins – they could lighten up the mood in the room like no one’s business. Their impishness had infected her and she decided to try having a bit of fun with Harry. Closing her hand over his she stroked his palm with her fingers.

“Harry – that is an interesting name.” She began, playing with his fingers and looking up into his eyes where she could see the nervousness in their green depths. “Perhaps we should consider it?” She asked, hoping that he wouldn’t be able to see the amusement in her eyes.

Harry choked slightly on the drink of pumpkin juice he had just swallowed. He looked away from Ginny and seen that the rest of the family had returned their attention to him and Ginny instead of the twins. With the exception of Ron who was looking annoyed by their comments still.

“Um – well it’s an interesting name - Honduran you say?” He began, setting his goblet cup down and picking up his napkin to wipe his mouth, all the while continuing to clutch Ginny’s hand under the table. Even though he knew he had a place in the Weasley family, he also knew that being involved with their youngest made him come under scrutiny every so often. He feared that after lunch Molly and Arthur may take him aside and inform him they had finally realized he was the bastard they always feared he could be and cast him from the Burrow. He let this float in his head for just a second before he cast it out. No matter how they felt about him, he knew that if Ginny loved him they’d accept the fact that he couldn’t keep his pants on. He took a breath to continue. “And although Buija is a beautiful name – I think we’ll stick with some more traditional names.” He finished, looking at the twins.

“Thank Merlin for that. Besides – if Ginny had actually let you agree to Buija, we’d have known that you were both off your nuts.” Fred said, as he began ceremoniously rolling the parchment back up before slipping it into his robes. “However – if the two of you get stuck, we have more names for you to choose from - all with brilliant meanings.”

“Thanks Guys.” Harry said, chuckling at them as he picked up his fork. Taking a bite of the slice of chicken and vegetable pie in front of him, he smiled as the tastes flooded his mouth. He did miss Molly’s cooking while he was gone. “This is delicious Molly. You have to be the best cook in all of England.”

Molly blushed slightly as Harry’s compliment as her face broke out into a wide smile. “Thank you Harry dear. Would you like more?” She asked, getting up to fix him a plate of seconds before he could answer.

Harry gladly accepted the overflowing plate that she set in front of him but as he was about to dig into the generous helping of potato, he felt an elbow in his side. He looked at Ginny with a questioning expression. She gestured to the table, tell them she mouthed.

Harry cocked one black eyebrow at her and received an eye roll for it. Auror duty. She mouthed at him.

Recognition dawned on his face, nodding he cleared his throat. “Um – we have one more bit of news.” He said, watching as each set of Weasley eyes made their way back onto him. “Well, as I’m sure you’ve all heard, we caught Draco Malfoy during my last mission away. Now that that bit of unfinished business is over with – I’ve decided to leave active Auror duty. I’m going civilian, well, that’s what Mad-Eye Moody calls it. All that’s left is to go through the trial.”

There was a moment of silence before excitement broke out around the table. The twins shouted ‘brilliant’ simultaneously and slapped hands. Ron jumped from his seat and clapped Harry on the back. Hermione said congratulations from her seat, as she rubbed her stomach. Molly smiled with tears shimmering in her eyes, exclaiming that she was overjoyed he’d no longer be in imminent danger on the Weasley kitchen clock. Arthur shook his hand and asked what the plans would be and Bill suggested he look into work at Gringotts, telling him he’d still get the adventure he was sure Harry craved, but still be able to stay close to home. Fleur told him she was happy, but the congratulations were cut short when Amie started to fuss from her play pen on the floor. Harry smiled, while Molly told the lot of them to shush as they were disturbing the baby. He felt a calm happiness spread over him, and he knew he was where he belonged.

*~*

Ginny sat back against the trunk of the oak tree that stood at the edge of the meadow and looked up into the sky. High above her, five figures were swooping and dashing from one spot to another as they played quidditch. Even though they were far above her, she could pick Harry out. Aside from the fact that he was the lone dark haired figure on a broomstick, she could make him out by the way he turned sharply on his broomstick, the crisp way he flew in a straight line as he dove for the quaffle and by the way he looped back up and evaded a bludger that was shot at him by Fred. Immediately after supper Bill, Fred, George, Ron and Harry had rushed to the broomshed and took off into the sky. Because the players were uneven, Bill had taken on the role of referee. At last count, the twins were up by a score of 25, leaving Ron and Harry to play catch up.

“My, my, he does look good on a broom.” She mumbled to herself, feeling the same sort of longing go through her that she used to experience when she watched him on the quidditch pitch at Hogwarts. Back then, the feelings weren’t as intense as they were now. It wasn’t until after Hogwarts that she found out that his agility easily transferred to the moments they spent alone.

As she continued to watch, she heard Hermione waddle over to where she was sitting. Conjuring up a chair, the pregnant witch sat herself down beside Ginny. “You’ve been out here for almost an hour and it’s freezing out. I think you’re as daft as those five up there. How can they still be playing?” She asked, looking up into the sky and shaking her brown bushy curls.

“Come now Hermione, there’s nothing better than being up there on a broomstick. Of course, I’m rather selfish sitting out here. Watching Harry up there makes me want to drool.”

“Honestly Ginny!” Her friend cried in a scolding tone.

Ginny just laughed and rolled her eyes at her. Leaning forward, she looked Hermione straight in the eye. “Well as Harry and I will finally be married soon, I can say those scandalous sorts of things and can you honestly tell me that you’ve never lusted after my brother when he’s in his quidditch uniform?” She watched as a pink blush crept into Hermione’s cheeks. “Aha! I knew it! Mind you, it’s slightly revolting to me that you think of my brother that way. But I knew you had to. Every girl loves a wizard in a quidditch uniform. I’ve always loved the way Harry looked in his Gryffindor robes. In fact, I dare say if Harry follows Ron into professional quidditch we may end up with more babies than Mum and Dad!”

Hermione looked from her sister-in-law up to the sky and back again. Rubbing her hands along her arms, she shivered at the chill in the air. “Every single one of you should seriously consider checking into the Lockhart wing at St. Mungo’s. I’ll be inside when you come realize just how cold it is this afternoon. That or someone loses a toe to frostbite!”

Ginny watched as Hermione rose from her chair and banished it with a flick of her wand before she strode off towards the house as fast as her pregnant form could take her. Laughing, she sat back against the tree and refreshed the warming charm she had placed on herself before Hermione had arrived. Sometimes that girl can be such a muggle. She thought to herself as she made herself comfortable to wait until Harry and her brothers were finished playing.

Harry touched down swiftly and felt his face break out in a smile as he watched Ginny approach them. Her cheeks were slightly flushed as she wrapped her arms around his neck and turned her face up for a kiss. Harry willing obliged her, letting his lips near hers as he drew her closer.

“Oi! Harry’s touching Ginny again!” Fred shouted from across the meadow

“Don’t worry Fred! She can’t get pregnant while she’s already is!” Came the identical sounding answer.

Ginny twisted in Harry’s arms and shouted harshly at her brothers. “The lot of you can just shut it!” She yelled, pointing at the twins. “Or the next time either one of you ever take a poor unsuspecting girl home, I’ll be sure to fill them in on all those deep dark secrets you wouldn’t want them to know and I’ll be sure to talk really loudly so that Mum will be able to hear as well!”

The twins stopped in their tracks and looked at their younger sister as she stood glaring at them, a murderous look in her brown eyes. Fred looked at George and he looked at Fred and the two of them smiled at Ginny as they turned to approach the couple while Ron and Bill touched down.

“Ginny – “

“Dear sister – “

“You know we were only teasing – “

“So let’s just keep all those secrets to ourselves?”

The twins stopped in front of them and Ginny could see the pleading in their eyes. She looked from one to the other, contemplating whether or not to let them off the hook.

“Well, you see – I’m pregnant at the moment – I’d like to say I will keep those secrets to myself but well I can’t promise anything. And now that you’ve interrupted me and my future husband, we’ll be going indoors to find a quiet spot where no twins can bother us.”
As the last word came from her mouth she stepped out of Harry’s embrace to grab his hand and pull him across the meadow the Burrow leaving the twins behind.

*~*

“Checkmate Harry.” Arthur said as he moved his knight in front of Harry’s king. While it destroyed his king, Harry looked up and smiled at the Weasley patriarch.

“Once more I see where Ron has inherited his mastery of chess from.” He said as he started to clean up his broken pieces. “The day I soundly beat one of you at chess I’m taking an ad out in the daily prophet.” Arthur chuckled at Harry’s admission and started to sweep his pieces off into a case where once locked away they would rebuild themselves and prepare for their next battle.

“You’re an admiral player Harry.” Arthur replied and glanced over to the left of their table. “But I think you were slightly distracted by our present company.” He mentioned with a smile while he picked up the chess case and rose from his chair. “I think I’ll go find Molly. She mentioned she wanted to talk about the wedding with the two of you.”

As Arthur left the room, Harry looked over to find Ginny sitting quietly on the sofa by the fire, a sleeping James tucked beside her, his head in her lap, as she read one of her healing journals. A wave of love washed over him as he watched her free hand move down to their sleeping son’s head and stroke it gently, pushing the fringe of black hair off of his forehead. James was curled up against Ginny’s thigh, a small home sewn quilt tucked around him. His face was peaceful in rest, his little mouth partly open as his breathed evenly. Harry watched as Ginny looked up from her reading and caught his eye. She shot a quick flash of a smile at him before ducking her head back down to continue reading.

He moved over behind the sofa and began to knead Ginny’s shoulders, receiving a small purr of satisfaction from her. Laying her journal on the arm of the sofa, she leaned her head back to look at him. “Lost again did you?” She asked, as she rubbed a soft cheek over the knuckles of his hand on her shoulder.

“I did. Your father seems to think it was the fact that I had a distraction of the red-headed variety in the room.” He said, as he knelt against the back of the sofa and kissed the mass of red hair he loved so.

“I’m a distraction am I?” She said softly, feeling his warm breath in her hair.

“The best kind.” He whispered in her ear, letting one of his arms reach down to grab her hand in his and link their fingers.

They sat for a moment in silence, the only sounds in the room coming from their sleeping son and the fire that cracked merrily in front of them. The moment only broken as a quiet cough came from the doorway. The couple looked up to see Molly and Arthur standing in there.

“Hi Mum. Dad.” Ginny said, watching the older pair come into the room. In Molly’s arms was the big wedding book she was using to plan the future nuptials. Her parent’s sat down on the couch opposite her and James.

“Ginny dear, I think now would be a good time to talk about the wedding. Seeing as everyone has gone home and little James is sleeping.” Molly set the book on her lap and pulled it open to a page half way through the book. “Harry dear, would you mind taking James upstairs quickly? His room is just off the second floor landing.”

Harry nodded and picked up James, letting his head lay against his shoulder. As he reached the doorway, he heard Ginny rise from her spot on the sofa. “I’ll come with you Harry.” She said, pushing his up the stairs.

She followed behind him, watching the identical sets of black hair climb the stairs to the second floor. Reaching the landing, Ginny slipped in front of him and led the way to the room James would be sleeping in. Pushing the door to the side, she walked over to the bed to pull back the covers. Smoothing the sheet back, she watched quietly while Harry set their son’s prone form down on the flannel. He tenderly tucked the blankets around James and laid a kiss on his forehead. James rolled over onto his side as Harry straightened up – his hands seeking out his stuffed snitch. Harry glanced down as he felt Ginny’s arm snake around his waist.

“He’s always so peaceful when he sleeps.” She said quietly, her arm rubbing his back softly while they watched James sleep. “We should probably go down to talk with Mum and Dad. I think she’s been waiting all day to get us alone. Our announcements at lunch threw her off.” She rose up on tiptoes to kiss Harry’s cheek, “Come on – let’s go face Mum. We can watch our little angel later.” Taking his hand, Ginny led him out of the room and closed the door to James’ room over before headed down the stairs.

Walking into the living room, Ginny and Harry were assaulted by white lace and ribbons flying about. Looking for her parents she found them on the couch, locked in a somewhat passionate embrace, totally oblivious to the activities around them.

“Mum! Dad!” Ginny cried waving her arms about her head as ribbons tried to entangle themselves in her hair.

Molly pulled away from her husband and yanked her wand from her sleeve. Pointing it towards the ceiling, Molly stunned the enchanted ribbons and lace causing it to fall onto the floor at Ginny and Harry’s feet.

“Ginny! Harry! James is tucked in nicely?” She asked, tucking her wand back into her sleeve and patting down her mussed hair.

“Yes…. He didn’t even wake up when Harry set him down.” Ginny said, deciding to ignore what they had walked in on. She sat down on the sofa, pulling Harry down beside her. “Some ribbons get out of control?” She asked, noticing that her father was quite quiet and very interested in something on the ceiling.

“Oh yes – I opened the book and they just exploded into the air. Your father and I were just trying to figure a way out on how to get them under control before you and Harry returned from upstairs.”

Ginny sat back against the sofa, snuggling up against Harry’s side, pulling his arm around her and raised an eyebrow at her mother’s explanation. It was an unlikely story that the book had just exploded, Ginny wasn’t sure what it was about that sofa her parents were sitting on, but when they sat there and went unattended they acted like teenagers.

“I see. Well thank goodness you got them under control when you did. Imagine if Harry and I had been longer upstairs.” She said dryly.

“Yes, yes. Now, let’s talk about the wedding shall we?” Molly said quickly, changing the subject. “Harry – you’ve been home for a week now. We have a few details to tie up before the ceremony. First, the wedding date – if the two of you still want to hold it two weeks from now it’ll be around Halloween - “ Molly began as she began to flip through the pages of the book on the coffee table.

“Actually Molly, there’s something I wanted to mention to all of you.” Harry interrupted, looking over at Ginny as she sat beside him. “Draco Malfoy’s trial is supposed to go ahead starting next week and there is no knowing how long it will take the Wizengamot to decide on a ruling.”

“Well he’s obviously guilty.” Ginny stated, a feeling of foreboding gathering in her even as Harry tightened his arm around her in a reassuring hug.

“I know Love. But they’re going to need to go through all of the evidence to reach the ruling we all know they are going to decide on. And –“

He was cut off as Ginny leapt off the couch and stood in front of him, her hands on her hips and tears welling up in her eyes. “Harry Potter – if you think that we are postponing our wedding because of that git Draco Malfoy – you have another thing coming!” She shouted, staring down at him.

“But Ginny – “ Harry began, rising to try and calm her down but having no luck as she pushed him away and began to pace.

“No buts Harry! I’ve waited too long to marry you. I’m not waiting any longer!” She said, her tears finally falling over her cheeks.

“Dear – Harry has a point – it would be horridly stressful for the two of you to marry in the middle of that trial. Harry will be in the spotlight. Everything the two of you do will be under scrutiny. Do you want that?” Molly asked calmly.

“Mum, I know all about that – but who knows how long the trial will drag on for? Until Christmas? Next Easter? The birth of baby number two? James’ fifth birthday? We don’t know! I refuse to let Draco Malfoy run my life from his cell block in Azkaban. Not to mention if I wait much longer to marry you Harry – I’ll be as big as a house and won’t fit in my dress. Magical alterations can only go so far Mum! You’ve mentioned that yourself. Bad enough we’ve already had a child before we’re married, I was hoping we’d at least commit to one another before the second one arrived!” Ginny shouted, from where she stopped pacing near the fireplace. Her shoulders shook slightly as her tears began to fall more freely after her rant, making Harry’s heart twist with worry.

“Ginny – please calm down. You know being this upset can affect the baby.” He said as he made his way over to where she stood. All he wanted to do was make her feel better. He reached out to stroke her shoulder and was met with another shove in the arm to push him away. Her brown eyes dark with emotion even as they filled with more tears.

“You know what will make me feel better Harry Potter? If you would just sod off. You may want to think about what I said. I don’t want to wait to get married. I don’t care if you are in middle of a trial – Mad-Eye Moody can arrange for us to have one bloody day of happiness. I’m going to bed – don’t bother joining me tonight.” She shouted at Harry before looking at her parents and realizing they were still present and rushing from the room. He turned to follow but was stayed by Arthur who had laid a quiet hand on his shoulder.

“Leave her for a little while Harry. She’s just worked up. Pregnancy will do that to witch.” He said quietly.

“Yes Harry – just come sit down for a moment.” Molly said, gesturing towards the sofa opposite her. “If I know my daughter as well as I think I do; I know she just needs a little bit of time to calm down. You can go check on her later. For now – just have a sit down.”
*~*

An hour later, Harry crept up the stairs towards Ginny’s room. He wanted to check on her before heading into Ron’s room to sleep. Molly had told him before he headed up the stairs that it was fine for him to share her daughter’s room, but Harry didn’t feel comfortable staying in there with her and just quietly said he’d stay in Ron’s old room.

He paused at the 2nd floor landing to check in on James to see he was still sleeping peacefully and although he was diagonal across the bed, the blankets were keeping him warm. Closing the door gently, he continued on his way. He reached Ginny’s door and found it closed tightly, and no light was evident in the space where the door ended and the floor began. Taking a deep breath, he placed his hand on the door knob and turned, finding it locked, he sighed and slipped his wand from his back pocket. Whispering the unlocking spell, he pushed the door open.

Letting the door close quietly behind him, he let his eyes adjust to the darkness of the room. Ginny lay curled up on her bed, her back to him and deep under the thick quilt covering her bed.

“Ginny?” He whispered as he approached her. Getting no response, Harry lowered himself onto the small bed beside her.

Sensing his presence, she turned her head slightly and opened one red, bloodshot eye and hissed something that sounded like sod off before facing the wall once again. Harry sighed and ignoring her, he wrapped one arm around her waist and tried to pull her close to him despite her resistance.

“Ginny – I know you must be awake.” He whispered, letting the scent of her shampoo fill his nostrils. “Look – I’m sorry I upset you tonight. I didn’t realize you would react that way. I should have talked with you before now about the wedding. And you’re right – we shouldn’t let that git control something as special as getting married. I just thought that if we waited until after the trial, we could get away for awhile, just me, you and James and be a family. We won’t be able to do that. I might be able to get one, maybe two days off during the trial.” He felt Ginny relax slightly as he finished speaking, taking this as a good sign, he pulled her closer against him.

“I don’t care if you have twenty days off after we’re married or if you only have two. I just want to get married. I want to put my dress on and feel pretty and spend the day with our family and our friends and not worry about anything else. I want to do it just like we planned before you left – trial or not.” She said quietly, her eyes staring at the wall in front of her.

He leaned his head closer and laid a kiss on her temple. “Okay – we’ll set the date for Halloween. It’s a Friday – I’ll talk to Remus and Mad-Eye on Monday about cancelling the trial for that day. Then we’ll have Saturday and Sunday together as well.”

Ginny turned in his arms and found his eyes staring brightly in the dark. “Are you sure?” She asked, as she let her fingers play with the fabric at the neck of his t-shirt.

Harry nodded, not trusting any words to come out of his mouth. He could see the hurt and anger on her face and in her eyes as they looked at each other and that look caused an ache in his chest to know he did that to her. “I am.” He whispered, reaching up to stroke her hair gently.

Ginny smiled slightly and kissed him lightly on the mouth. “Good. We’ll tell Mum and Dad in the morning. And Colin Creevey is coming by tomorrow afternoon to take some pictures.” She placed a finger on his lips when he opened them to question her. “I asked him if he could do this for us last week when he stopped by St. Mungo’s to see me. He’s over the moon to be coming up here so you have to be nice. But don’t think you’re staying in here with me tonight. I’m still mad enough to hex you. Ron’s room is made up for you.” She finished, shoving him until he fell out of bed and onto the floor. When he landed on the rug beside her old bed with a thump, she smiled slightly and turned her back to him and pulled the covers up to the top of her head. Harry sat on the floor in the dark, staring at her quietly until he heard her breath even out in sleep.

A/N: I hope everyone enjoyed the chapter - I apologize for the delay in it. Life got in the way for a bit and then my Internet was down for a week - but things are back to normal! (I hope!)

Chapter 30: Making Plans
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry floated out of an unusually peaceful sleep to the sensation of soft lips trailing down his neck. At first he assumed was still in his dream as he had spent the night alone after Ginny had sent him off to sleep by himself. Not wanting to leave this dream he kept his eyes closed even as he took a deep breath and the scent of lavender filled his nostrils. When he felt a pair of hands trail to the hem of his shirt, Harry opened an eye and looked directly into a pair of twinkling brown eyes.

“Good morning sleepy-head.” Ginny said quietly before placing a loving kiss against his lips.

Harry blinked and let his surroundings come into a soft focus. “Morning Love.” He said cautiously, recalling how they had said good night to each other. His sleep addled brain wondered briefly where this loving, touchy Ginny had come from. He squinted past her shoulder and noticed that the room was still enveloped in a pre-dawn light. Knowing Ginny wasn’t a pre-dawn woman, he grew curious. “Why are you awake so early?” He asked, pulling her closer.

“Nausea woke me.” She answered, smiling when a look of concern passed over his face. “It’s okay. I feel fine now; I took some of the potion that Healer Finnegan gave me. I was just about to climb back into bed when I realized I missed you.”

Reaching up, Ginny brushed the thick fringe covering his forehead out of his eyes. “Poor Harry, I forgot this is new to you. Nausea is nothing for you to worry about. The little bit I’m feeling is nothing like I went through with James. I spent most of the first six months in the loo.” She kissed him lightly before she slipped out of bed. Retrieving her wand from her robe pocket, she used it to enlarge the tiny window in Ron’s room. Throwing back the curtains, she returned to bed and snuggled into the warmth of Harry’s arms.

“There. Now we can watch the sunrise together.” She said before lowering her lips to his.

Harry felt a jolt of electricity course through his body as her lips brushed his. As his senses became fully alert; he ran his hands down the curve of her back until he reached the hem of her shirt and let his fingers dance along her soft skin that was exposed.

Ginny made a low sound in the back of her throat as his fingertips came in contact with her skin. The roughness of his palms brushed against the small of her back as he worked her shirt up higher. When his fingers pressed against her sides, she pulled him deeper into the kiss; letting her tongue slip past his lips in a quest to find his.

A few moments later, she broke the kiss to come up for air and took a moment to look at his face. Even in his state of arousal; there was seriousness in the face she loved so much. It was a quality she knew he carried no matter what emotion he was feeling. Silently she lifted her eyes to his scar as she traced it softly with her fingertip. As she reached the edge o it her eyes searched lower and locked gazes with him. In the low light of the room, his eyes had turned a dark emerald colour. She never tired of looking into his eyes and was always fascinated by the way they could change shades of green depending on his mood.

As Ginny was about to continue her silent observations on his face, she felt a pinch on her bottom. Yelping, she swatted at his hand.

“Hey!” She cried, a giggle bubbling up in her throat.

Harry laughed and pulled her down for a kiss. “If you’re quite done examining me Miss Weasley – I thought we could return to something a bit more – fun?”

She attempted to squirm away from him as he tried to tickle her sides. But as the bed was just slightly larger than the bed in her childhood room, she had little success. Ginny squealed as Harry somehow managed to flip them over so he was now above her.

“Now I have you just where I want you.” He said, laughing as his fingers continued their tickling.

“Harry!” She said, breathlessly between giggles. “Stop!”

As he paused for a moment, Ginny took the opportunity to fid his ticklish spot and attack it. Breaking into laughter himself, Harry collapsed on top of her.

“Oof – Harry!” She exclaimed as his full weight pressed her into the mattress. “Guess that wasn’t my best move.” She said, as he shifted his weight above her and propped himself up on his hands above her shoulders. As if suddenly realizing his surroundings she took in a blazing sea of orange that was becoming visible in the morning light. “Oh Merlin –“ She whispered, “Ron would have a right good fit if he knew what you were doing in his with his sister right now!

Both of them looked at each other for a moment as they pictured Ron’s face if he knew they were in his room. In the same moment they fell into a fit of laughter, which soon turned into something more and as the sun rose silently outside – it was forgotten by both.

*~*

When Molly found her youngest, she was happily humming a tune in the kitchen of the Burrow. Ginny was busy arranging a bunch of fall flowers in an old milk jug for the table centerpiece.

“Those look lovely Ginny.” She said as Ginny turned to set them on the long table the Weasley family ate at.

“Thanks Mum.” She said, playing with a deep gold sunflower moving it to the centre of the bouquet before deciding she was satisfied. “I was sitting out in the garden enjoying a cup of tea and the flowers looked so pretty I thought I’d cut some for you to brighten up the kitchen.”

“They certainly brighten up the place.” Molly said, sitting down at the table and conjuring up a cup of tea for herself. Looking at her daughter she noticed Ginny was wearing a freshly pressed set of robes. “Ginny dear – why are you so dressed up? I am going to assume it has something to do with why Harry and James are sitting so quietly in the living room trying their best not to get smudged.”

Ginny laughed at her mother’s comment.

“Oh dear – they are? I did warn Harry not to let James get mussed before Colin arrived but I didn’t mean for them to sit in the living room and not move!” She exclaimed, shaking her head.

“Colin’s coming by is he?” Molly asked, sipping her tea. Feeling the need to have something to nibble on – she conjured a plate of biscuits and picked one up.

Ginny nodded and sat down beside Molly and grabbed a biscuit for herself. “Yes – he popped by the hospital a few days ago and I asked if he’d come by and take some photos of Harry, James and me.”

“That will be nice.” Molly paused and looked at her daughter. “Ginny dear, we never had much of a chance to talk yesterday after your big announcement. How are you doing?”

Ginny smiled while Molly conjured an extra cup of tea. “I’m doing fine Mum. My Healer said everything is going along nicely. Baby Potter is growing right along schedule.” Ginny said, patting the small bump on her stomach.

Molly smiled and sipped more of her tea. Reaching over, she smoothed down her daughter’s hair. The bright red waves bounced up as her hand passed over them, reminding Molly of how her hair had been so much like her daughter’s when she was younger. “In the excitement last night – you never said when the baby is due or if you and Harry knew the sex.”

Ginny relaxed against the feel of her mother’s hand. “I’m about four months along – so the baby will be due in March and we decided to be surprised on whether it’s a boy or a girl.” She reached for a biscuit on the plate and took a bite. “I would love a girl of course, but with the Weasley history behind me, it’ll probably be a boy.”

Molly sighed wistfully as she thought about her own pregnancies; with each one she had herself wished for a little girl and of course, with the exception of Ginny each turned out to be a boy. “I know dear. I wished that each of your brothers was going to be a girl. And although each one of them ended up being a boy I was never disappointed with any of them. And in the end, having all of the boys made you extra special.” She said, wrapping her arm around her daughter in a hug.

“Mum – why do you always know exactly what to say to me?” Ginny sighed and rested her head on Molly’s shoulder.

“Because I’m your Mum – that’s why. Don’t you know always know what to say to James?” Molly said, relishing the feeling of having her daughter so close. These days, with all of the children grown and out of the house, she didn’t have much of a chance to talk with her children and give them advice.

Ginny just looked at her mother and rolled her eyes. “Of course I don’t know what to say to James all of the time. When he asks me a question I can’t answer I just tell him I’m his Mum and that’s why!” She said, breaking into laughter.

Molly joined her daughter in the chuckle and gave her another squeeze. “You had better go make sure your boys are still in one piece in there – it’s awfully quiet in there.”

“Thanks Mum. Can you tell Colin we’re in the living room when he gets here?” She asked as she left the room.

Ginny peeked around the corner of the entry way to see father and son sitting quietly reading. The identical dark heads where close together and she could hear Harry’s voice as he described the finer points of being a Chaser. She smiled at Harry when he glanced up at her and made her way into the room. Harry finished the page on Chasing and closed the book over as Ginny sat down beside them.

“My favorite men – you both look quite handsome. What were you reading?” She asked, reaching over to try and smooth down the out of control hair on James’ forehead.

“Quidditch Through the Ages Mummy. We found Uncle Ron inside!” James said happily, ducking away form her hand.

“Sounds fascinating.” Ginny said, giving him a quick kiss on the forehead instead. “Now why are the two of you hiding away in here when it is so nice outside?” She asked.

James slid off of his spot on the couch and onto the floor. “Cause Daddy said you’ll hex him if I get dirt on me.” He said with a big smile.

Ginny looked from her son to his father and began laughing when Harry blushed a deep red. “Really?” She asked James who was now nudging along one of his wizard figurines.

“Uh-huh. When Daddy was helping me put on my robes he said we had to read a book because if we got dirty before we got our pictures taken you’d hex him.” He responded, looking at the adults in front of him, wondering why they were so confused by it all.

“I see.” Ginny said, edging closer to Harry’s spot on the couch. “Now Harry – what sort of hex was it that I was going to use?”

She watched as he shifted nervously beside her, preparing himself for a quick getaway if necessary.

“Well, I didn’t word it precisely like that.” He began, searching his mind frantically for the right words to use. “Have I mentioned how beautiful you look today?” He commented with a smile.

“Harry – flattery will get you nowhere.” She said, as she slid closer even closer to him. Smiling, she placed a hand on his thigh and leaned up to his ear. “Although it does help.” She whispered before laying her lips against his cheek in a kiss. “Since you get cute when you’re flustered, you’re off the hook for now Potter.”

Harry let out the deep breath he had been holding and relaxed his shoulders. As he was about to respond, the pair was interrupted as Colin Creevey burst into the room, stopping in front of them.

“Hiya Ginny! Hi Harry!” He exclaimed. “Mrs. Weasley told me you were in here.” He held up his old battered camera that Harry was sure was the same one he used while at Hogwarts. “Shall we get started then? I can’t believe that Harry Potter is actually allowing me to photograph him! Been awhile since the old Gryffindor days hasn’t it?”

While Harry sat in his spot, Ginny immediately rose to greet her friend and give him a warm hug.

“Hello Colin! How’s things?”

“Great! Dennis and I have been asked to travel to Romania to do a piece on dragon handlers. I was just telling your mum that we were planning on featuring Charlie – she was quite excited.” He explained, giving her a hug in return.

“That’s brilliant! When do the two of you leave?” She asked, threading her arm through his, a smile on her face.

“In a few weeks.” He responded and Harry watched as Colin looked down at Ginny, whose smile had faltered slightly at Colin’s response. “But don’t’ worry - I told the Prophet that I couldn’t go anywhere until after your big day. Of course I didn’t tell them what exactly I had to photograph – just that it was much more important than some dragons. I know it’s a private affair. And I hear a double congratulation is in order! A brother or sister for James! The two of you must be so excited! Harry – spot on you old dog!” He exclaimed thrusting out a hand towards Harry who grunted a hello and reluctantly reached to shake his hand.

Ginny’s face broke out into a smile and she gestured to Harry to stand up. As he stood, she noticed he was standing rigidly and his mouth had faded into a tight line. Curious of his mood swing, put her free hand on his arm and gave him a quizzing look when she caught his eye.

Harry returned the look with an impatient roll of his eyes; he wasn’t looking forward to being under Colin’s lens this afternoon. He felt slightly bad about his attitude change as he could tell Ginny was quite excited about this little event but having Colin around made him feel on edge. The all to close memories of being in the spotlight of the press had lifted to the surface.

“James? Why don’t you take Colin out to the back yard and wait for Daddy and me there? I just want to ask Daddy a question alone before we start taking pictures. We’ll be out in two shakes.” Ginny asked, looking over to where he was quietly playing.

“Sure Mummy! Come on Uncle Colin – I’ll show you the gnomes in Granmum’s garden!” He said, hopping to his feet and leading Colin out the door by his hand.

When they had left the room, Ginny turned on Harry who stood beside her, staring silently at the wall in front of him.

“And what exactly was that Mr. Potter?” She asked quietly, staring up at him while she rose to her full height.

He looked down at her and immediately felt bad for his actions. He didn’t mean to act the way he did but he couldn’t help it. “I’m sorry Gin – it’s just that Creevey is such –“

“Such a what?” She interrupted.

“Well he’s a member of the press Ginny. I just worry that something will get leaked to the papers – and then we’ll have a moment’s peace.” He said, shoving his hands into his pockets.

“Now wait right there – Colin is my friend and in all these years he’s never once leaked anything about me to the press. I doubt he’d start now!” She said sternly, poking him in the chest.

He sighed; he knew there was no way out of this. It wasn’t his fault really; he just didn’t trust members of the press. “Aw Gin – let’s not argue about this.” He said, running his hands absently through his hair.

She paused for a moment and looked at him. Laying her arms across her chest she looked watched him fidget under her gaze. “It’s not just the press thing is it?” She waited until he looked at her and seen a flicker in his eyes. “You’re jealous aren’t you?” When he just looked her, she nodded her head. “That is it. I thought we were over this Harry!” She said, walking closer to him and pulling him reluctantly into her arms she squeezed him tightly in a hug. “Harry Potter – I’m marrying you. I’m pregnant with your baby. I never once thought of Colin in any way other than as a friend.” She stood on her tip toes and placed a kiss on his lips, smiling against them when she felt him relax. “I would never choose anyone but you Harry. I want you to remember that. Besides you know I prefer the man I'm with to be the dark brooding type, that gets moody over little things and of course he should be more inclined to play quidditch - not take pictures of it. Colin is a brilliant photographer but he’s too sunny and positive for me.”

Harry sighed and buried his face against her neck, when she felt him smile against her hair she squeezed him into another tight hug. When he pulled away, the smile was a bit sheepish but still on his face.

“Come around have you?” She said, nudging him in the ribs, laughing when he nodded his head silently. “Good let's go outside and take a nice family photo. This will always be the best one - once we have more than one child, they'll be making faces and poking at each other all of the time. I've looked through Mum and Dad's photo album - after Bill there's not a sane photo in the lot - worse so when George and Fred came along.”

Keeping her arm around his waist she pulled him out into the sunshine.

*~*

Standing in the kitchen of Ginny’s flat, Harry began to clean up the dinner dishes while she took James for his bath. Preferring to clean dishes the muggle way, he picked up the stack of plates and bowls and placed them into the warm soapy water and began to wash them and set them one by one onto the drying rack he had conjured while filling the sink with water.

As he did so, a smile crossed his face as he remembered Ginny and her mother going head to head that afternoon. It was quite the sight to witness as Molly insisted that they all stay for dinner at the Burrow. Ginny argued that an early night was important for James to start his week off right. Molly had countered with the fact that Ginny needed a well cooked meal as she was eating for two. This had led to Ginny ranting that she was a perfectly good cook, which had led to Molly agreeing on the grounds that she had taught her herself. As both women were about to throw their hands in the air and let the tempers fly; Arthur had quietly interjected and suggested that Ginny and Harry could take a plates of dinner home with them, thus allowing their daughter to have a nutritious meal and letting them get James into bed at a decent time. Arthur always seemed to be the voice of reason when the two Weasley women butted heads and they decided to agree with him. Setting the last bowl into the drying rack, Harry wiped his hands dry with a fresh towel and picked up a plate to start drying the dishes.

Ginny walked into the kitchen with James as he was finishing with the last plate in the rack. She looked about the kitchen and saw nothing moving about on its devices. “Doing it the muggle way Harry?” She asked, going to the cupboard for a glass.

He stacked the final dish as she removed the milk from the fridge. Pouring half a glass she set it at the table as James climbed into his chair.

“I don’t mind the muggle way. Helps me think sometimes and you know I’m half daft when it comes to most cleaning charms.” He said as he rounded the table to sit across from James.

“Mummy can I have a pumpkin pastie?” James asked, before using both hands to lift the glass of milk to take a drink.

“Magic word?” She asked, going to fetch the cookie jar from the counter-top. “You’re still hungry after eating all of Granmum’s dinner? I think you have the same sort of tummy as Uncle Ron!” Bringing the cookie jar over, she set it on the table.

“Please?” James said, reaching to take a biscuit out. Ginny held his hand for a moment. “Just one. It’s almost bedtime.” She cautioned, reaching in and grabbing three. Handing one to James, she set one in front of her and handed one to Harry.

All biting in happily, they crunched silently until James spoke up.

“Mummy?” He asked, looking up at her, his little face revealing to her that he had something quite serious to tell. She watched as he used his free hand to play with fabric of his pyjama shirt. It was another indication to her that he was pondering something quite important.

“Yes Quidditch-Bug?” She asked before popping the last of the biscuit in her mouth.

“When you get married to Daddy – can I be called Potter too?” He set down his cookie and traced his fingertip through the crumbs. “I heard you talk to Granmum and you called the baby Potter. I want to be a Potter too Mummy.”

Ginny blinked for a moment, a little surprised at her son’s question. She glanced over at Harry who seemed to be equally as surprised as she. It was something Ginny knew would happen during the ceremony – a ritual would be performed to have James take Harry’s name. But she had never thought that it would have been something James would be worried about.

“Oh Quidditch-Bug – of course you’re going to be a Potter. When Daddy and I get married, we’re going to have a special part that is just for you. You’ll come up to the altar with Daddy and me after we’ve performed the joining ceremony. Remember when Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron got married?” She paused when he nodded slightly - although just two at the time, his memory of that day still hadn’t faded from his mind. Ginny continued, “Then Uncle Remus will perform the renaming ritual, which will change both our names. You’ll always be a Weasley just like Mummy will always be a Weasley, but we’ll be a Potter too. How does that sound?”

Ginny looked down at him as he nodded and she could see the relief dawn on his face. She reached over and drew him into her lap to give him a big squeeze. Kissing him on the cheek, she rested her chin on the top of her head.

“Now do you feel better about everything?” She asked quietly, waiting to feel his head move underneath her. She looked over at Harry who was watching them and smiled at him. “You know what? I think its bedtime; tomorrow morning is going to come really early and Nanny Edgy is really excited to have you spend the day with her.” Giving him one final squeeze, she set him on his feet.

Harry looked at the two of them and felt his throat constrict slightly. Clearing his throat, he reached over and took the glass that James had left. Swallowing a quick drink, he stood.

“Hey Mate – would you like me to read you a story tonight? Let’s give Mummy a bit of time alone. She’s got an early day tomorrow too.” He grabbed James round the waist and swung him up in the arms and held him beside Ginny’s face. “Give her a goodnight kiss.” She turned up her face and felt James’ little lips brush against her cheek.

“Night Mummy, love you.” He said, as Harry pulled him up and held him against his side.

“Love you too Quidditch-Bug. Don’t make Daddy read too many books.” She said, looking at the two of them.

Leaning over himself, Harry placed a light kiss on Ginny’s lips. “I love you too. Be back in a bit?” He said, smiling when she nodded.

“Sure, I’ll be in the bedroom.” She said, watching at the two of them left the room.

*~*

Ginny was tucked up in bed when Harry finally finished the last story James had picked out. The candle beside her bed was lit, throwing a soft light into the room as she scribbled away on a piece of parchment. She paused to watch while he pulled off his robes from the day and climbed into an old pair of pyjama pants and faded old Hogwarts shirt before climbing into bed beside her.

“What are you writing?” He asked, sliding up beside her to lay his head against her shoulder and looking down at the parchment.

“Just some things that we need to take care of before the wedding.” She said, tilting the list so that he could skim it over. His eyes glanced over the page. Formal dress robe fittings for Harry and James, invitations, rehearsal, vows, new house, honeymoon? He stopped after the word honeymoon and took note of the two just before that.

“Vows? New house?” He asked, sitting up straighter in the bed so he could look at her more closely.

She leaned over and set the parchment and quill on the night table beside her. “Yes, vows. You know it’s those little words we are going to say to each other. It’s those words we’re going to use to pledge ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives and beyond. Harry – it’s how it’s done in the wizarding world. It’s how it’s been done for centuries. Muggles have started to write their own vows for their weddings these days, but it’s just a fad someone took to after attending a wizard wedding.” She said, as she looked at the expression on his face which was a cross between panic and shock. “Don’t you recall Bill and Fleur’s wedding? Remember how frantic Bill was just before the ceremony when he couldn’t find his parchment? He had given it to Charlie for safekeeping and it had slipped his mind.”

Harry toyed with the idea in his mind, and a mild panic crept over him. “Ginny –“

“Don’t Ginny me – vows are vows.” She said, patting his thigh above the blankets.

“But it’s a speech, in front of people. Remember when I had to give that speech at the Ministry – when I accepted that Order of Merlin. I’m rubbish at them!” He said, looking above him at the candlelight dancing on the ceiling.

Ginny sighed and cuddled up against his side. “Harry – it’s not a speech – it’s our vows. You’ll be fine; the words will come to you. If Ronald can come up with the words to tell Hermione he wanted to spend his life devoted to her – you can find the words to tell me the same thing. It only matters to me. Just remember that. Ok?”

Harry’s tension eased slightly as he pondered Ginny’s words. It was true – if Ron could find words to express how he was feeling, he supposed he could as well. “But a house too - We have to find a house in two weeks?” He asked, feeling the tension return to the back of his neck. Ginny sensing he was worried, reached behind him and started to knead the muscles in the back of his neck.

“Well Harry – if you remember as well, we’re having a baby? We don’t need to find a house before the wedding – although it would be nice. But we do need to find one sooner rather than later. This flat was great for just James and me, but we have no room here for a baby.” She explained, her fingers brushing against the hair at the nape of his neck. “You need a bit of a hair cut before the wedding as well – I’ll ask mum if she can trim it a bit for you. But back to the house issue – I’ve been asking around and there are a few spots that are up for sale. I was thinking my next day off we could go see them. “

Harry reached behind him to cover her hand with his own and pull it down between them while the other one went around her waist. “I know love. It just seems like a lot.” He frowned, his brow creasing.

Ginny pulled away from her fingers and reached up to rub the wrinkles away from between his eyes. “It’ll be fine Harry. Just as long as we find a place before Baby Potter arrives. You wouldn’t want your second born sleeping in a dresser drawer would you? Mum and Dad had to do that with Percy when he was first born. They haven’t always lived at the Burrow you know and look at what he turned out like.” She joked, kissing him lightly on lips when he finally smiled at her.

“Baby Potter?” Harry said, returning the kiss with another smile.

“Well we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl so we can’t use he or she or a real name. I thought it was a good choice.” Ginny said, “Oh that’s another item for the list! Baby names, we need some ideas.” She was about to reach over to the night table for the list but Harry held her close.

“You can add it in the morning.” He said, moving down until they were both lying against the pillows. He tilted his head down to look at her. “You know what? I think you’ve been spending too much time with Hermione.”

Ginny giggled and pulled the covers up higher. “Perhaps I have been, you know she gave me a wedding planner just after you left. Remember that homework planner she gave you and Ron the Christmas of your fifth year? I think she found this one at the same shop. Mum’s got it. She writes everything down in it.” She yawned and snuggled against Harry’s side. “Did James get to sleep ok?”

Harry nodded, “He was asleep before I finished the last page of the book. He didn’t even more when I stepped on one of his wizarding figures and it jabbed my toe.” He felt Ginny relax against him as he rubbed her back in slow moving circles. A few moments later, when he felt her fall into sleep he lifted his free hand and flicked it at the candle, sending the room into darkness.


Chapter 31: Trials and retirements
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: As always I own nothing but the plot.

Harry arrived at Number 12 Grimmauld Place and hurried into the meeting room where he found Lupin and Moody sitting at a table surrounded by rolls of parchment, which Harry suspected were the reports from the mission to the Urals. Moody’s eye rolled in his head and he looked up at Harry – a look of impatience on his face.

“Nice of you to join us Potter.” He growled as he rolled up a bit of parchment and set it aside. Harry felt his cheeks burn red - if there was one thing Alastor Moody could do well it was to make him feel like he was a first year student, late for class at Hogwarts.

“Remus, Mad-Eye – sorry I’m late.” Harry said, sitting across from the two of them. “Had a bit of trouble getting out of the flat this morning.”

“No need to explain Harry. Despite Alastor’s grumblings you are only a few moments late. We’ve just finished reading over the last of the reports. You and your team did a brilliant job compiling all of your information. The defenders will have a hard time cracking through this prosecution.” Lupin said his voice calm as he glanced in Moody’s direction. Who as Harry observed was sitting in his chair fighting back the urge to make a comment.

“If the two of you are finished with the pleasantries, can we get started?” Moody growled, as he unrolled a new piece of parchment. “We have a lot to cover this morning.”

Both Harry and Lupin nodded – neither one wanted to add to their colleague’s bad mood.

Harry scribbled a date onto the parchment in front of him. October 20th was the day the trial against Malfoy was to start. Lupin, Moody and Harry would present their evidence first. As they were the heads of the Auror team; Moody and Lupin would outline the ongoing investigation that began during the war leading up to the piece of intel that lead Harry and his team to the Urals. At that point Harry would take over and give his detailed explanation about what happened during this mission.

“We’ll meet here on the morning of the 20th. The Wizengamot will start the hearing in the afternoon.” Lupin said as he rolled his own bit of parchment up and slid it into a battered leather case.

Harry nodded and rose to help straighten up the meeting room. Clearing his throat, he set down the maps he had in his hand. “Before we go, I was wondering if we could discuss something.” When both Moody and Lupin fixed their eyes on him; Harry felt his fingers and palms grow clammy. Although they were close to being his equals, it brought back memories of being in class at Hogwarts and getting called upon when he wasn’t paying attention.

Lupin sat back down in the seat he had just vacated and looked at Harry. “Well of course. Is it about your departure from the team?” He asked.

“Well it does have something to do with it. You see Ginny and I have set a date for the wedding.” He stated, as he fiddled with the corner of one of the maps in front of him.

“And when is it?” Moody asked, his magical eye swiveling in its socket, making Harry feel like he was on display.

“October 31st.” Harry responded, pausing to see their reaction. Lupin seemed to be contemplating the date in his mind; while Moody was staring intently at him.

“Tad inconvenient Potter!” He growled.

“It is – trust me I know. But Ginny has been rather adamant about this. Before I left we made the decision to have the ceremony a few weeks after my return. This was when the mission was still only an observation task. I tried to get her to push the date back; but she insists it be Halloween. I don’t want a lot of time off but do you think we could ask the Wizengamot for a few days off? The day of the wedding and the two flanking it?”

Moody sighed in exasperation. “This has got to be –“ He started, displeasure in his voice. “The trial will just be getting into full swing. The publicity will be crazy enough without adding in that Auror Potter needs a few days off to get married!” He shouted loudly.

“Look! I know what it’s going to be like. And I’d rather wait but it means too much to Ginny to have it now. And frankly – I’d rather deal with the press than my pissed-off bride to be!” Harry shouted back equally as loud. “Not to mention it’s the least the damn Ministry can do for me and my family! I’ve been available to them most of my life. I want three days off!”

“Harry – Alastor. Calm yourselves.” Lupin interjected in an even tone. “I believe we’ll be able to work something out. The full moon will be happening on the 2nd of November. The Wizengamot has already agreed to put the hearing old hold while I attend to my business. I am sure we can approach them and ask that it be put on hold a few days early.”

Harry let out a sigh of relief. “Will they do that?”

“I believe they will. I have to go to the ministry later this afternoon; I’ll speak to the Wizengamot receptionist. See what we can do.” Lupin was about to rise from his seat when he abruptly sat down once again and reached for his briefcase. Unclasping it, he withdrew some parchment and slid it over to the area of the table where Harry stood. “This had slipped my mind until just now. Harry, as you’re not going to be an auror much longer - we should really be proactive and alert the wizarding world about your decision; if the press finds out on their own, it will create a bigger zoo than if we tell them ourselves. That’s the statement we would like to release to the Prophet. If you agree with it, we could release it today.”

Harry picked up the parchment and started to read:

Auror Harry J. Potter has announced his retirement from active duty. Mr. Potter will stay on with the D.A. until the close of the trial against Draco Malfoy, which is set to begin on October 20th. During the trial Mr. Potter will be presenting evidence of Mr. Malfoy’s and other death eater’s crimes. At this time, any questions regarding Mr. Potter’s decisions should be directed to the D.A. or to the Ministry of Magic. Mr. Potter and his family wish to have their privacy respected.

Finishing the short statement, Harry raised an eyebrow as he looked at Mad-Eye and Lupin. “Very sweet and to the point – did you write this Remus?” As Lupin nodded, Harry chuckled. “You always have had a way with words. But do you expect that this will hold them off?” He asked, sliding the parchment back to Lupin, who slid it back into his case.

“We’re hoping it will.” Mad-Eye interjected. “Although we wouldn’t need to be releasing statements and the like if you hadn’t come up with this idea that you needed to quit auror duty.”

“Well Alastor I don’t think we can change Harry’s mind. It seems quite made up at this time. Of course, we do expect a small amount of uproar. You should be sure to warn Ginny and Molly and Arthur. Ron and Hermione as well. The press may suddenly become interested in their day to day lives - looking for a quote or full fledged interviews. We’ll wait until tomorrow morning to release the statement so you have a chance to warn those you wish to be warned. Let them all know that if they wish they can have ministry staff on call to drive away any press that may start hounding them.”

“Tomorrow is fine Remus. I’ll fill Ginny in tonight when she is home from her shift. Ron and Hermione are popping over for a visit tonight as well. And I’ll send a note to Molly and Arthur so they are aware. I’d say I’d warn the twins but I expect they’d welcome the press.” Harry commented.

Lupin gathered up his cloak and the battered case containing his documents. “Excellent - now if you’ll excuse me – I must head over to St. Mungo’s; Nymphadora is expecting me. Harry – you should stop by this afternoon – she would love to see you – she’s asked after you since your return.”

Harry nodded while he and Moody said their good byes. When the soft thud of the front door closing was heard, the two continued their clean up of the meeting room.


*~*

Ginny stepped out of the staff washroom and leaned against the door for a moment. Her lunch break was about to end when the baby had decided to lean against her bladder for the latter half of it, causing her to run to the loo twice and miss the relaxation of her lunch time before returning to the madness of St. Mungo’s. She smiled and shifted to the left of the door when a group of junior healers approached the bathroom. Pressing a hand against the front of her robes, she felt the still concealed, but growing, bump and realized she really shouldn’t have topped her bowl of stew with a handful of kippers even though she had been craving them. Now that the baby was thoroughly satisfied, he or she seemed content to move about inside Mummy. Taking a deep breath and sending calming thoughts to Baby Potter, Ginny straightened and set off to Healer Bones’ office where she was expected for a meeting.

She approached the thick oak door and rapped gently on it with her knuckles. After hearing a muffled come in, Ginny turned the door knob and entered Healer Bones’ office.

“Good afternoon Matilda.” She said as she closed the door behind her and moved to the chair closest to her.

“Ginny! Welcome, welcome!” Healer Bones said, looking up from the parchment she was scribbling on and setting her quill in the silver inkpot at the edge of her desk. “Thank you for stopping by this afternoon.”

Ginny smiled and shifted in her seat as Baby Potter moved around yet again. “Not a problem Matilda. My afternoon seems light. The children were looked after this morning and I have to visit Tonks after our meeting.”

“Ah yes, Nymphadora Tonks. She’s improving quite nicely. She is one of the things I wanted to speak to you about today. Everyone is quite happy with her progress. Enough so that Dr. O’Malley wants to start treatment on some of the other patients that have been damaged by the Cruciatus curse.” Healer Bones handed a roll of parchment across the desk to Ginny. “These are the names of the patients they’d like to start treatment on. Since you worked so closely on Ms. Tonks’ case; I’d like you to give each one a check up and present your recommendations to Dr. O’Malley and me. Of course you will have first choice on the cases you are involved on and there will be a team of healers available to you to assist.”

Ginny sat in the chair for a moment and let her supervisor’s words sink in. They were willing to give her a team of aurors to work with. It was in essence a promotion and a big leap in her healing career. She unfurled the parchment and let her eyes quickly scan through the names. Frank and Alice Longbottom were listed as was many other names of witches and wizards whose names were familiar to Ginny. Many had fought in the war and many had families that would dearly love to have their son, daughter, husband, wife, sister or brother back.

As these thoughts tumbled through her head she felt a twinge in her abdomen as the baby shifted again and her face fell slightly.

“Healer Bones – Matilda – this is an amazing opportunity. I mean I could help all of these people. I know how it could help them; all you have to do is look at Remus Lupin and see how happy he is to have Tonks back.” She said, twisting the parchment in her hands.

Healer Bones leaned back in her chair and looked at Ginny with wisdom in her eyes. “I’m sensing a but here Ginny.” She held up a finger as Ginny started to speak. “Don’t try and deny it - after all of my years here as healer I’ve made it my job to observe. I can tell you truly want to be a part of helping all of these people but something is holding you back.”

Ginny nodded and set the parchment back on the desk in front of her before she wrecked it. “You’re right – “

“Is it the wedding? Because we can hold off until after you and Harry are married. We can set this to fit your schedule Ginny.”

She sighed. “It’s not about the wedding. Matilda, Harry and I are expecting a baby. It wasn’t planned of course – but I’ll be taking a leave of absence once I give birth. While I would love to be a part of this project I just can’t get involved knowing that I am going to have leave my patients half way through their treatment. If it works on the people on this list then it’s important that they have stability. Tonks was so disoriented in the beginning she needed a familiar face, when new people were introduced the results were not positive.”

Healer Bones looked at the young witch in front of her. “Well then. I suppose first thing I have to say is congratulations. A new baby is always exciting. The second is when should I expect to be one healer short?”

“Thank you. Harry’s quite excited about it all. Well I am too of course – but since he wasn’t home for James’ arrival – well this makes this baby extra special for him. Baby Potter is set to arrive near the end of March. I plan to work right up until the baby comes unless of course Healer Finnegan orders me off of work.” Ginny explained excitedly.

“You mean Ambrosia is your healer? And she never told me the great news!” Healer Bones said, chuckling to herself as she thought of her colleague – Ambrosia Finnegan was a notorious gossip and had to be bursting at the seams to tell someone about little Ginny Weasley. “Well Ginny, I respect your decision and I do hope that after your maternity leave that you decide to come back to St. Mungo’s. And don’t worry about Dr. O’Malley – I’ll explain why you can’t head up the project.” She rose from behind the desk and moved around to where Ginny sat. When she rose from her chair, Healer Bones embraced her in a warm hug.

“Thank you Matilda. And yes – I will be back. I love my work with the children here too much to stay away.” Ginny turned to leave but paused when she got to the door. “Oh! I almost forgot – the wedding is being held on Halloween. I do hope you’ll come – I’ll be rather disappointed if you don’t!”

Healer Bones nodded. “Of course I’ll be there. I received the invitation just before you arrived for our meeting. I expect your Mum sent them out. In fact, I may just bring Mr. Bones with me.” She chuckled at Ginny’s shocked expression. “Yes- I’m married – for quite a few years now. Don’t be so surprised! Now go – Miss Tonks will be expecting you on your round.”

Ginny smiled at her supervisor and as she closed the door behind her she realized she could learn something new about something everyday.

She made her way down to the floor Tonks’ room was on. Hearing voices inside, she proceeded inside. The room was full of sunshine coming in through the open window and Tonks was perched on her bed, talking with both Lupin and Harry.

“Good afternoon everyone.” She said, making her presence known.

“Wotcher Healer Weasley.” Tonks said cheerily, waving her over to the bed.

Ginny smiled and picked up her patient’s chart and scanned over it quickly. Everything from the night before and the morning looked to be in order. “Things are looking good Tonks.” She set the chart back on the end of the bed where it usually lay and turned to the two men sitting on the chairs. “I am going to need to do a quick examination – if the two of you don’t mind; could you leave the room please?” She asked, feeling very healerish as the words came out of her mouth.

Lupin was the first to stand. Straightening his shabby and patched jacket, he motioned to Harry. “Not a problem Miss Weasley. We’ll get out of your way for a few moments. Harry why don’t we take a stroll? There’s a particularly interesting case of a wizard growing tree branches for arms on the floor below. I found him on my wanderings a few weeks ago. He is the most fascinating fellow. Nymphadora – we’ll be back in a little while.” He finished, placing a chaste kiss on Tonks’ cheek before walking over to the door.

Ginny watched as Harry rose and started to follow Lupin towards the door. When he paused for a second in front of her, he seemed unsure of what to do. Smiling, she grabbed his hand and gave it a quick squeeze. Harry returned the smile, his green eyes flashing in the sunshine and headed out behind his fellow auror.

She waited until she heard the door click behind her before she pulled her wand and a potion vial from her robe pocket. Uncorking it and handing it to Tonks, she waited while she swallowed it. Once Tonks had ingested the potion, she gave her wand a quick wave, casting a revealing spell on Tonks to detect any traces of the curse she had been under. The aura surrounded her head for a moment - pulsing a bright blue for a few moments before it died out leaving only a few trace amounts of black curse damage in the air. Smiling, Ginny waved her wand again to banish the black wisps from the air.

“This is brilliant Tonks’ I do believe the curse is nearly obliterated from your system. The amount of curse remnants that just appeared was a trace amount. We will need to talk soon about next steps.”

“Next steps?”

“Well now you can’t stay in St. Mungo’s forever. And now that your brain and body is almost healed completely you’ll be able to go home.” Ginny replied as she wrote some information into Tonks’ chart.

“Home? But I don’t know where home is.” Tonks said, her voice growing with anxiety. “I don’t remember yet. Do you know where my home was?”

Ginny smiled and gave her a reassuring pat on the shoulders. “Well before the war you lived with Mr. Lupin at his flat. Of course – that will be something that you discuss with him. And your memory is coming back slowly. Soon enough you should be back to normal. Shall we finish up this exam then? I hear some footsteps coming down the hall.”

*~*

Harry knocked on the door of Mrs. Edgecombe’s flat and smiled to himself when he heard a small set of feet come rushing towards him. As the door flung open, he looked down to see James hanging off the doorknob, a bright smile across his face.

“Daddy - you’re back! Mummy said I got to stay with Nanny Edgy until the little hand on her clock hit the number 4.” He said, reaching up his arms for Harry to pick him up.

Obliging, he swung his son into his arms and entered the flat. Noticing Mrs. Edgecombe standing in the hall, he nodded in greeting to her. “Hello Mrs. Edgecombe.”

“Hello Harry. Please take that little goblin and come on into the living room. We were just about to finish tea. Would you care for a cup?”

Harry nodded and placed James onto the floor before taking a seat in a large blue chair in the living room. The place was strewn with toys and Harry could tell that his son had had an entertaining day. He watched as Mrs. Edgecombe conjured a new cup for Harry and poured him some tea from the cheery orange teapot on the coffee table.

“Thank you. So how was James today?” He asked, taking a sip and setting the cup on the coffee table.

“We had a great day. Ginny did tell me you had a spot of trouble getting him out the door this morning. But that’s neither here nor there – you’ll get the hang of things soon enough. Now I hear that you’ve decided on a day for the wedding.” Mrs. Edgecombe replied as Harry nodded.

“Nanny Edgy, may I have another biscuit?” James asked, climbing up beside Harry.

“James – I don’t think that’s a wise idea. Your mum has a big dinner planned for us and she wouldn’t want you to ruin it. Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione are coming over tonight.” Harry said, checking his watch. “In fact, we should get back to the flat; I promised Mummy that I’d get the potatoes peeled for her.” Tossing the remainder of the tea back, he rose. “Thanks for the tea Mrs. Edgecombe. Let’s get going James. We’ve got potatoes to peel!”

James looked at his father with a look of disinterest on his face. “Ok Daddy – but I don’t like peeling ‘tatoes. Even Grammum doesn’t make me peel ‘tatoes yet. Bye Nanny Edgy!” He said, giving her a quick hug. “See you tomorrow!”

“Bye James – be a good boy!” She chuckled and he waved as they went to the door.

*~*

The knock came just as Ginny was putting the finishing touches on the roasted chicken she had prepared. Knowing Harry was helping James get ready for bed; she set it in the middle of the table and rushed out to answer the door.

“Ron! Hermione! Hello!” She cried as she pulled the door open and stepped back to let her brother and sister in law into the walk way. Giving them both a hug, she looked at Hermione’s large belly. “My, my! Are you sure there are only twins in there?” She teased, laughing when Hermione turned pink. “Ah – it’s quite different when you’re the object of the teasing isn’t it?” She commented, reminding the couple of how badly Ginny had been teased when she was carrying James. “Come on in. Dinner’s ready, Harry’s just getting James ready for bed. They’ll be out in a minute.”

The kitchen table was covered with food. There was a steaming bowl of mashed potatoes and rich gravy next to them. Bright green peas and yellow corn stood ready to be scooped onto the plates and in the middle of the table was the roasted chicken. Ron immediately dashed to the table, sitting down and looking at the other two eagerly.

“This is brilliant Ginny - I’m starving! Hermione wouldn’t let me have a snack before we came over.” He said, glancing at his wife.

“Because I knew a snack would make us late. It’s only an hour later than our usual mealtime. Honestly – you think I starved him on a regular basis.” Hermione said, rolling her eyes at Ginny and sitting down beside Ron.

“Well Hermione – from the way I hear it – Ron’s been starved all his life.” Harry said as he came into the room with James in tow. He paused beside Hermione and gave her a warm kiss on the cheek. “You look lovely tonight. Pregnancy does agree with you.”

“Says the man who doesn’t have to live with her.” Ron said, holding up his hands to shush both women. “He’ll know what I mean now that Ginny’s as pregnant as well.”

“What should he know Ronald? Perhaps you should enlighten us all?” Ginny said, taking a seat beside James.

Ron looked at his sister and saw the fire dancing in her eyes; he could see traces of a temper in them and blushed. “Nothing at all Ginny. It’s truly a joy to have the woman you love carry your child.” Leaning over he lifted Hermione’s hand and kissed it gently.

“Can we eat now? “ James said, from his spot between his parents. Ginny looked down at him and smiled.

“Of course we can Quidditch-Bug.” She said as she picked up his plate and started to fix his supper for him.

As food was dished around, Harry felt it was a good time to tell them about the impending news release. “Since everyone is here tonight, I think you should know that the Daily Prophet will be running a story about me tomorrow.”

“The Prophet runs a story about you every day Harry.” Ron said, piling the potatoes onto his already stuffed plate.

“Not like this – tomorrow they’re running the story about my retirement from active duty. Remus and Mad-Eye think that it’s important you all know. I do too. I expect there will be a flurry of reporters wanting interviews after they find out what is going on.” He explained, looking from Ron to Hermione to James and finally to Ginny, who reached out and patted his hand lovingly.

“No worries Darling. We’ll get through this. If the reporters harass us too much I’ll hex them.” She said simply.

*~*

After dinner, the trio retired to the living room, while Ginny tried to persuade James to head to bed.

“But I want Daddy to read me a story!” He whined, standing his ground firmly in the hallway.

“Daddy wants to catch up with Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione. He hasn’t seen them much since he got home. How about we go into Mummy’s room and read a book in there – then you can sleep in the big bed tonight with us?” She asked, kneeling in front of him.

“NO! I want Daddy!” James reiterated, his cheeks starting to turn red under the few freckles he had.

Ginny paused for a moment, holding her breath and counting to ten. She knew James was being this way because it was late. When she’d arrived home from her shift at St. Mungo’s that afternoon, she had told him he could stay up and have dinner with the adults as long as he promised to head to bed after dessert. Of course, dinner had taken longer than expected, the four of them reminiscing over old adventures and their days at Hogwarts. When the last bit of custard had been spooned into Ron’s mouth, Ginny had announced that it was time for James to head to bed and she was immediately hit with resistance. He had been enjoying the stories of the past as much as the trio and Ginny but she could tell he was tired. In the middle of Ron’s reenactment of his involvement in the third task during the tri-wizard tournament, James’ eyes had begun to droop and he had leaned into Ginny’s side. She then shooed the three friends into the living room and declared it was bedtime for James.

“Quidditch-bug – it’s time for bed. You’re tired and need to get some sleep. You don’t want to be cranky tomorrow do you?” She asked, trying her best to keep her voice calm.

“I want Daddy!” He shouted, his bottom lip sticking out in a pout.

Hearing the commotion in the hall, Harry poked his head around the corner to find the two of them in a stand off of sorts. He could sense that Ginny was trying her best to stay calm and attempt to get James off to bed in a somewhat quiet manner; while James was on the defensive, ready to dig in his heels until he got what he wanted.

“Gin? Do you need any help?” He asked quietly.

She turned and met his eyes but before she could answer, James had flung himself at Harry’s knees.

“Daddy – I want YOU to read me a story!” He cried, tears wobbling on his edges of his eyes, ready to spill over. Harry bent over and lifted his son up to eye level.

“I think someone is extra tired tonight. Uncle Ron and I shouldn’t have been telling stories so late.” Harry said, giving him a hug. “Now I think it’s time for you to head to bed. It’s Mummy’s turn to tuck you in. I’ve been hogging all of your tucking in time since I’ve been home. I think she misses that special time with you. Ok?” He said, brushing the tears from James’ eyes. “Why don’t we go out and say good night to Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione once more and then Mummy will take you into bed?”

Ginny rose from where she had been kneeling on the floor and walked over to where the two stood. Her heart leapt in her chest as she watched the exchange between the two. Just last week, Harry had been at a loss for words or action when James had pulled a similar stunt when he was overtired. Now he was handling it like an old pro. When James buried his head in Harry’s shoulder, she mouthed ‘thank you’ to him before he took their son into the living room. She could hear the quiet good nights and kisses James gave his Aunt and Uncle before they returned. Harry then passed James into Ginny’s arms.

“Good night mate.” He said, laying a kiss on his forehead, before pressing his lips quickly against Ginny’s cheek.

“Night Daddy.” James said, and wrapped his small arms and legs around Ginny’s body. Turning before he could change his mind and resume his tantrum, she walked down the hall to her room.

Upon entering, she used her wandless magic to spread a soft light throughout the room and throw the covers back. Sitting down on the bed, James quietly climbed out of her arms and lay down in the middle. Despite the fact that he had just thrown a tantrum; the tear marks down his face made Ginny feel bad. She leaned over as she tucked the blankets around him.

“My little Quidditch-Bug.” She said softly, brushing the dark locks of hair from his forehead before rubbing his cheeks gently with her fingers. “You’re very sleepy aren’t you?” She whispered. James met her gaze and yawned widely while he nodded his head. “Do you still want a story? Or would you just like Mummy to just lay with you for a little bit?”

“Just cuddle.” He whispered sleepily. “Mummy? I need my golden snitch.” Ginny settled back against the pillows on the bed and pulled him close. She silently accio’d the stuffed snitch from the other bedroom, watching as it sailed into the room and onto her lap. James wrapped an arm around it and closed his eyes. “”Good night.” He yawned as he started to drift off.

“Good night Quidditch-bug.” She whispered back, rubbing his back slowly up and down, lulling him into sleep and feeling her own senses growing tired, drifted off to sleep herself.

Out in the living room, Harry brought out fresh tea and biscuits for his friends. As he poured tea for Hermione and offered her the biscuits, Ron teased him.

“Harry! I never realized you would domesticate so easily! What does Ginny threaten you with?” He said, laughing when Harry blushed.

“Not everyone is a barbarian like you Ronald.” His wife interjected, slapping his arm lightly. Sniffing at him, she gestured at him with the hand that held a fresh biscuit. “And don’t think you aren’t – just because you pick up your quidditch robes occasionally does not make one refined.”

Harry chuckled at the couple and settled back onto the chair. He watched them argue for a few more moments. Neither really meant the words as they sounded, Harry could tell by the way they looked at each other. Their eyes never left each others as they argued; seemingly forgetting that Harry was in the room with them. It was a lot like how they acted before they even knew they loved each other but now he knew it wouldn’t end with one of them storming out of the room in a rage; it had the possibility of ending in a way that Harry did not want to fathom. The quick mental image that flashed in his mind made him choke on his tea and fall into a coughing fit and make the others remember he was in the room. Hermione ended their little back and forth by shoving a cookie in Ron’s mouth.

“Harry are you ok?” She asked as she tried to get up to go and help him.

Waving her off, he nodded. “Tea just went down the wrong way that’s all. Stay where you are. I’ll be ok.”

Hermione settled back down against the back of the sofa, Ron’s arm fitting comfortably around her, her free hand rubbing her large belly.

“Have you decided what you’re going to do Harry?” She asked.

“About what?” He asked, thinking about how he couldn’t wait for Ginny to be as pregnant as Hermione.

“Now that you’re retiring from active auror duty, you need to find a job.” She responded, leaning forward in her seat. “I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve come up with a few options – “

“Aw come on Hermione. He doesn’t need to find a job yet. Not everyone is a workaholic like you. Let him relax, he’s only been off fighting for the wizarding world since birth. He deserves some time off.” Ron said a light tone in his voice.

“Ron – he can’t just do nothing. They can’t live on Ginny’s salary as a healer forever. They are going to have two children soon; maybe she wants to become a stay at home mother. And then what would they do for money? But if you ask me, two salaries is needed in the wizarding world these days.”

“Hey – Mum and Dad got along just fine with one salary.” He responded, his cheeks turning slightly pink. “Mind you we weren’t rich, but you know well enough that we were happy growing up. Besides – Harry has his inheritance, don’t you Harry?”

Harry looked up at his friends as they watched him, waiting for his answer. “Well I do have my inheritance. And I know you’ll be surprised Hermione – but I have been thinking about what I’m going to do once this bloody trial is over. I have some plans but there are some things that I want to talk with Ginny about.” He explained.

“As long as you have some plans Harry. Remember we’re here if you need to talk. I still think you’d be brilliant as a teacher. Perhaps at the auror academy? Hogwarts would keep you away for the school year. You should think about that.” Hermione said eagerly.

“Hey – speaking of Ginny – where is she?” Ron said, looking about the room, as if his sister would suddenly appear before them.

Harry used a bit of legimency to discover where she was. “Sleeping. I expect she lay down with James for a moment and fell asleep herself. She’s tired a lot these days.”

“Being pregnant makes a witch tired Harry.” Ron said, glancing at his watch. “In fact – we had better get home ourselves Hermione. It’s getting rather late and remember what Healer MacEachern said about resting.”

“Did the two of you want to floo from here?” He asked, as he rose to stand beside them. Moving to give Hermione a hug, he laughed when her belly hindered his attempts. “When is it that you’re due anyways?”

Hermione laughed as well as she gave him a light punch in the arm. “I have another month and a half to go – but you shouldn’t tease me – I could go into labour during your wedding.”

“Well that would be the icing on the cake wouldn’t it?” Harry laughed. “As long as it’s after the ceremony – I think Ginny would be fine with that. Now get going. See the two of you soon.”

“Night Harry.” Ron said, “We’ll see you on Saturday at the Burrow yeah?”

“Yeah – I don’t think Molly would let us not come. The lists she has are a little out of control.” He laughed, giving his other best friend a quick hug. Harry watched as the two took a handful of floo powder from the pot on the mantle and headed home.

When the last flames of the floo had faded away, Harry extinguished the lights throughout the flat before heading down the hall towards the bedroom. Entering the room he found James curled under the covers against Ginny’s sleeping form. Quietly closing the door, so he wouldn’t disturb them, he prepared for sleep. Dressed in his pyjama pants and old t-shirt, he knelt down beside Ginny’s side of the bed. She had fallen asleep in her clothes, propped up against the pillows. She had slipped down into a more prone position as she relaxed causing her shirt to ride up and expose an expanse of her stomach. As he was about to wake her to get her into some sleeping clothes herself, he noticed the small bump that was exposed.

Harry’s heart leapt into his throat as he stared at it in awe. There was a movement in the bed and he glanced up to watch James roll over under the blankets and spread his small limbs across Harry’s side of the bed. Looking back at Ginny, he couldn’t imagine how at one point in time James had been a small bump as well. Tears formed in his eyes when he realized once again what he had missed when he had left Ginny. He reached out and softly placed his fingertips on her skin.

“Harry? What time is it?” Ginny asked quietly, sleep making her voice gravelly. Sitting up slightly, she placed her hand on top of his, rubbing them both against her stomach.

“Um – late. Around eleven I think.” Harry said, using his free hand to brush away the tears from his eyes. “Ron and Hermione left a little bit ago. We got carried away talking about the old days.”

Ginny pushed the hair out of her eyes and let her eyes adjust to the dim light of the room. It was then she noticed Harry seemed out of sorts. “Hey – what’s the matter?”

He sat back on his heels and looked at her. “Nothing. You should get ready for bed.” Despite his words, Ginny didn’t believe him and moved from the bed to kneel on the floor beside him.

“No way Potter.” She said, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him close enough that their foreheads touched. “You’re not just going to say nothing and expect me to go right back to sleep do you? What’s wrong love?”

Harry stayed stiff for a moment, but as Ginny nuzzled her nose into the side of her neck, she could feel him relax and wrap his arms around waist. Knowing he would start to talk when he was ready, Ginny held onto him tightly and let the quiet of the room envelope them. It was a trick she used with James many times and knowing how much he was like his father she knew it would work on him as well.

Harry let out a sigh as he let Ginny snuggle into him. He knew there was no way she was going to let him go until he told her what he was feeling. As her fingers curled into the hair at the nape of his neck, he felt her lips press against his neck just below his earlobe. “I’m sorry Ginny.”

At his words, she pulled back from him and looked at his face. “Sorry for what?” She asked, confused at his words. “Did you leave the milk on the counter?”

A smile quirked up at the corner of his mouth. “No – no. I just realized that James was as tiny as the new baby is right now. And I realized I missed so much when I went off traipsing around the world. Now I feel like the world’s biggest sop.” He said feeling embarrassed.

Ginny smiled slightly and pulled Harry’s head down against her shoulder, embracing him tightly. “Oh love – you’re not the world’s biggest sop. I mean – it was a lot to miss of course – but you were saving the world. If you hadn’t been saving the world, James would be growing up in fear. And we probably wouldn’t be having this baby would we? Besides – I don’t think you could love James any more than you already do. ” She paused for a moment and kissed his messy black hair. “And Harry? He loves you as much as his little heart will let him. Don’t ever forget that.”

As calm settled around him, Harry relaxed slightly and pulled her close and let his fears slip away. Ginny’s word rang true in his head and in his heart and they eased the guilt he felt for leaving them. He lifted his head from her shoulder and looked at her in the dim light of the room. Her hair was messy from sleep and her eyes still had traces of sleep in them, but there was a glow about her, it was evident under the freckles that dusted her nose and cheeks.

“You know I’ve always loved your freckles?” He said quietly, kissing her softly.

“Well I should hope so. Because try as I might, they won’t go away.” Ginny said her tone light as she realized that his mood had lightened. “I used to ask Mum if she could magic them away and she wouldn’t.”

“I’m glad she didn’t. I enjoy counting them. In fact – I think there might be a new one right over here.” He said, nipping at her ear; smiling when she giggled lightly as his lips touched her. As she yawned, Harry once again remembered the time. “Hey– we should get to bed yeah? It’s getting even later.” Standing, he helped her to her feet and gave her another quick hug.

Ginny nodded against his chest and squeezed him tightly, her cheek rubbing against the soft, worn cotton of his shirt. “You’re right – it is late isn’t it? I still can’t believe I fell asleep with Ron and Hermione here.” She commented, looking up at him while she rubbed his back lightly.

He looked down at her and kissed her nose. “It’s ok. It was all rather boring. We were just telling stories of the Hogwarts days. Ron gave me some infinite wisdom about pregnant women. Now get ready for bed will you? It’s you that always reminds me how James will be up bright and early.”

Ginny laughed and slipped out Harry’s arms to dress for bed. As she slipped out of her clothes and into the nightgown she watched him from the corner of her eye. He gently rearranged James under the covers to give them both some room in the bed with him. After they had both climbed into the bed, he extinguished the lights and let the room fall into darkness. When her eyes had adjusted to the change of the light, Ginny turned over to see Harry also lying on his side, looking at her. Silently she reached out her hand and looped her fingers around his.

“Good night Harry.” She said quietly before stifling a yawn.

Harry lifted Ginny’s hand to his lips and kissed the back of it gently. “Night Love.” He said, watching her until she had fallen asleep.

A/N: Greeting faithful readers - thanks so much for your patience while I got this chapter ready - I hope it was worth the wait!

Chapter 32: The Freedom of the Press
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

As Ginny climbed the stairs to the flat, she could hear the din of a crowd on the next floor. Peeking around the corner, she noticed a group of nosy photographers and journalists parked outside the door. Groaning inwardly, she shrank back around the corner to keep hidden. It had been almost a week since the news of Harry’s retirement had broken across the wizarding world and for the entire time, reporters had been camped out in front of the flat, St. Mungo’s and any place else they thought Harry, Ginny or anyone close to them might be.

She stood for a moment and contemplated what to do. The furor they were creating was really starting to get her angry. For the third day in a row she was returning from her shift and there wasn’t a clear path to her door. And there was no way to get to the end of the hall to Mrs. Edgecombe’s where James was. Praying to Merlin that Mrs. Edgecombe didn’t have any anti-apparition guards on her flat, Ginny closed her eyes and focused on the living room of James’ nanny’s flat.

Landing on her feet with a quiet pop, she opened her eyes to find herself inside Mrs. Edgecombe’s front hall. Setting down her healer bag, Ginny made her way into the front room to find Mrs. Edgecombe reading quietly while James was looking sullenly out the window. Not wanting to startle the two, she cleared her throat softly to get their attention. Mrs. Edgecombe looked up first, a surprised look on her face.

“Oh! Ginny dear - I didn’t hear you knock!” She said, setting down her book and gesturing for Ginny to take a seat.

Ginny moved towards the large plaid chair beside Mrs. Edgecombe and took a seat. James rushed over to climb in her lap to give her a hug and wrapped his arms around her neck.

“That’s because I didn’t. Those pests are camped outside in the hallway and I noticed them before they noticed me. There was no way to get past them to your door so I apparated in. I hope you don’t mind.” She said, hugging James tightly and placing a kiss on his head.

“They’re still there are they?” Mrs. Edgecombe said, looking a bit worried. “I was hoping they would be gone before you or Harry arrived to pick up little James. They’ve been out there since the two of you left this morning.”

“They’ve been here since the morning?” Ginny asked, feeling her temper start to rise.

“Yes – they knocked on my door around noon. James answered thinking it might have been one of you home early. I was able to get the door shut again before they were able to ask him anything, but I am afraid that one of them may have gotten a picture or two.” Mrs. Edgecombe responded, her own temper making her voice rise slightly. “We’ve been inside all day. I was too worried to take James down to the park – I knew if I tried to go anywhere they’d follow us. I’m really sorry about this Ginny.”

Ginny sat quietly for a moment, letting Mrs. Edgecombe’s words sink in. She felt her maternal instincts to protect her child rise in her chest and she pulled James a little closer to her. They had invaded her child’s privacy and they were not going to get away with it. “They took pictures of him?” She said quietly while she looked down at him while he sat with her.

Both Mrs. Edgecombe and James nodded. “They had cameras like Uncle Colin’s Mummy. But the bright lights hurt my eyes. And they yelled a lot.” He said, clutching the front her robes, when his lip started to tremble.

“Quidditch-Bug, can you go into the kitchen for a moment for me? I bet Nanny Edgy had some fresh pumpkin pasties in the cookie jar. You can even have two if you’d like.” She said, looking down into his eyes. When she noticed the faint bit of fear in their green depths, she felt the mother bear roar in her chest.

“I want to stay with you Mummy.” He said, burying his face in her side. Rubbing his back to soothe his fears, she tried to keep herself calm. Someone had scared her little boy and she wasn’t going to stand for it.

“I know Quidditch-Bug. And I promise that you can, but first I need to talk with Nanny Edgy. Ok?” She said and reluctantly placed him on the floor. Giving him a quick kiss she pushed him off to the kitchen. Watching the entrance until she heard the cookie jar open, she then turned to Mrs. Edgecombe.

“I’m so sorry dear. I will totally understand if you would like to let someone else care for James while you are at work. Perhaps your parent’s place would be safer.” The elder witch said; her hand trembling as she nervously rubbed at a doily on the arm of her chair.

“Oh Mrs. Edgecombe, I don’t blame you. You couldn’t have known they were out there. When they weren’t out there this morning, Harry and I were sure they had finally given up trying to get something from us at the flat. I’m just angry that they scared James the way they did.” She said, feeling her temper raise a few more notches in defense of Mrs. Edgecombe. “I’m quite sick of this foolishness.”

Ginny stood from her chair and began to pace. The witches and wizards in the hall had invaded her son’s privacy. She had managed to keep him secluded from that aspect of the wizarding world during his young life and in one quick moment it was over. Except for her family, Mrs. Edgecombe and few others – no one knew about James existence and his connection to Harry. When Harry had left to fight in the war, it had been amazing how quickly interest in her personal matters had waned. No longer had anyone paid attention little Ginny Weasley - making it easy to conceal her pregnancy and keep James away from prying eyes. She had blended into the wizarding world easily without Harry by her side. Reporters were more interested in what was happening with him on the front lines of the war and had ignored the huge story that was right in front of their noses.

It was all about to change. Once that picture of James hit the Prophet – two and two would be put together. Only a blind git wouldn’t know who he was. And so the wizarding world was on the brink of finding out that Harry Potter had a son. She knew this day would eventually come, but that little bubble of happiness was too good to think about having it end. Steeling herself, Ginny knew she was going to have to do something. The temper inside her would make it easy for her to confront the prying eyes, pens and cameras outside in the hall and tonight she and Harry would have to sit down and decide how they were going to approach the situation.

“Mrs. Edgecombe, could you please floo Number 12 Grimmauld Place and ask Harry if he can apparate here? Tell him it’s urgent – that the baby and James and I are fine but that he needs to come home.” She said, getting ready to head down the hall. “And if you could keep James occupied for a few more moments, I’m going to go take care of the gits in the hall so we can have some peace.”

She quietly turned the door knob and slipped out into the hallway. No one noticed her standing in their presence as they were turned towards the other end of the hall after hearing the front door shut below them. Ginny withdrew her wand from inside her robes and watched the crowd. For a moment, nervousness licked at the edges of her temper and she wondered to herself what she was going to do when the first reporter noticed her standing behind him. Taking a deep breath and realizing she was going to have to wing it – she pointed her wand towards the ceiling and shot a jet of red sparks towards it.

She watched as each reporter and photographer turned towards her as if they were all one living thing. There had to be at least twenty pairs of eyes raking over her and each one of them had a look of hunger in their eyes. Like they were starving in the desert and she was the last unsuspecting gazelle lost from the pack. Sensing they had hit pay dirt, they began to move towards her as one massive unit, quills poised and cameras at the ready.

Panic bubbled up in her throat for a moment, but she pushed it back down and when she thought of James scared face as she held him just a few moments ago, the mother bear sprang to life once more and roared inside her.

Setting a protective shield around herself so they couldn’t crowd her – she held her wand steady in front of her. “None of you will come any closer. Not unless you want to suffer a horrible case of jelly-legs and scale-rot on your most precious bits.” She said trying to keep her voice calm as she tilted her wand in the direction of one reporter that was edging closer and didn’t seem concerned with her threat. “Brave one aren’t you?”

“Hey now little lady – you can’t hide from us much longer – we got the pictures you know.” Came a voice from the back of the crowd. Ginny let her eyes slide over the group until they rested on one particularly slimy looking individual. The wizard was roughly Bill’s age and was holding his camera a loft so she could see it. Without thinking, she flicked her wand and summoned the camera towards her. It flew past her shield and dropped into her free hand.

“Hey! That’s private property Miss.” He said, shoving himself to the front of the crowd and coming up the edge of her shield, stopping when he felt the barrier between her and the rest of them.

“I don’t care if it is private property.” Ginny growled as she held the camera strap in her fist and swung it from side to side and pointed to the floor. “This is private property as well and the lot of you are trespassing and invading the privacy of the people that live in this flat!”

“We’ve got as much right to be here as anyone else! It’s a flat complex. We could be looking at real estate. Give me back my camera.” The photographer yelled at her.

She clenched her teeth and swung the offending object again, causing it to hit the shield she had put up in front if her. “Real Estate my big toe. You’re here to pry into Harry Potter’s business! And that makes it my business. I’ve tolerated much too much from the lot of you for the past three days. You’re making the people in this flat feel like prisoners in their own homes!” She shouted back.

“Hey Lady – we’re the press and we have rights and freedoms!” He said his face flushed with anger as he pointed his finger at her.

“And I have rights too. And I don’t plan to let any of you off of this floor without destroying those pictures.” Ginny exclaimed, her mind racing with thoughts of how she was going to destroy the film. As the thoughts flew through her mind, grey smoke expelled out of the camera in her hand and then watched as the other cameras in the hallway did the same. As it happened a look of shock crossed her face and the faces in front of her. It was then she realized the baby must have picked up on her thoughts and helped her do wandless magic.

Shouts of displeasure began to ring out in the hall and the crowd moved towards her as a whole. Ginny began to back up as they approached, stopping finally when she hit Mrs. Edgecombe’s door. Reminding herself that she had faced angry mobs much worse than this group; she reinforced the shield she had erected around her and waited for their next move.

As they stood at an impasse, Ginny felt a burst of air being displaced beside her and then watched as the group in front of her each wore a look of shock on their faces. She glanced to her left and felt relief wash over her as Harry smiled down at her.

Placing an arm around her shoulders, he leaned down towards her ear. “Mrs. Edgecombe said it was an emergency. Just couldn’t wait until I arrived?” He whispered as he gave her a quick squeeze of reassurance.

She shook her head slightly and stepped closer to him. “No.” She replied, looking up at him. “They had pictures of James. I think the baby just destroyed the film.” She whispered so low only he could hear, and watched as the green of his eyes turned cold and his jaw set itself in a grim line.

Harry looked out at the crowd in front of them and could tell they were all shocked to see him in standing there beside Ginny. Reaching into the pocket of his robes, he withdrew his wand and raised it so it was level with hers. “I suggest the lot of you leave now. This is not a request, this is a demand. I am a trained auror and can place you under arrest. And if any of you have a problem with complying I will allow Miss Weasley here to jinx at will.” He explained calmly.

The photographer who’s camera Ginny held, stepped forward slightly. “You can’t stop us from printing the truth Potter. Not that anyone will believe any of us now that that daft bird ruined the film.” He said, pointing at Ginny.

No sooner had the words left his mouth, did Harry advance on him and push him against the nearest wall. “You will apologize to her – right now.” Turning the rest of the group in the hall he pointed at end of the hall. “The rest of you best leave under your own will while you still can.” As he finished his sentence, the crowd turned at rushed down the stairs at the end of the hall.

“I’m not apologizing for anything.” The photographer croaked as he strained against Harry’s hold.

“Harry – let him go. He can’t report anything now.” Ginny said, laying a hand on his shoulder, hoping to calm him down.

“Ginny – he called you a daft bird.” Harry growled, glancing over his shoulder at her.

“And I think he’s a stunned arse. Please let him go before he makes up a worse story than they already will. The rest are gone and we need to talk.” She said, gesturing towards the stairwell.

Harry stood for a moment before dropping the arm that held his captive to his side. “Get the hell out of here. If I catch you or anyone else I saw up here today again, I will have you thrown into Azkaban.” He shouted, taking the camera that Ginny held from her and throwing in on the floor in front of the captive.

Harry stood quietly until the photographer gathered up his equipment and scrambled down the hallway. Once he heard the front door on four floors below them slam shut, he pulled Ginny into a tight embrace.

“Ginny – never do that again.” He whispered against her ear – his nose being tickled by a stray curl that had escaped her braid.

She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed him equally as tight. “I’m sorry Harry – I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do when I got out here – but they scared James. And I couldn’t let them get away with those pictures in their cameras.” She said, laying her cheek against the rough material of his outer cloak.

“Ginny – I know this is hardly the time to ask this question – but how does no one outside of the family and those close to you not know about James’ existence?” Harry asked, loosening his grip on her slightly so he could look at her.

“Because no one has ever noticed before. I rarely take James out into Diagon Alley or anywhere else where he might be recognized. When you left, the reporters did a few initial stories on me and the woes of being left alone once more. But after that they were more concerned with you and the war. I knew it would only take one reporter to notice me with my red hair carrying a black haired baby and the frenzy would start. I stayed close to the Burrow when I was pregnant and when James was tiny. We only really moved out when he turned three and that was less than two years ago.” She finished, looking at him and feeling happy that he had arrived in the nick of time.

Harry listened to her explanation and raised an eyebrow at her. “Wow – no one noticed at all?”

Ginny blushed at his question. “Maybe a few stray reporters stumbled across me in Ottery St. Catchpole but well – let’s just say Mum knows a smidge about memory charms and leave it at that.”

“I’ll pretend I didn’t just hear your Mum was breaking rules. Now shall we go see to Mrs. Edgecombe and James – she was terribly worried when she flooed me.” Harry said, giving Ginny a quick hug before opening the door they stood in front of and going into the flat.

Once the story was recanted for Mrs. Edgecombe, Ginny and Harry and James headed back to their own flat to settle down for the evening. Leaving James to play in the corner by the fireplace, Ginny gestured for Harry to join her in front of it.

“Harry – I think we should launch a pre-emptive strike regarding James.” She said, as he made himself comfortable next to her.

“Well you seem to be quite the little strategist Love. I think we’ve dodged a bullet though. The Evening Prophet has come and not a word about anything here.” He said while he pushed back her hair and began to rub her shoulders.

“But that’s the thing. I don’t want to have to dodge any more bullets in regards to this.” She responded quietly, looking at the spot where James was quietly playing. His dark head was bent towards the group of wizard figures he had spread out in front of him. She smiled as he picked one up and used him to give the rest of the figures their orders. “I don’t think we should pretend that the world won’t find out about James.”

Harry followed her gaze to their son and realized he agreed. Earlier that afternoon, his heart had plummeted to his feet when he had arrived on the scene and found Ginny facing off against an angry mob of reporters and that James had been scared by them. It was the last thing he wanted to deal with but he knew it was the something that had to be dealt with. “Ok – I know you’re right. What exactly do you have in mind?”

“Well I’m glad you agree Harry. He was so scared when I got there. I think we need to beat the reporters to the punch. We need to tell them about James ourselves. I know you hate dealing with the press but we give an interview to the Creevey brothers. And it can run in the Quibbler. It’s still early enough that we can get them over here tonight. Colin needs to bring me the pictures from our photo shoot with him and we can use one of those.” She said, sitting forward and watching him as she explained her plan, watched a wall of resistance come up in front of her just as she expected.

“An interview Ginny?” He said, running his hands nervously through his hair. Just the thought of talking to the press made his palms sweaty and his mind start to race with all the possible lies they could tell, even when he knew it was just the Creevey brothers he would deal with. And deep down he knew that they would never print a lie about him – not when the hero worship still seemed evident after all the years of knowing one another.

“It won’t be an interview really – Dennis will write the story. We just need to give him a few facts. I can even do it myself really – but it would be good if you gave a quote.” She replied, stilling his hands with hers and rubbing her thumbs across the tops of his hands. “Please? It will make me worry less. And you can have Moody and Remus set up some wards around the flat to keep the reporters away.”

He sat for a moment and let her requests sink in. “Fine – I’ll owl Remus and Moody to fill them in and ask that they come over in the morning. Go floo Colin and see if he can round up Dennis and be here this evening.” He conceded, a feeling of nervousness gathering in the pit of his stomach.

Ginny smiled and enveloped him in a hug. “Thank you Harry – for doing this – I know it won’t be easy for you – but it will make things better.” She said, kissing him quickly before leaving the couch to kneel in front of the fireplace to floo Colin.


*~*

Dennis flicked his wand at his quick quotes quill causing it to lift away from the parchment it had been scribbling against and lay down against the table where he sat with Ginny and Harry.

“Well I suppose that means it’s done.” He said, picking up the sheet and looking it over. “Well it looks fine to me. But that’s not for me to decide. Care to take a look?” He asked, sliding the parchment over to Harry and Ginny.

The couple stared for a moment. Harry sat rigid, the stress of actually giving an interview to the press – even if it was Dennis Creevey – made his muscles tense. Knowing he couldn’t put it off much longer he reached to pick up the paper. As he read, he could feel Ginny pressing against him and reading along with him, as her fingers kneaded the back of his neck, trying to help him relax.

Harry Potter – a father?
By Dennis Creevey, ESQ

When Harry Potter was just a baby he had a huge title bestowed upon him as he became the Boy who Lived. Then at the ripe age of 18, he saved the wizarding world from a most foul fate and became the Boy who Triumphed. Now Harry is about to embark on the most important task of his young life. He’s a father.

Returning home after almost five long years of war, he has been reunited with his soul mate, Ginny Weasley and their young son James. On the eve of the war, she had discovered she was pregnant. To keep their child safe from potential threat, the young couple agreed that Harry would continue on in the war effort and would stay out of contact with his love until it was once again safe to do so. A tough decision for any parent, but one that was necessary in times of war.
Mr. Harry Potter is now ready to embark on a great journey. James is a rambunctious four year old which this report can attest to. When arriving for the interview this evening, James was the first to fill me in on his parent’s future and just from a few moments of silent observing, you can tell that the time apart has not hurt the father-son bond these two share.

~With the printing of the article, the Potter-Weasley household also wishes to remind the public that they are very private individuals and wish to have their personal space respected. ~


Harry finished the final sentence and smiled, surprising himself as it happened. “That sounds great Dennis. But I didn’t know that Ginny was pregnant when I left.” He said, pointing to the discrepancy.

“Oh I know Harry! But this sounds much better. Trust me.” He said, rolling up the parchment.

“He’s right Love. And you essentially did that – you left me to keep me safe. You just didn’t know you were leaving James as well.” She squeezed his shoulders gently and looked at Dennis. “We’re happy with this. I think it’s fine for you to take it to Quibbler for publishing.”

“Excellent. And thank you both for thinking of me and Colin to help you with this news. I know that we can be over enthusiastic most of the time but we really do feel honoured that you thought of us!” He beamed, rising and rounding the table to shake both their hands.

“You and Colin are the only members of the press that I trust.” Harry said as his hand was shook soundly.

“Thank you Dennis.” Ginny said, forgoing the hand shake for a hug. “We really appreciate you doing this.”

“Again – it was my pleasure. You know I’d do anything for my favorite red-head in my house.” He responded with a chuckle. “Good luck in the morning. I really think this will help in heading them off.”

The couple walked him out to the fireplace where Colin was waiting.

“Heya Ginny! Harry! I expect you’re all finished then? James fell asleep about ten minutes ago. I figured you were almost done so I thought I’d wait. I did promise to tell you that he expects hugs and kisses from both of you. Said he’d wake up if he didn’t have them!” He said, springing to his feet.

Ginny gave him a quick hug. “Thank you Colin. I – we appreciate it.” She said.

“ Well let’s get this over to the Quibbler. They’re holding the presses just for us.” Dennis said as he reached in his bag and pulled out a pouch of floo powder and climbing into the fireplace.

“See ya Ginny! Great to see you Harry!” Colin said, following his brother.

Ginny and Harry waved by as the brothers threw the powder and vanished from sight. When the flames had died down and the room had fallen silent again, she looked up at Harry.

“You did great.” She said with a warm smile. “I’m very proud of you, you know?”

“Thanks. But don’t think I’m doing it again soon.” He said, leaning down for a kiss for which she happily obliged.

“Oh no – I think we should be finished with interviews for a little while to say the least.” She responded, playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. “You poor dear. So tense. What do you say about saying our good nights to our son and then I’ll try and help you relieve some of that stress you’re feeling?” She asked, glancing up at him from under her eyelashes.

“That, my love – is the best suggestion you’ve had all night.” Harry said, placing another deep kiss on her lips before swinging her up in his arms and heading down the hallway.



Chapter 33: The Trial Begins
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



Disclaimer: I own only the plot - the characters and the wonderful world they live in belong to JK Rowling!


Harry exited the lift at level nine in the Ministry of Magic and headed down the long corridor. When he neared the end, he swung a left and headed down the old stone stairs towards level ten. As he came to the last step, the dull roar that he heard at the doors to the lift escalated to what seemed like chaos. Taking a deep breath, he turned the corner to see a huge throng of people. Reporters and photographers took up much of the space before him. They took notice of him almost instantly and surged forward – questions filled the air and flash bulbs flared before him.

Putting his head down, he shoved his way through shouting out ‘no comment’ as he cleared a path to the front. Nearing the large wooden doors that indicated he was at courtroom ten, he noticed a familiar face.

“Remus!” He called out to get his attention. “Glad to see you’re here already.” He gestured back to the crowd that was now behind him. “How long have they been here?”

“They were here when I arrived.” Lupin commented as he knocked on the door to get the two of them access. A short wizard pulled it open and ushered them inside. “This trial is high profile Harry – I think we can expect them to be out there for the duration. Mad-Eye received a note today informing him that Malfoy is planning on countering our allegations with his own. He claims that you used undue force when arresting him.”

Harry felt the bile rise in the pit of his stomach. Not sure he had heard him right, he shook his head. “Pardon? He’s doing what?”

“He’s accusing you of being excessively violent when you took him into custody. Now Harry – we both know that he’s just trying to find a chink in our case. And we know that it’s not going to work.” Remus replied. “Mad-Eye is talking to the Chief Warlock to see if we can get it thrown out of the trial. So we mustn’t worry right now.” He checked his watch and took hold of Harry’s elbow. “Let’s get up to our seats – “

He was cut off by a loud shout coming from the door. Both Harry and Lupin turned to find Mad-Eye Moody attempting to shut the large wooden door on someone’s foot. “NO! The trial is closed to reporters unless you are on the approved list. And you sir are not! Now get out of the door!”

Harry rushed over to where his colleague stood to find that he was trying to close the door on one Dennis Creevey. “Wait! Mad-Eye – he’s allowed in.” He said, placing his grip above Moody’s and pulling open the door. “I added him to the list last night – just returning a favour. I promised him an exclusive on the opening days of the trial after he and Colin came over to do the story on James.”

Dennis slipped in through the crack in the door and straightened his robes as Moody eyed him wearily. “Thanks Harry – I really do appreciate this.”

“It’s not a problem Dennis.” He responded as he pointed to a set of chairs that were sectioned off by a blue rope in the top half of the seat in the chamber. “The press have to sit up there – the Chief Warlock insists that you lot be as far away as possible so you don’t distract from the proceedings.”

Dennis nodded and quickly headed off to find the best seat in the area Harry had pointed out. After he left, Harry noticed that both Moody and Lupin were looking at him curiously.

“I know, I’m being friendly to the press. Ginny has me 80% convinced that keeping on the good side of the Creeveys will be beneficial for our privacy in the long run. Apparently they have quite a large influence and reputation with their colleagues.”

“I think it’s a good Harry.” Lupin commented as he started up to where they would be sitting. “Come now, I think we should review the case notes before the circus starts.”

Being in the row of benches in courtroom 10 was a new experience for Harry. This was only his second time in the room the first time had him sitting in the middle of the room when he had been charged with using under-age magic in front of his Dudley at the start of his fifth year. As he peered down at the chained chair from their spot in the second row, he felt a wave of anxiety wash over him and the feelings he felt when he was fifteen hit him in the chest. Taking a deep breath he reminded himself that he was not being prosecuted this time around. This time he was there to make sure justice was served and the guilty party was made accountable for their crimes.

“All right then Harry?” Lupin asked, breaking into his thoughts.

“What?” Harry blinked and looked around the room as his mind cleared of the memories. “Oh – yes, just old ghosts haunting me.” He answered, settling back into his seat and shuffling papers around.

“The invitation to the wedding arrived yesterday.” Lupin commented, attempting to make small talk as they waited for the others to arrive. “Nymphadora is going to be out of St. Mungo’s in time to attend with me. Which will be nice. Are you all ready?”

Harry smiled slightly and shrugged. “Ginny and her mum are ready. I was reminded this morning that I still need to get new dress robes, a hair cut and oh yes – find the right words to tell Ginny that I love her and she’s it for me. The first two are easy enough but I have no idea what words will be right.”

Lupin chuckled and gave Harry a comforting pat on the shoulder. “Harry. It’s when you say things like this that I am reminded that you are James Potter’s son. He had the same problem when he married your dear mother. Anyone could see he was head over heels in love with her but when he tried to put it into words – he was stumped. And I’m sure you know by now that your father loved to talk as much as most people like to breathe.”

Harry felt the jittery feeling in his stomach settle. He enjoyed it when Lupin reminisced about his parents. The little tidbits he gave out made James and Lily more alive for him. “So what did he do?” He asked, hoping that he could follow his father’s example.

“Well when James still hadn’t written his vows, the four of us, Padfoot, Prongs, myself and Wormtail went out and got sodding plastered on firewhiskey. Lily went wild the next day. We had performed the standard sobering charms but she could still tell.” He laughed at the memory and looked Harry in the eye. “As I expect Ginny would as well. And it didn’t help James at all. In the end he spoke from the heart and when he was finished Lily was no longer mad at him. That’s the best advice I can give – no matter what words you choose they will be right for Ginny.”

“That’s what everyone tells me, but I’m not so sure they are right.” Harry said, feeling slightly better knowing that his father wasn’t brilliant at vows either. He was about to ask Lupin if his mother had been as nervous as his father when the giant doors opened and the selected members of the press, the remaining members of the Wizengamot and the group of the public started to fill the large chamber.

“Here we go.” Grumbled Moody as noise filled the room.

The noise was reaching a crescendo when the Chief Warlock stood and called for silence. When the crowd finally quieted down, he continued.

“Today we begin the trial of Draco Malfoy. Auror officials will begin the proceedings by presenting their case. Following that Mr. Malfoy’s defense will have their chance to counter the accusations. Will the Ministry officials please bring in the accused?”

At the end of his words, two wizards dressed in official ministry robes rose from their seats and pulled open a door at the front of the room. There was an audible gasp throughout the crowd as Malfoy was led in. If it was possible he looked to be in worse shape then when Harry had handed him over to the guards at Azkaban. His hair was still long and tangled and if possible even dirtier than before. The rumour was that Malfoy had staged a hunger strike after being locked in prison and it was blatantly obvious by the way his tattered robes hung on his thin frame.

As he was ushered past Lupin, Harry and Moody he swung his head up towards them and locked eyes with Harry. In the depths of the cold grey stare, Harry could see the hate he had for him. A shudder passed over Harry’s spine as they officers pushed their prisoner along and the connection was broken.

Harry watched as the guards settled Malfoy into the chained chair at the centre of the room. He sat limply and provided the guards with no assistance as they began to set the restraints around him. As the guard on Malfoy’s right lifted his arm, Harry caught a sudden movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned his head in time to see a hooded figure throw a wand through the air towards the prisoner.

Malfoy’s arm shot up to catch the wand, knocking the guard to the floor in the process. Swinging towards Harry, he leveled the wand at him.

“This is it Potter! I am going to get my revenge for me and the disgrace you placed on my family!” He shouted, his voice laced with madness.

Malfoy’s lips began to move as Harry’s wand hand shot out to cast a protection spell. Neither wizard had a chance to finish their casts as stunning spells flew through the air towards the mad prisoner. Harry watched as Malfoy was hit numerous times by the guards stationed about the chamber and crumpled to the floor. Before he could move from where he stood he felt a spell graze his arm; tearing his robe and singeing his skin. As he turned to survey the damage he was hit with a stunning spell from behind. As it his shoulder, he fell forward and hit his head on the ledge in front of him, causing the world to go dark.

*~*

Ginny ran down the long corridor of the fourth floor at St. Mungo’s with a scrap of parchment clutched tightly in her hand. She had been giving Tonks a final examination before signing the release papers allowing her to go home when a bright red parchment flew into the room and started to flutter around her head; jabbing at her ear. Initially she thought it had to be one of her patients from the children’s ward and opened it. Her eyes immediately zeroed in on Harry, spell damage and fourth floor. With little explanation to Tonks she rushed from the room to find him. Rounding the corner of the corridor, she skidded to a stop at the Healer’s station.

“Harry Potter – where is he?” She asked, gasping for air.

“Healer Weasley! Mr. Potter is in the room at the end of the hall but – “ The medi-witch who was answering her never got to finish as Ginny took off again towards the end of the hall and Harry.

When she arrived at the end of the hall, she stopped and placed a hand on the door to calm her jittery stomach. It’s okay Ginny, you can deal with whatever has happened. Just be strong. As she finished telling herself this an image of Neville visiting his parents flashed in her mind and she wasn’t entirely sure if she could deal with taking James and the new baby to St. Mungo’s to visit their father. Tears welled up in her eyes and she brushed them away quickly. Taking a deep breath she pushed the door open and entered the room.

Harry was the only occupant of the dimly lit room and he lay in the bed, his eyes closed over. The blanket was tucked around him and she immediately focused on the bright white bandage that was wrapped around his arm. Quietly, she moved to his side and let her eyes do a quick scan to see if he wore any other bandages but found no others. His glasses lay on the bedside table; a large crack marring the left lens. When she looked at his face she took note of the large purple bruise on his left cheekbone.

Knowing that spell damage wasn’t always visible by just looking at a person – Ginny looked about the room for his chart. As she moved away from his side to check at the front of his bed she heard a low moan rumble from deep in his chest. Rushing back to his side she grabbed his hand.

“Harry?” She asked, using her free hand to rub his cheek softly. “Can you hear me?”

He groaned again and turned his cheek into her palm, the beard stubble scratching at her hand. “Ginny?” He whispered as he opened his eyes slightly and squinting up at her. “Why’s everything fuzzy?” He asked, blinking at her.

Ginny sniffed back tears and reached over to retrieve his glasses from the table. She knew then he would be okay. “Because you don’t have your glasses on.” She fixed them before sliding them onto his nose.

Harry tried to rise up on his elbows so he could get more familiar with his surroundings and winced in pain as he did so. Ginny gently pushed him back onto the pillow and performed a quick pain relief spell on him. “What happened? Where am I?”

“I can’t answer the first question, but as for the second, you’re in the Spell Damage ward at St. Mungo’s and scaring me half to death.” She answered, placing her wand into her robe pocket. There was a creaking at the door and both of them watched as Healer O’Malley entered with Lupin following behind. “Healer O’Malley! Have you been assigned to Harry’s case?” She asked, staying at his bed while the two new arrivals approached.

“I had hoped to arrive here before you Healer Weasley. It seems Mr. Potter that you were hit by a rogue spell during the opening trial of Draco Malfoy. Quite lucky too, no damage from the spell itself, but you do have a nasty cut on your arm from the one that grazed you and a concussion from the fall you took.” He explained, picking up Harry’s chart from the front of the bed. “Normally I would strongly advise you to stay here tonight for observation but as Healer Weasley is more than capable to keep an eye on you, I will be releasing you at the end of her shift.” He glanced at the clock on the wall. “Which should be in an hour should it not?”

“Yes sir – I just need to finish my examination of Miss Tonks. I’m releasing her today.” She responded, looking at Harry and then Lupin with a smile on her face. “I hope she is packing her bags.”

“Excellent – now Ginny if he shows any adverse symptoms – take him in and I’ll leave the paperwork to you. I must go see to another patient that was just taken in. Seems he had a run in with a fanged doorknob – in the most embarrassing of areas.” O’Malley smiled and set Harry’s chart down before hurrying out the door.

She waited until she heard her supervisor’s voice trail off. “You fell? You daft git! You had me terrified!” She shouted, her brimming to the edges of her eyes before she grabbed him in a hug. “Never – ever – ever – do that again.”

Harry looked helplessly over her shoulder at Lupin who was biting back a smile. Both men knew he had faced much worse than a concussion during his time in the war but both knew that he would try his best to never tell Ginny those tales.

Patting her back soothingly, he kissed her cheek gently. “I’m sorry Love – I promise to duck under the table if the spells fly.” He said, smiling when she wiped her wet eyes on his shoulder.

“You better – when I came to the room all I could think was that I would have to be like Neville’s poor Gran and bring James and the baby here each week to visit you. And you’d give him sweet wrappers….” She trailed off and began crying once more.

“It’s ok Love – I promise.” Harry said patiently.

“You do? Right under the table?” She asked sniffing and looking at him with serious eyes.

“Right under. I won’t think about it twice.” He said, smiling before he kissed her lightly on the lips. When he heard the quiet cough of Lupin reminding them he was still in the room, he sighed. “Now as much as I love having you in a bed with me, Remus is in the room. I think we should find out what has happened since I took a blow to the side of the head. Don’t you?” Harry chuckled when she smiled at his comment and left his arms to sit on the edge of the bed. “So Remus – what exactly happened? I saw Malfoy fall to the ground when he was hit by the stunners and then I hit my head. Fill me in.”

Lupin moved over to where the spare chair sat in the room and pulled it closer to the bed. “Well Harry – it was chaos – which is why it took us so long to get you over here. Spells were flying every which way. Malfoy had planted a follower in the court – she’s the one that threw the wand. The guards detained her quickly and she’s being held for questioning. Malfoy, however didn’t fare so well. The effects of the stunning spells were too much for his weakened state; he died in the courtroom. He’s gone Harry.”

Harry could feel Ginny’s hand squeezing his as Lupin’s words sunk in. He suddenly felt a weight lift from his shoulders. “He’s gone?”

“Yes, we took the body here to confirm his death. The Healer signed the death certificate just before I headed up here to find you.” Lupin watched Harry’s face closely for a reaction, though his former student didn’t smile or show much feeling, he knew he felt a sense of relief. After chasing an enemy for as long as Harry did – a relief of it being over had to be felt.

“Does this mean that the trial is over?” Ginny asked.

“It will be on hold for a little while. There’ll have to an investigation to determine how everything happened.” Lupin said, rising from his chair. “Now isn’t the time to discuss it. I will let the two of you get ready to go home and I must go see if Nymphadora is ready for her Mr. Lupin to take her home.” He smiled and blushed slightly. “It will be nice to have her back at the house – even if she still isn’t the same girl yet.” He moved to give Ginny a quick kiss on the cheek. “Harry – I will send you an owl to let you know what is going to happen next. For now – concentrate on the wedding. Let it be a happy time.”

As he neared the door – Harry found his voice again. “Remus? Who was the person that supplied the wand?” He asked.

Lupin turned and looked at the two of them. “It was Ariadne Calileigh. She was apparently visiting Malfoy in prison. He somehow put her under the Imperius Curse. Alastor is going to question her and try to find out the exact story behind it all.”



A/N: Thanks for reading - I hope you enjoyed the chapter. I apologize for the delay in getting it out to the world - but my muses decided to go on holiday!



Chapter 34: The morning of.....
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: All characters belong to J.K. Rowling.



“Ginny dear – it’s time to get up.” Molly said as she opened the curtains to let the sunshine into the room.

Ginny groaned as she rolled over and pulled her blankets over her head. “Mum – I’ll do my chores later – just let me sleep.” She said sleepily.

Molly blinked and looked at her daughter’s sleeping form. “Chores? What are you going on about? Ginny Weasley – wake up this instant!” She said sternly as she pulled the covers off of her daughter. “You haven’t done a chore in this house in about four years. Now get up – Hermione is on her way and your brothers are outside getting the back yard ready.”

Ginny slowly began to drift from the surface of her dream. As her mother’s words filtered through the sleep induced haze she was in, she realized what her mother was going on about. Instantly, her eyes flew open and she sat up in bed. “Oh Mum! Today is the day isn’t it?” Jumping from the bed, she did an excited twirl about the room and grabbed Molly in a hug. “I’m getting married!”

“Yes – now when you’re finished acting like you didn’t know what day it was – I want you to get to the loo and have a shower – we have a lot to do today.” Molly said, smiling as she hugged her daughter back before kissing her on the cheek. “I’m going to head down to the back yard and make sure your brothers are doing things correctly. If I don’t keep an eye on them the twins will have everything undone. Then I’ll bring you up some breakfast.”

“Thanks Mum – are you sure I can’t help with anything?” She asked preparing to follow Molly out the door.

“No! Today is your day and you won’t be spending it downstairs preparing food or arranging flowers or the like.” Molly paused and gave her daughter another hug. “Today is your day my darling. That makes you the princess.” She placed her hands on Ginny’s shoulders and looked at her daughter. How she had grown from a tomboy of a girl into a confident witch without Molly noticing was beyond her. Tears bloomed in her eyes as she thought about the fact that her only daughter was just hours away from marriage.

“Mum? Are you going to cry?” Ginny asked cautiously.

“No – no of course not – but as mother of the bride I am entitled to if I see fit!” She exclaimed as she gave Ginny another bone crushing hug. “Now get yourself into that shower. When I come back in I expect to see you sitting here waiting to get ready!” She finished before sweeping out the door and shutting it tightly behind her.

Ginny stood for a moment and looked about her childhood room. It was in this room she had first learned about Harry. She had been all of five when Molly had first told her the story about the boy who had lived; the boy who had saved everyone from the evils of Voldemort. Ginny remembered how she had sat on the very same bed she had just risen from with her knees pulled up to her chin, listening as her mother told the story to her. Her five year old heart had gone out to the poor orphan boy and she smiled as she remembered how she asked Molly if he could come and live with their family. And each time she asked the question; Molly would smile and kiss her daughter good night before she tucked her snugly into bed. Ginny smiled wistfully at the memory, it seemed even at that young age she knew she had been destined to be a part of Harry’s life. And in just a few hours she was about to make sure he was a part of her life forever.

*~*

At their flat, Harry was enjoying a peaceful dream where he and Ginny were spending some quality time under an oak tree when he felt a poke in his rib cage.

“Ger-off – I need five more minutes.” He grumbled, rolling away from the offending finger. He felt a slight movement on the bed and the poke came again. “Ow! I just want five more minutes!” He complained, vowing to ignore whoever was disturbing him when the poke happened again. Sighing loudly he opened his one eye that wasn’t hidden in his pillow to find an identical pair of green eyes to his staring at him.

“Daddy - It’s time to get up. Granmum told me when the little hand was on the eight and the big hand was on the 12 that I had to wake you up.” James said, reaching out to poke Harry again.

“Hey – I’m awake.” He said, grabbing James finger gently. “No more poking ok?”

James snatched his finger away and rose onto his knees to bounce excitedly. “Okay, can we have breakfast now? I’m hungry.”

Harry sat up against the headboard and yawned sleepily. “Sure we can Mate. Is your Mum already up?”

James stopped his bouncing and regarded Harry with a look that said, you’re being silly Dad. “Mummy’s at Granmum and Grampie’s house remember?”

The words hit Harry like a freight train as he realized what today actually was. By this time tomorrow they’d be married. He just had to get through a day of waiting and a ceremony where he had to vow his love to her in front of everyone that was near and dear to his heart. “Of course I remember! I was just playing!“ He said as he threw back the covers and got out of bed. Holding his arms out, James jumped into them. “Let’s go get some breakfast shall we? Then it’s a bath for you and a shower for me. Mummy will know if we don’t clean behind our ears today.”

*~*

Ginny pulled her robe tighter as she sat down at the window seat in her room and watched the hustle and bustle taking place in the garden below. The twins were setting up a pile of fireworks in the corner of the garden. Fred was arranging them while George kept look out for their Mum. Bill was magicing chairs into straight rows and although her father was no where to be seen, she knew he was hidden in his shed. After the many years of marriage that he had shared with Molly, Arthur knew when to keep out of her way and today was one of those particular days. She was about to raise a hand to wave at Charlie when Molly walked in with Hermione in tow. Setting down the tray that was in her hands, she conjured a large comfortable chair and helped Hermione settle into it.

“Ginny! Get away from that window – what if Harry was to arrive and look up and see you? If there is one superstition that I agree with muggles on it’s that the husband not see his bride on the day of their wedding.” Molly kissed Ginny as she sat down on the side of the bed and reached for a slice of toast from the tray.

“Honestly Mum – it’s not like Harry and I haven’t been spending every other day together since he came home. You’d swear that this was the 15th century.” She said, rolling her eyes as Molly turned to survey the room. “When are Harry and James coming over here? You know I would like to see my little boy before the ceremony.”

“Harry, James and Ron will arrive with plenty of time for you to see James. Now I want you to enjoy your breakfast it while I see to everything in the kitchen. I’ll be back later to help you with your dress. If you need anything before then, just call.” Molly answered, patting Ginny on the shoulder before heading out the door.

“You know, both you and your mum are surprisingly calm considering what day it is today.” Hermione said, pick up an apple from the pile of food that Molly had left for the two of them. “Ow!” She cried, cringing as she put her hand on her belly.

“What’s the matter?” Ginny asked, flying to her side and immediately going into healer mode. “Is it back pain? A contraction? You know twins are always notoriously early – “

Hermione chuckled and held up a hand to still Ginny’s fretting. “Oh no – it’s not any of that. One of the twins just took out a kidney that’s all.” When Ginny looked at her suspiciously, Hermione laid her hand across her heart. “I promise! I had a long talk with the two of them last night and told them they had to promise to stay inside until tomorrow at least and that if they took the limelight from their Aunt Ginny’s day I would never forgive them.” She took a healthy bite of her apple and munched happily. “Now – let’s talk about you. It’s your day after all!”

Ginny got up from her knees and sat back down on the bed, picking up a fresh slice of toast from the stack on the tray. Molly had seemed to think that there was an army upstairs in her daughter’s room.

“I’m excited of course – but I just can’t wait for it to be over and done with. It’s kind of surreal you know? That after all both Harry and I have been through we’re finally going to have the chance to be married and raise James and the baby.” Ginny said, quietly picking apart the piece of toast in her hand and letting the crumbs fall onto the floor below.

“Ginny – I felt the exact same when I was married. Do you remember how terrified I was? I thought for sure that Ron would run away or that I would trip going to the altar…” She trailed off when she saw the look of horror on Ginny’s face. “Oh! I guess I shouldn’t have brought that up! None of those things are going to happen to you! Harry would never run away in a million years – he’s noble that way.” She cursed as she watched her sister-in-law’s lip begin to tremble and her eyes fill up with tears. “Oh blast it! I didn’t mean that either – Harry loves you. He always has –“

Ginny laughed and brushed the tears out of her eyes. “It’s okay Hermione. I know he does – it’s the hormones I think. I don’t remember feeling this many ups and downs with James.” She stood and gave her friend a hug and pressed a kiss in her bushy brown hair.

“Are you feeling fine otherwise? I don’t think I’ve asked about the baby in such a long time. I’m such a horrible friend!” Hermione said, feeling tears bubble to the surface as well.

“Oh – Baby Potter and I are both doing fine. And don’t go feeling guilty about not asking me about us. You have two concerns of your own right now.“ Ginny sat back on the bed and pulled the towel from her hair, shaking the dark red tresses out around her shoulders.

“I think it’s best we get started on the primping portion of my day don’t you?” She said, reaching over to grab her wand from the night table. “We’ll start with your hair I think –“

“Oh no – concentrate on yourself Ginny. I can take care of those things myself.” Hermione protested.

“Hermione dear – you know I love you like a sister but honestly you and I both know you’re hopeless when it comes to these sorts of charms. And I learned from the best. Mrs. William Weasley taught me well when she tied the knot with Bill. It’ll take me but a minute. And then I’ll do mine. I want us both to look gorgeous today.”

“Where is Fleur today? I expected your Mum would have herded her in here with us.” Hermione asked, reaching for slice of toast for herself.

Ginny stood and began to fuss with Hermione’s wild mane. “She was planning on being here, but Amie isn’t feeling well this morning, she’s going to be here for the ceremony though. Now let’s see – I’m thinking an upsweep would work well today.” She continued as she started to work the charm to style the other witch’s hair.

*~*

Harry sighed and counted to ten patiently before turning towards his son who was presently sitting on the chair in the living room and was stubbornly refusing to head to the loo and have his bath.

“James you need to have your bath.” He said evenly, trying to not let the exasperation show in his voice.

“No! I want Mummy to give me my bath!” He whined, crossing his arms across his chest and settling further back into the chair.

“We’ve talked about this Mate. Mummy is at the Burrow and once we get ready here we can go over there to see her.” He responded, kneeling in front of his son so he was at the same level for negotiation with him.

“I. Want. Mummy.” James said quietly, staring back at Harry with the same emerald gaze.

“Please, just do this one thing okay? And I promise we can go right away. You don’t want Mummy and Granmum to be upset do you?” He asked, reaching out to tug at James’ arm.

“No! I. Want. Mummy!” He yelled, pulling away from Harry and curling himself into a tight ball. Harry backed off momentarily and wondered where this sullen little boy had come from. Just a half an hour ago, his son had been chatty and laughing at his father as Harry spilled the carton of milk on the table. Now, he could see from the set of James’ jaw and the way he was balled up in the chair that it wasn’t going to be easy to deal with him.

Counting to ten again, Harry leaned forward. “James – Uncle Ron is going to be here soon and we are supposed to be ready for when he comes.” He said, reaching out again.

“NO!” James yelled loudly, his cheeks becoming red with anger. “I don’t want a bath! And I don’t want to wear those stupid robes!” He sprang from ball and stood on the chair and glared down at his father, tears welling in his eyes and threatening to spill over.

Harry stood and decided to try and different approach. Pointing towards the hallway, he began to yell. “James Weasley! You will march yourself down the hall this instant and get into that bath!”

“NO! NO! NO!” James yelled back, his little hands balling into fists as he started to cry. Harry felt the magic in the room before he saw it. It made the air hum with power. The pictures that Ginny had hung on the wall began to shake on the nails from which they hung. “NO!” He screamed one final time before he tried to leap off of the chair. Harry sensing where he was going to go was able to grab him in mid-air. As his arms closed around his son’s waist, James started to struggle. “LET ME GO!!” He yelled through his tears.

“James – you are going to have a bath and that’s final!” Harry said his voice firm as he tried to keep a grip on his son’s wriggling body.

“I want Mummy!” He cried as his legs kicked, hitting Harry in the thighs.

“I know you do. But before we can go and see her you need to have a bath.” Harry responded trying to hold his temper in check. Magic was still humming through the room as James’ tantrum continued. It was the first time Harry had experienced tantrum of Weasley proportions and he was quite sure it wasn’t how he expected to spend the morning of his wedding day. Hitching James higher up on his hip, he held onto him and tried to send out calming thoughts to his son. Harry was sure at this moment, the tantrum had become so far out of hand that James wasn’t sure why he was upset.

As quickly as it had appeared, the magic that Harry felt in the room began to subside. Harry felt the tenseness that was holding James rigid leave his little body and his legs stopped kicking. He used the opportunity to shift him in his arms and turn him so he was snugger in Harry’s arms. He was still crying but the temper was gone from him.

“I- wa-ant- Mummy.” James hiccupped, wrapping his arms around Harry’s neck.

Harry sighed and sat down in the chair that they were standing beside. “I know Mate. But Mummy’s quite busy today. That’s why we are going to get ready before we go over to the Burrow.” He rubbed his back James back and gave him a hug. “Just think how happy Mummy will be if we arrive all ready for the wedding.” He said, hoping that the promise of Ginny being happy at their efforts would help convince James.

“I don’t want to go.” James said quietly, wiping at his tears and rubbing his face into Harry’s t-shirt.

“Go where? To the Burrow?” He asked, looking down into James’ face. His brow was furrowed and though Harry hadn’t known his son as long as Ginny had, he could tell he was worried over something. It was the same look he got when he had something eating at him.

James shook his head as he gathered a piece of Harry’s shirt in his fingers to rub. “No, I don’t want you and Mummy to get married.” He said, tears welling up in his eyes again.

“You don’t want us to get married? Do you want to tell me why?” He asked quietly, hoping to keep him calm.

“Cause Jimmy told me in the park that Mummy’s and Daddy’s fight when they get married. I don’t want you to fight. Then you’ll leave again.”

Harry sat for a moment and let the words sink in and tried to think about how Ginny would deal with this sort of statement. She of course would have the perfect answer for him, but he knew if he tried to consult with her today – Molly would run him out of the Burrow on the end of her broomstick.

“Well, James – I think Jimmy might be telling you some fibs. Mummy and I might fight, but I promise you I won’t leave because we fight. I love you and Mummy more than I could ever imagine. I’d be too sad if I left” He explained, looking down at James.

“Are you sure?” He asked doubtfully.

“I’m positive. Now today is supposed to be really happy. Granmum won’t be very pleased if we show up sad will she?” He asked, tickling James in the ribs until a giggle escaped. Satisfied, he stood up and lifting James high over his head to make him laugh, he made his way down the hall to the bath.

*~*

Ginny felt a seed of panic take place in her belly as she watched Molly bring her dress into the room. Her hand rubbed the bump and felt the baby move inside her.

“Ok Ginny dear – let’s get you into this.” She said, bring the dress over to where Ginny stood beside the mirror that had been moved into her daughter’s room.

“Mum – I don’t think it’s going to fit. The baby’s too big.” She said, gripping the knot on her bathrobe.

Molly rolled her eyes and sighed. “Nonsense, it’s nothing a little magic can’t fix. Now let’s get into this. Your ceremony is only a few hours away – there are still some things that need to be done. I have to find your father and make sure he gets into those dress robes so he can bring you down the aisle, and then I need to find Ron and make sure he gets Hermione settled at the front of the church. It’s a shame that she won’t be able to walk down before you.”

“Mum – I don’t care about that – I’m just happy she’s still able to be here. Those twins are going to arrive sooner rather than later. I can tell.” Ginny responded, giving in and removing her bathrobe.

Standing before the mirror, she stepped into the dress as Molly held it up for her. As she pulled it around her shoulders, her fears materialized, while the fabric was still abundant and flowing in the skirt, from her waist up it was tight. “Mum! It doesn’t fit – I knew this would happen – what will we do?”

“Shhh – it’s ok darling. Remember we are witches.” Molly said, patting her shoulder lovingly. Taking her wand out of her robes, she stood behind Ginny and recited a simple sewing spell. Ginny felt the fabric loosen around her midsection and breasts before tightening up again as the buttons in the back were done up.

Both witches looked at Ginny’s reflection in the mirror. In that moment, Molly realized that her baby was finally grown up. Blinking back tears, she gave Ginny a tight squeeze.

“You look beautiful Ginny.” She said, kissing her on the cheek. “I am so proud of you. I’m going to go find your father so he can get ready to take you down the aisle.” She exclaimed, walking towards the door.

“Thanks Mum.” Ginny replied blinking back tears herself.

“Now don’t get wrinkled and keep the door shut. Harry just arrived when I came up here. And you don’t want him seeing you if he wanders by.”

“Harry’s here? And James? How do they look?” Ginny said excitedly rushing towards the window to see if she could catch a glimpse of her two favorite men.

“Get away from that window Ginny! Your Dad will be bringing James with him when he comes to get you. If I find out either one of you tries to see each other I will hex the two of you so bad you will wish you were back at Hogwarts!” Molly admonished with a smile on her face. Turning on her heel she left her daughter alone to ponder her thoughts.

*~*

Ginny was getting quite bored of being alone in her room and had just begun to count the faded flowers on her old wallpaper when there was a soft knock on the door. Jumping up, she hurried over to greet her visitor.

“Who’s out there?” She asked.

“Your favorite brother.” Came the reply.

“Charlie?” She asked, knowing it full well it was Bill on the other side of the door.

“Open the door Gin-Gin – it’s me Bill.” He said, as the door flung open and Ginny shooed him in. Once inside, he was awestruck at the sight of his baby sister. She seemed so grown up, so far away from the wiggly little pink baby his mother had brought home from St. Mungo’s all those years ago. Gathering her up in a hug, he squeezed her tight.

“Wow – Ginny – you look so beautiful.” He said in wonder.

Blushing she laughed at his compliment. “Thanks Bill, I just wish time would go a bit faster – I don’t know how much longer I can take it.” She said, setting herself back down in the chair she had vacated to answer the door. “Hey? Why are you up here? Does Mum know?”

Bill laughed and sat himself down on the bed. “No – I snuck away to see you. I couldn’t let my favorite sister get married before I wished her good luck.”

“She’ll skin you if she finds you up here. You could be passing information to the enemy. She might to try to cut that hair of yours.” Ginny said, smirking when his cheeks flamed pink.

“Don’t worry I’ll use my charm on her if she catches me. She’s busy finding Dad anyways – he seems to be in hiding.” Bill replied with a laugh and tugged on his ponytail subconsciously. Even after being married for nearly eight years to Fleur, he still kept his hair longer than his mother would have liked. Rising from his spot on the bed, he leaned over his baby sister and kissed her lightly on the cheek.

“Congratulations Ginny. I know he’ll treat you the way you should be treated. And that you’ll both get the happiness you deserve. Married life is nothing like you’d expect but I know you’ll settle in quickly. Little Mum that you are.” He said quietly, brushing away a tear that escaped from her eye.

“Bill! Don’t make me cry!” Ginny said grabbing her oldest brother in a hug that squeezed the breath out of him. When his breath returned, he squeezed her lightly trying not to wrinkle her dress.

“Sorry little sis. I better go and see if I can find Fleur and Amie. We need to settle the baby before the ceremony starts. Love you Gin-Gin.” Bill said, giving her one last kiss before heading to the door. When he got there he checked both ways and slipped out.

Alone again, Ginny picked up her wand from the side table and twirled it through her fingers. She heard squeals and shouts from outside and smiled as she recognized them as James and the twins. Hoping he was keeping as clean as possible, she decided to sneak a peek out the window. As she rose from the chair, she heard a creak from a loose floor board behind her. Turning, she let a squeal of her own out as her eyes fell on Charlie.

“Charlie! You made it!” She cried, throwing her arms around him and pulling him tight.

“You didn’t think I’d miss my favorite sister’s only wedding do you?” He said, returning the hug. Extracting himself from her arms, he leaned against the small desk.

“Well Mum was a little worried you’d not be able to get away on such short notice. And I’m your only sister.” She replied, smiling and leaning up against the desk beside him.

“Small detail. I figured the dragons would be fine on their own for a few days.” He commented, looking at their reflection in the mirror across from where they stood. “Wow – we’re a far way away from those afternoons in the meadow playing quidditch. We do look good though.” He said, throwing an arm across her shoulders and pulling her close.

Ginny nodded and smiled up at Charlie. Bill may be her favorite of all her brothers, but Charlie was the one that made her feel safest. From as long as she remembered, he was the one that coddled her when she got hurt and their mother wasn’t around to take the hurt away. The memories made her feel sentimental and the prickly feeling in her eyes started to return. Blinking back the tears that were threatening to come again, she decided to lighten the mood.

“So did you bring a special date today?” She wondered, and giggled when the tips of his ears turned pink.

“No – I did not. Mum was disappointed of course.” He said.

“But there is someone? Charlie I can tell by your pink ears.” She commented, watching as he mulled something over in his head. She poked him in the side when he stayed silent for too long. “Come on – tell me – I promise not to tell Mum.”

“It’s not Mum that I worry about so much as those damn twins. You know if they find out they’ll hound me to my dying day.” Charlie said, chuckling to himself. “But if you promise not to mention it – yes – I’ve met a girl.” He held up a hand to keep Ginny from blurting out the questions he knew she had. “And that’s all I’m say about it today you can ask me tomorrow ok Little Snitch?” He said, smiling when the use of his old nickname for her caused to blink back tears again.

“Charlie – you haven’t called me that since – “

“Since the summer you set off for Hogwarts and you told me that you were too grown up for me to call you that. But sometimes I forget yeah?” He kissed the top of the springy curls that were piled on top of her head. “I better get back downstairs before Mum knows I’m not watching the twins like I promised. Good luck – Harry caught himself a good one.” Giving her a quick hug, he too slipped off as quietly as he had entered, leaving Ginny alone once again.

Sighing when the door clicked shut again, she cursed herself for being such a soft touch today. Patting the bump that was nicely hidden by her dress, she moved over to the mirror to inspect the small amount of make up she had applied to make sure it had not smudged.

“This is your fault Baby Potter.” She said quietly, while she peered into the mirror and dabbed at her eyes.

The next knock that came at the door was sharp and precise. Knowing exactly who it was, she called out for them to enter.

“Hello Ginevra.” Percy said as he came into the room. “I met Charlie on the stairs and he said I would find you up here. Has Mum hidden you away for the day then?”

“Hello Percy.” She said, greeting him with a quick hug. Percy was never the type to linger on signs of personal affection with her so she took what she could get. “I’ve been up here most of the day. Mum is quite afraid I would run into Harry.”

At her future husband’s name, her brother’s spine stiffened. Although he was now once more welcome into the family, the way he had treated Harry all those years ago was still a touchy subject. Pushing his glasses back up from the tip of his nose, he cleared his throat and straightened the large ascot that he wore with his dress robes.

“Although I don’t much approve of you and Harry marrying each other;” He held up a hand to keep Ginny from protesting his words. “As much as I don’t approve - I do see how happy you are. So I wanted to wish you all the best. I didn’t want to tell you down in front of the whole family but I am proud of who you’ve grown up to be. Even if you tend to take after the less-civilized part of our family.” He said, as the tip of his nose rose into the air.

Ginny stood speechless at her brother’s words. She knew it had taken him a lot of self sacrificing to head up the stairs and wish her well on her wedding day and she also knew that although he had chosen words that many would have thought to be less than sincere; it had to have taken him a long time to choose them and for Percy they were the right words. Smiling, she hugged him once more.

“Thank you Percy. That means a lot to me.” She said, quietly, resting her cheek against the soft fabric of his dress robes.

Hugging her back, he stood awkwardly for a moment before moving to the door. “Yes, well – I must get downstairs and make sure the Penny is still where I left her. Fred and George tend to scare her and we had a rocky apparition from America.” He said and then as quickly and surprisingly as he had come, he left the room.

At his retreating back, she rolled her eyes and settled herself back into the chair at her desk. She glanced at the clock and noticed there was still an hour or so until the ceremony and she was getting quite cooped up in her room. Deciding she would seek out Molly and beg to change scenery, she headed towards the door. As her hand closed on the door knob, she felt two identical pops of air being displaced on each side her.

“Ginny, I would highly recommend – “ One began.

“That you stay where Mum has put you.” The other finished as each grabbed an elbow and carried her away from the door.

“Hey!” She cried out, looking up at the twins as they stood with their arms crossed in front of her. “When have you two ever done what Mum has asked?” She queried, raising an eyebrow at the pair.

“Since she just put the run to us out in the garden.” George responded.

“She’s off her nut today – Gin-Gin. You’ve worked her up into a tither.” Fred countered. “Now – normally this would prove to be a good thing – “

“Usually having one of the others to fuss over means she ignores her best –“

“Brightest –“

“And most handsome.” George finished with a wounded look as Ginny rolled her eyes at their words. “But today she’s determined to have us watched.”

“Which is why we are here little sister.” Fred said, conjuring two chairs for himself and his brother to sit in. “We need to lay low for a few moments.”

Ginny looked from one twin to the other. The sparkle in their eyes seemed to brighter than usual. “So I’m only worth a visit when you are on the run? This wouldn’t have anything to do with the giant stash of fireworks I noticed you hiding earlier in the morning?” She asked, chuckling when identical looks of surprise crossed their faces. “I noticed you this morning before Mum forbade me to look out the window.”

“You’re a sharp one dear Ginny.” Fred said, reaching out to pat her shoulder lovingly.

“Never miss a thing do you?” George countered, throwing his arm around her shoulder as well. “Harry won’t be able to get away with anything, will he Fred?”

“No – not a thing. We’ll be losing two of the best.” Fred responded, hanging his head in sadness.

“Two? What are you two on about now?” Ginny asked, looking from one brother to the other.

“You and Harry are foraging onto the path of adulthood. No more fun stuff.” George said.

“But we can tell you two are fool enough to love every minute of it.” Fred said, a smile breaking out onto his face. “Which is why we had to get bring fireworks today. To give you one more moment of pure foolish joy before heading down the path. Can you let Mum know that when she goes nutter on us later in the evening?”

“Sometimes I wonder where Mum and Dad found the two of you.” Ginny laughed, throwing her arms around both brothers to hug them at once.

“Well, we like to think wandering gypsies left us behind one fateful day. To allow us to bring joy to the hearts of our family.” Fred said, laughing and returning his sister’s hug. “We’re happy for you Gin-Gin.”

“Over the moon - even happier to have Harry as an official member of the family. It means we can test products on him. We have a family only rule.” George said, returning the hug as well before standing abruptly.

Ginny was about to comment that their family only rule only applied to the two of them when they both whipped out their wands and banished their conjured chairs. Footsteps could be heard outside on the landing by her room.

“We must be off dear sister.” Fred said quietly, lifting his wand into the air.

“We shall see you at the ceremony.” George whispered, mimicking his brother’s actions. Together they disapperated together, leaving Ginny alone once more.

The footsteps stopped outside her door and Ginny looked towards it thinking it had to be Molly coming to visit and was pleasantly surprised when she found the last of her brothers was opening the door.

“Hey Ginny.” Ron said, quietly as he slipped into the room following the twin’s abrupt departure. Like the rest he was dressed in his finery, but she knew these were the same cut and colour as what Harry and James were wearing as he was the best man.

“Ron! You look smashing! But why no maroon?” She laughed, embracing her brother in a hug.

“Thanks. I told Harry if he made me wear maroon I’d turn him to stone and then let the twins experiment on him. You look pretty great yourself. Harry is going to be speechless.” Ron chuckled as returned her hug. Much taller than Ginny, her head tucked in under his chin. “Hermione wanted me to sneak up and visit. She figured you’d be nutters by now.”

“Oh I’ve had a few visitors.” She commented, gesturing towards the edge of the bed as she sat down once again. “And all had ginger hair, just like you and me.”

“Good.” Ron said, sitting down on the edge of the bed beside his sister. “Almost time now. Nervous at all?”

Ginny looked down at her hands that were clasped together in her lap and felt a sensation of panic creep up on her. Until that moment and with the exception of those teary moments through out the day, she hadn’t been all that nervous until Ron mentioned it.

“A little. But I’ll be fine once I can see Harry.” She said, quietly.

“Well if he ever went mental and skipped off – I’d hunt him down and make him regret leaving you. Even if he is my best mate.” Ron said, his ears turning slightly pink as Ginny laughed at her brother’s statement. Patting his knee she leaned into his side.

“Ron you can have such a way with words.” She said, and the two lapsed into silence, lost in their own thoughts. It was something they had done on numerous occasions when they were young.

“You know – I’m really happy that you’re marrying him.” Ron said quietly.

“I know. You’d be sulky if you weren’t.” She laughed. “So are you ready to be a Daddy?”

Ron sighed deeply and looked down at his younger sister. “Of course I am – I’ve had lots of practice being Uncle Ron.”

“But – “ She pressed.

“But I’m scared as hell. Ginny – what if they hate quidditch and all they want to do is read. I’m not sure if I could handle it. And what if I’m a shite parent?” The words tumbled out of him and she felt sympathy for him. She had the same type of jitters when she had been pregnant with James. It was amazing though that these fears didn’t exist with baby two.

“It’s ok Ron. They will love quidditch and reading together. And you and Hermione will be great parents. That I have no doubt about.” She said, hugging her brother. “Wow – can you believe it? The two youngest Weasleys will be parents before most of our brothers. I bet Mum didn’t see that coming.”

Ron laughed, feeling at ease again. “No I don’t think that was in Mum’s grand plan. Well I best get back down there to the groom and Hermione. Both of them are as jittery as a billywig.“ Standing, he looked down at his sister. She had a gleam in her eyes that Ron remembered seeing when they were little and she had just learned about Harry. On the rare occasion that Ron would concede and let Ginny have her tea party, she would tell him all about the wedding she would have to Harry Potter when she was older. When it got to that point, he would roll his eyes and pick a fight to get out of talking girl stuff.

Rising herself, Ginny embraced her brother tightly. “Okay. Thanks for stopping by. The lot of you helped pass the time this afternoon. I’ll see you down there yeah?” She said.

“Of course. Good luck Gin.” He said, slipping out of the room and leaving her alone for one last time.

Ginny sighed again and looked about her room. Glancing at the window, she could see that twilight was falling. Feeling a lot like a fairy tale princess trapped in her tower room, she snuck over to the glass, and pressing herself against the wall she turned slightly to peek outside and down into the garden. In the setting sun, she could see numerous red heads and other guests taking their seats. Seated on a chair beside the altar where Ginny and Harry would stand to say their vows was Hermione – who was talking animatedly to Lupin and Tonks. The person she was seeking was almost hidden himself. He was standing off to the side of the gathering, his dark head bent so she couldn’t see his face. She could tell from the set of his shoulders he was slightly nervous. Sending out calming thoughts, she watched as Ron crossed the garden and went to him. The two were talking and Ginny suspected Ron might be trying to calm the jitters she knew that Harry was feeling. She turned away from the window when she heard a quiet cough coming from the doorway.

“Your Mum would have your head if she knew that you were peeking into the garden.” Arthur said, when she looked at him.

“Dad! Is it time?” Ginny asked, seeing both Arthur and James standing in front of her.

“Almost, I thought we’d come up a few minutes early so that your son could see his Mum before things got wild.” He said his chest tightening as he watched her move over to where they stood. His daughter seemed so calm and together when the rest of the family seemed to ready to become unhinged.

“Thanks Dad.” Ginny knelt in front of James and looked at her little boy. His hair was slicked down as best as it could be, but it still had a messy quality to it. She could faintly smell the soap from his bath and his dress robes made him look much more grown up than four.

“Hello Quidditch-bug. I missed you today. Do you have a hug for Mummy?” She said, opening her arms.

James looked at her for a moment as if he didn’t recognize who she was. “Mummy, you look pretty.” He whispered, his arms wrapping themselves around her neck.

“And you look quite handsome.” She said, as she stood with him in her arms and then moved over to sit on the bed with him. “You too Dad, you look very dashing.”

Arthur’s ears turned pink at his daughter’s compliment. “Thank you Ginny.” He walked over to the two and placed a kiss on her cheek. “Are you ready? We should head down soon. Your Mum is waiting in the den. You know one last inspection and all that.”

Ginny chuckled at her father’s words. “Sure thing Dad.”

“Mummy? Grampie said I can go with him to take you to Daddy. Is that okay?” James asked, looking up at her, his green eyes full of question, waiting for her approval.

“Of course you can. I couldn’t go if you didn’t come along.” Ginny said, kissing his head and squeezing him in another hug before setting him down on the floor. “Let’s go see Granmum so she can spiffy us up before we go find Daddy.” Rising she went over to her father and gave him a large hug, squeezing him tightly. “Thanks Daddy.” She said, quietly, rising on her tip toes to kiss him on the cheek.

Arthur hugged her back and tried his best not to let the tears in his eyes shine through. “I’m proud of you Ginerva. Proud and happy to be your father today. Come now; let’s get ourselves downstairs before your mum panics. It’s time for you to get married.”


A/N: Well - I hope everyone enjoyed this chapter. It was only supposed to be a short interlude before the actual ceremony but it grew into a behemoth before I could stop it! More surprises (and a wedding!)to come!

Chapter 35: Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. And Forever
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]




A/N: All characters belong to J.K. Rowling. I own nothing but the thoughts in my head.





In the gathering twilight, the garden of the Burrow was bustling with quiet activity. Guests were being ushered to their seats by the twins and Charlie. Lupin and Tonks were chatting with Hermione, who because of her advanced pregnancy was sitting in a chair on what would be Ginny’s side of the altar. Fairy lights had been strung across the grove of trees that surrounded the property, replacing the fading sunlight with a soft glow. From the back row of chairs, someone called his name and he looked up to find the Creevey’s arriving with two witches he had never seen before. Raising his hand in greeting, he retreated off to the side, nearer to the trees where he was slightly hidden. A jittery feeling was starting to gather in the pit of his stomach, he bent his head and took a few deep breaths trying to calm his insides. Glancing up to see if he could find Ron, he noticed Arthur, Molly and James go inside the house at the same time Ron slipped out the same door and began to cross the garden to where the ceremony would take place.

He looked down at his hands and flexed them, stretching his fingers out in front of him. He couldn’t believe how nervous he was; back at the flat he had been fine. After the little tantrum of James, they had had fun getting their dress robes ready, even if they had a little trouble with the bow ties. But the moment they had stepped through the floo and he heard Ginny’s laugh coming from upstairs, his hands started to sweat. How was it he could face Voldemort to save all of the wizarding world, something he hadn’t wanted to do but did it anyways, but when all he wanted to do was marry Ginny and spend the rest of his life with her – he broke out into a nervous sweat.

“Holding up there Harry?” Ron said, as he approached the spot where he was trying to hide himself away. He lifted his head and shrugged at his friend.

“I guess you could say that. I don’t understand why I’m so nervous. Were you this bad at your wedding?” He asked, glancing at Hermione who waved happily over at them.

Ron followed his gaze and waved at his wife. “I was bloody well terrified. But it all went away when she walked down the aisle. Hermione told me once I looked quite white at the start of the ceremony. Your colour is more one step over white but not quite pale.” He threw an arm around Harry’s shoulders and patted him on the back. “You’ll be fine. You’re already a member of the family and that’s half the battle.”

“It’s the vows Ron – I still don’t know what to say. I have words but I’m not sure if they’re the right ones.” Harry said, feeling sweat break out on the back of his neck again.

A soft cough beside them made the two men turn to see Remus Lupin approach the altar where Ginny and Harry would be married.

“Looks like the words you have will be the right ones. It’s time. Good luck Mate. I’m glad it’s you that my sister chose.” Ron said, hugging Harry tightly before pushing him off towards the front of the altar.

Harry looked up at Lupin, knowing the fear was blatantly obvious on his face. Lupin chuckled softly and placed a fatherly hand on his shoulder. “You’ll be fine Harry. Your parents would be proud of you today.” He said, smiling at him.

He returned the smile weakly and mumbled his thanks. Turning to face the small crowd of guests that were in attendance, Harry recognized many familiar faces. The Weasley boys and their respective others were in the first row, where three chairs had been saved for Molly, Arthur and James. Beyond there, Harry glanced upon Mrs. Edgecombe, Tonks, Mad-Eye Moody, many of his fellow aurors and healers from St. Mungo’s that worked closely with Ginny. In the middle, he glanced upon Dennis Creevey who was flanked by the two witches he and his brother had arrived with. Colin was at the back of the crowd, his camera ready for Ginny’s arrival. Much of the rest of the crowd were faces he recognized from Hogwarts, Seamus, Pavarti, Padma, and even Dean Thomas.

Suddenly, a hush fell over the crowd and Harry felt a tingling sensation go up his spine. He looked up the centre of the aisle to see Ginny come into focus. His breath hitched as she started down the aisle with James holding her free hand while Arthur and Molly was on her other side. He barely noticed them as they made their way down the path to where he stood with Ron beside him. All he could see was Ginny. The world closed in around him and he felt like he was seeing her for the first time.

The dress she wore was her grandmother Prewett’s; he knew this only because she had told him about it one night when they were getting ready for bed. Her hair was glossy and the curls fell down her back in such a way that Harry’s fingers itched to dive into it. The cape she wore over her dress to fend off the fall chill danced around her feet. Harry took in all these details in awe but what fascinated him the most was her smile. It radiated from her and seemed to light her up in a way he had never seen before.

Suddenly she was in front of him. Harry watched as her parents both kissed her lovingly and squeezed her tightly in a hug. She then leaned down and swept James up in a gentle hug, whispering something in his ear.

“Who presents this witch to this wizard?” Lupin asked, his soft voice breaking through Harry’s fog.

“Me!” James piped up, a smile breaking out on his face. “And my Granmum and Grampie.” He added, looking up at his parents, Molly and Arthur nodding in agreement as laughter made its way through the watching crowd.

Harry watched as Ginny laughed and gave their son one last hug before she stepped up on to the altar across from him.

“Hi.” She whispered, smiling shyly at him.

“Hi.” He whispered back, the jitters he was feeling ebbing away.

“This evening we are gathered to witness the joining of two very special people.” Lupin began, looking from Harry to Ginny. “Tonight, they will begin their journey through life together. Although many would argue that your journey started long before now.” Pausing for a moment, he withdrew his wand from his robe and held it above the large book that sat on the altar. The book was thick with age; its’ cover adorned with an ornate “W” and inside it contained the name of each Weasley family member going back many generations. As the tip of his wand touched the cover it lifted and the pages began to move until the page containing the last entry appeared. Harry glanced down and noticed that at the top of the page Ginny’s name was listed with James nest to it with his date of birth below. The next entry contained Ron and Hermione’s names and the date of their wedding.

Lupin had explained to him that traditionally the groom’s family tree was used to document weddings but as the Potter family tree had been destroyed the night of his parent’s deaths, an exception was being made to allow Harry and Ginny’s coupling to be included in the Weasley tree. He had also mentioned that the two could start a new tree if they chose – but both had thought it best to use the Weasley tree as Harry was a honourary member as it was.

“To being the ceremony I must ask for your wands.” Lupin said, looking at the couple. Harry withdrew his holly wand from the sleeve of his dress robes and placed it on top of the open book. He then watched as Ginny repeated his actions, taking hers from where she had hid it in her bouquet of sunflowers to lay it beside Harry’s before turning to give her flowers to Hermione. Lupin then levitated both wands and conjured a thick scarlet ribbon to bind the two together.

“This ribbon binds your wands together to symbolize your love and commitment to each other. Long after the ribbon has been removed your wands will remain connected on the magical plain. Even as you carry them close to oneself.” Guiding the wands back to the book, he look first at Harry and then at Ginny.

“Harry please take Ginny’s hand in yours and then you may recite your vows.”

Harry’s hand shook as he reached out to grasp Ginny’s outstretched hand. Her fingers were cool to the touch and he was relieved to feel a slight tremble from them as he linked his fingers through hers. Feeling calmer he smiled at her and squeezed her hand gently to reassure her that he too was feeling nervous. He opened his mouth to speak and only a squeak came out. Feeling himself blush deeply, he looked up to see Ginny smiling at him, her brown eyes sparkling. Clearing his throat, he began again.

“Ginny, I wish I could tell you today the exact day that I fell in love with you, but I can’t. It’s like you’ve always been a part of me and I can’t imagine not having you by my side. To have you as my wife will complete me and I know I can be thick headed and a complete git at times but I will always be there for you and James and the baby and the rest of our family for as long as you’ll keep me around. I love you Ginevra Molly Weasley. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. And Forever.” The words came out in a rush and as he stopped the world came back into focus around him and he could see Ginny was smiling at him and crying all at once. The two of them stood and gazed at each other, fairy lights dancing around them; neither one wanting to break the spell that seemed to have formed around them.

“Mummy! It’s your turn now!” James piped up; breaking the silence and making a chuckle pass through the guests.

“Thank you James.” Remus laughed. “Ginny whenever you are ready.”

Ginny laughed and wiped her eyes with her free hand before placing it on top of the one Harry was already holding. Locking gazes with his green eyes, she took a deep breath of her own and began. “Wow. I’m not sure how to follow that.” She laughed and squeezed his hand gently. “Well Harry Potter, I can tell you exactly when I fell in love with you. And no, it wasn’t the first time I saw you on the train platform with my brother. It was during those several sunlight days down by the lake. Where we sat and talked about everything. It was then I knew I could finally let my heart truly love you. I’ve never looked back from that day, knowing that despite some hard times between now and then we’d be together. And now that we are, nothing more will keep us apart and if anyone or anything tries, I will stop them. I love YOU Harry James Potter, through everything in the past and through everything to come, you’re mine and I’m yours - forever. You make me happy.” As the words finished, she felt like she was floating in limbo, the only things anchoring her was the touch of Harry’s strong hands around hers and the look in his eyes.

“Forever?” Harry whispered, the sound of his voice bringing her back to solid ground.

“And ever.” She whispered back, afraid if she said it any louder, she’d break the spell.

Remus coughed slightly, causing the young couple to turn towards him. “Now the rings, Ron?” He asked, turning towards Harry’s best man.

“I don’t have them.” Ron said, panic in his voice.

“Ron! What do you mean you don’t have them – you’re the BEST MAN!” Hermione whispered harshly from her place beside Ginny.

“I. don’t. have. Them.” He repeated, patting down his robes to show her that he was indeed not carrying anything extra.

Harry grinned at Ginny. The two of them knew perfectly well that Ron didn’t have the rings. Knowing he had to solve the situation before the two of them got farther into their argument he let out a short whistle. An answering cry came from the trees above and Hedwig swooped down from above, landing on the edge of the altar by the book. Clicking her beak at Harry, she held out her leg where a small scarlet velvet pouch was tied. Reaching out to stroke his old friend, Harry gestured to Lupin.

“I think you’ll find the rings are in there.” He said, watching as his uncle untied the pouch. Hedwig nipped at Harry’s fingers lovingly and then hopped down, flying over to where James sat to perch on the back of his chair.

“Okay.” Remus chuckled and looked out at the crowd of friends and family. “Now that we have the rings, shall we continue?” He untied the ribbon holding the pouch closed and placed the rings on the book. “These rings will bind you together much like your wands have bound you together. Once on your fingers, they will only ever fit each of you. Enchanted by the oldest of magic, for as long as you love each other they will never come off.”

Picking up the first ring, he turned towards Harry. “Harry, take this ring and place it on Ginny’s finger. As you do, remember that you do it with the purest of love in your heart and your thoughts.”

Harry felt his fingers tremble as he picked up the thin gold band, feeling the etchings around it. Taking Ginny’s left hand in his, he slid the ring on her finger. It grew warm when it reached its destination and Harry felt a tug in his stomach, knowing at that moment, she belonged to him completely.

Remus picked up the second ring and turned towards Ginny. “Ginny, take this ring and place it on Harry’s finger. As you do, remember that you do it with the purest of love in your heart and your thoughts.”

Ginny reached out with the hand that now wore her ring and picked up the ring Harry would wear. It was a thicker band of gold, but the etchings were there just the same. Each of them had enchanted the other’s ring last night. She knew that if translated his would say You’re mine and I’m yours – forever. As she slid the ring over his roughened finger, she felt it grow warm when it found its place. Ginny felt a tug deep in her stomach and while her first thought was of the baby, she soon realized it was the magical bond between them solidifying.

The crowd watched as the two stood holding hands and the gold glow of the fairy lights intensified around them. It only lasted a few seconds and later most would think it was just a trick of their eyes, but for those that had experienced what had happened, knew it was real.

When the glow subsided, Remus once more invaded their moment. “It is now time for the renaming ceremony. James can you join your parents up here?” He asked the little boy.

“Sure Uncle Remus!” James said, bouncing from his seat and coming to a stop between his parents. “Daddy – lift me up.” He whispered, tugging at Harry’s robe.

Accommodating his son, Harry swung him up onto his hip so he was at the same level as they were.

“Hi Mummy.” James said, leaning out of his father’s arms to kiss her.

“Hey Mate – Daddy was supposed to kiss her first!” Harry exclaimed with a chuckle, planting a kiss of his own on Ginny’s cheek and then one on James.

“Shall we begin?” Remus said, trying to hide a smile behind his calm face. “This will change Ginny and James names from Weasley to Potter. It also further strengthens the bond between you. Place your left hands on the book please.”

He waited while the three of them placed their hands onto the altar. Ginny and Harry’s on the outside with James’ in between. Taking his wand he tapped the edge of the book and muttered an incantation. He watched at the three of them looked down at the page and smiled when James’ let out an excited gasp when he saw the letters change and new ones were added.

The boy looked from his mother to his father and pointed down at the book. “Mummy – does this mean I’m a Potter now?”

“It does. We’re both Potters now.” Ginny said quietly, kissing his fringe while watching Harry over the top of James’ head.

“And that also means you may kiss your bride.” Remus said, gesturing to Harry.

“I’ve got to set you down for a moment James.” Harry said, a smile breaking out on his face as he placed his son down to the side. Grabbing Ginny’s hand, he pulled her to him, his arm snaking around her waist. Lowering his head, he felt her quick intake of breath just as he pressed his lips to hers. He felt a rush of excitement go up his spine when her arms went around his neck and her fingers rubbed through his hair. What seemed like an eternity and seconds all at the same time passed and Harry gently broke the kiss. “I love you Ginny Potter. “ He whispered, locking gazes with her.

“I love you too Harry Potter.” She whispered in return.

“I present to you ladies and gentleman – the Potters!” Remus said, lifting his wand into the air to release a shower of red sparks high into the twilight sky.

Ginny squeezed Harry’s hand as cheers broke out around them. As they were about to head down the aisle towards the area where the party was going to happen, Ginny heard a small cry of pain from beside her. Swinging around she noticed that although Hermione was smiling, she was pale and seemed to be sweating. Letting go of Harry’s hand, she rushed over to the other witches side.

“Hermione what’s wrong?” Ginny asked, kneeling down beside her.

“Nothing at all. I’m just having a slight cramp.” Hermione said, wincing harshly and rubbing her stomach. “Congratulations. You looked lovely.”

Ginny watched her friend closely and knew that she was in labour. “Ron! Harry! I need you over here.” She called, stroking the other woman’s brow lightly. “Are these the same pains that you said was one of the twins kicking this morning?”

“Maybe. But honestly at the time I thought that’s what it was!” Hermione said, panic seeping into her voice. “It just really started to hurt a moment it ago Ginny – but I didn’t want to ruin the ceremony.”

At the sound of Ginny’s voice, Ron and Harry rushed over to Hermione’s side. Grabbing her hand, Ron sank down on the other side of Hermione.

“Ginny? What’s wrong? Oh god – it’s the babies isn’t it? Hermione it’s going to be okay, you need to breathe, just like we practiced in class.” He said in a rush, mimicking the breathing exercises that they had been told to do by the mediwitch in their birthing class.

“I think it is Ron.” Ginny said, calmly, knowing she had to keep her head in all of this. “You and Harry have to get her inside and upstairs. If she’s been in labour for as long as I think she has – there’s no time to get to St. Mungo’s.” Ginny said, looking up at Harry, who was standing beside her, his face full of fear and worry for his oldest friends. She reached out and grabbed his hand and gave it a squeeze. “It’s going to be fine. I’ve delivered babies before and we have our own residence expert in Mum – she’ll know what to do.” Standing, she brushed off her dress and looked at the three. “I’ll find Mum – try to get her up into your room Ron. The bed’s larger in there.” She said, hurrying off, leaving them alone with Hermione.

“What did she mean by that?” He said, watching his sister take off to find Molly.

Harry instantly flushed as he thought about the morning he had spent in Ron’s room with his wife. “Uh – maybe your parents expanded it so that you and Hermione would be more comfortable there tonight. Come on let’s get her upstairs.” He explained quickly while he moved closer to Hermione.

*~*

“Harry can you undo these buttons for me?” Ginny asked, as she hung her cloak on the hook on the back of her bedroom door.

He shrugged and moved behind her, placing a kiss on her shoulder. “This is not how I imagined I would end up getting you of this dress tonight.” He murmured, his fingers moving down the buttons and undoing them one by one.

Once he had reached the end, Ginny turned and kissed him gently. “I know and I promise once Hermione’s healer gets here and she and the babies are safe – I’ll get back into it. I’d rather keep it in perfect condition. You can take it off of me later – yeah?” She said, smiling at him.

“Yeah –“ He began and was cut off by the screams coming from the floor above them. “You better get back up there – I’ll go calm the guests, let them know that everyone is – what should I tell them?”

Ginny pulled a t-shirt over her head and a pair of his old pyjama pants over her legs. “Tell them that Hermione is doing okay, Ron is somewhat calm and that there might be two new Weasley’s welcomed to the world by the end of the night.” She said, kissing him once more before heading out the door and up the stairs to check on her sister in law.

*~*

Harry sat beside Remus and Tonks in the garden alongside the rest of the wedding guests waiting for news from inside the Burrow. Ginny had disappeared an hour ago and after he had told the guests what he knew – everyone had settled into a seat to wait. Fred and George were currently taking bets on whether it would be boys, girls or one of each and had another pool going on how many times Ron would be hexed by his labouring wife. Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas were leading as they had bet – he’d be hit at least 5 times.

“Daddy? When’s Mummy going to come outside again?” James asked, from his place on Harry’s lap, his eyelids drooping as he fought off sleep.

“As soon as Aunt Hermione has her babies.” Harry said, his attention going towards the Burrow as he heard a window break apart and Hermione’ s shouts floated down to them. Quickly covering James’ ears, he looked over at Remus and Tonks. “Is that what I have to look forward to when Ginny goes into labour?” He asked.

Remus chuckled and nodded. “Harry – I remember your birth quite well and those words were quite tame compared to what your Mum told your Father. He grew antlers at one point during her labour – and he wasn’t transforming into his alter ego at the time. The rest of us found it quite amusing when we saw it.”

Harry laughed and imagined that Ginny would probably not stop at antlers if she chose. Sending a prayer up to Merlin that his wife would have a calm pain free birth, he felt James snuggle deeper into the crook of Harry’s arm.

“Tired Mate?” He asked, rubbing his back lightly as he looked around the garden. He was a little surprised at how many of their friends had stuck around despite the glitch in the events that were to take place.

James nodded against Harry’s chest. “I want Mummy to come back.” He said quietly, looking up at his father.

“Do you want to go in the Burrow and have a sleep?” He asked, smiling when James shook his head vigorously. He knew James was looking forward to the post-ceremony festivities as he and Ginny were. “Well how about this – we’ll wait for a little while longer to see if Aunt Hermione has her babies – this is turning out to be a pretty special night isn’t it?”

“Hey Harry – what do you think – boys? “ Fred asked as he approached them.

“Girls?” George said, ambling up beside his twin.

“Or both?” They finished, smiling at him.

Harry rolled his eyes and laughed at the twins. Knowing Hermione would kill them both if she knew they were out in the garden making bets with the rest of the guests, he pulled a galleon from his pocket.

“I’ll take girls.” He said, dropping the coin into George’s hand while Fred scribbled his choice on a piece of parchment.

“A betting man I see! You and the Patils are the only ones that have chosen girls. History is not in your favour old boy –“ Fred said. He was getting ready to tell Harry precisely why when Ron flew out the back door of the Burrow.

“It’s girls! Girls! I have daughters!” He shouted as he ran towards his father and grabbing him in a large hug, lifting the elder Weasley off his feet. As shouts of congratulations were given throughout the crowd, Harry glanced at the twins who stood beside his table; and laughed at the identical looks of shock on their faces.

“I guess my inner eye must be working overtime tonight.” He said, standing to pat them on the back. “Now if you’ll excuse me. I must congratulate my brother-in-law and go find my wife. Let’s go meet your new cousins and find Mummy.” He finished, hitching his son up his hip as he made his way over to where Ron stood.

*~*

While Healer MacEachern finished cleaning up twin number two, Ginny wrapped a cozy pink blanket around her other new baby niece. Both already had tufts of red hair sticking up from the tops of their heads and she wagered that while it was Weasley red, it would grow in like their mothers. Tucking the blanket in tightly to make sure she was swaddled just right, Ginny took her over to Hermione and placed her in her arms.

“Your daughter Mrs. Granger-Weasley.” Ginny said, wiping a tear from her cheek as she watched Hermione pulled the baby close to her chest and kiss the top of her head.

“Oh Ginny – she’s beautiful. Where’s Ron?” Hermione said, her eyes taking in all she could of the baby’s face.

“Right here my Darling.” Ron said, coming back into the room to perch on the bed beside Hermione. Looking down at the baby, a look of awe came over his face. “She’s perfect Hermione. But I distinctly remember leaving the room and two babies were crying.”

“And here is your other daughter.” Healer MacEachern said, placing an identical pink bundle in Ron’s arms. “Both babies are healthy and Hermione seems to have come labour without any problems. I’d like to see everyone at St. Mungo’s in a few days to follow up. You were quite lucky – home births of twins can be complicated.” He said, moving back to where he had set up his medical supplies and began to put them away. “But for now – I want you to rest and take it easy. And most importantly enjoy your babies. Congratulations.” He finished, taking one last look at the couple. “I must go now – it seems you’re not the only pregnant witch whose baby has decided to come into the world tonight. Take care.”

Harry and James entered the room as Healer MacEachern was being engulfed in the green flames of the floo. Walking over to Ginny, he quietly pulled her into a hug and watched as his two oldest friends looked in awe of their new children. Ginny stayed in his arms and leaned in to kiss James on the cheek.

“Some wedding night eh?” She whispered, not wanting to disturb Ron and Hermione.

“It couldn’t have happened any other way.” He responded, smiling at her.

“Mummy? Where are the babies? They’re awfully quiet.” James whispered, looking over at his aunt and uncle.

Ginny laughed and kissed her son again, remembering wistfully that he was once as tiny as the two newest Weasleys were. “Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione are holding them Quidditch-Bug. They’re those tiny pink blankets.”

Hermione glanced up to see the other little family watching them. Smiling she beckoned them over quietly. Harry approached his old friends silently, setting James down when they neared the bed. Leaning over he kissed Hermione on the top of her damp curls.

“Congratulations.” He said, looking down at his new nieces. “They are beautiful. Good thing they have their mother’s looks.”

Hermione laughed. “Oh Harry! I think these girls are Weasley through and through. Stop teasing Ron. I’m so sorry for interrupting everything! I tried to hold off as long as I could.”

“Hermione Jane! You stop apologizing right this instant!” Ginny broke in. “Babies come when they want to. This just means we have more to celebrate tonight.”

“Ginny’s right.” Harry said, feeling a tug on his robes. Looking down he saw James looking up at him.

“Daddy – I can’t see.” He said, holding his arms up for Harry to lift him. Obliging his son, he was lifted into his father’s arms. He first looked at the bundle in Hermione’s arms and then to the identical one in Ron’s arms. “They look the same.” He asked.

“That’s because they’re twins like Uncle George and Uncle Fred.” Ron responded.

“Will they be bad like them? Cause girls aren’t supposed to be bad.” James asked.

Ron was the first to laugh. “You just ask your mum about how bad girls can be.” He said, looking at Ginny, who blushed deeply. “She can tell you lots – “

“Okay Ron! That’s enough – James doesn’t need to know any stories. Quidditch-bug, I’m sure your new cousins will be just like their mum and won’t misbehave at all. Unless of course they meet friends like Uncle Ron and Daddy.” Ginny said, looking at Ron and laughing when his ears turned pink.

James looked from his mum to his uncle and shook his head. “What are their names Aunt ‘Mione?” He asked, reaching out to touch the soft blanket Hermione’s baby was wrapped in.

“Well, we were thinking if it was okay with your Daddy we’d like to name one of them Lily Anne. And the other will be Molly Catherine.” Hermione said, looking at Harry.

“I’d be honoured Hermione.” He said quietly. “I think that’d be perfect.”

“But which one is which?” Ginny asked, standing close to him; her hand resting on his back.

“Ron is holding Lily.” Hermione’s responded. “And we’d like to two of you to be her godparents. When Bill and Fleur come in, we’re going to ask that they be Molly’s.”

Harry nodded and looked down at the tiny baby in Ron’s arms. “Hello Lily. I’m your Uncle Harry.” He said. At the sound of his voice, the baby blinked and opened her eyes.

“Daddy she’s looking at you!” James said, watching the baby with interest. “Say hi to Molly too!”

Harry chuckled and turned to look at the baby in Hermione’s arms. “Hello Molly. I’m your Uncle Harry too.” He said, obliging James. The adults laughed when she opened her eyes to look up at Harry.

“Upstaged by the great Harry Potter again!” Ron said, laughing.

Ginny heard a shuffling at the bedroom door and reached over to grab Harry’s hand. “Come on boys – let’s leave the little family be. I think everyone else might be waiting to get in here. Mum especially.” She said. “See you later little ones. And don’t worry no matter what your Mummy said to you about me being mad if you came today – I’m not, I’m honoured that you came today.”

Hermione laughed and yawned slightly. “Thanks Ginny. Have fun tonight.”

“See you in a few days.” Harry said, giving them one last look before heading towards the door with Ginny.

“Bye Aunt ‘Mione. Bye Uncle Ron!” James said from Harry’s shoulder as the three left, passing the rest of the Weasleys that were waiting at the door.

*~*

It was nearing midnight and the party was just beginning to pick up steam. The twins had bewitched one of Arthur’s gramophones to play non-stop music and the guests were crowded on the dance floor swinging to the tunes.

Harry gathered Ginny close to him and swept her across the dance floor, passing Molly and Arthur and Remus and Tonks. After helping with the twins, she had gotten back into her dress and made her way down to find her new husband. He was still in awe at how beautiful she looked.

“You look quite beautiful tonight. Mrs. Potter.” He said, leaning in close to her ear so she could hear his words.

Blushing, Ginny smiled up at him. “Why thank you Mr. Potter.” She responded, linking her hands behind his neck to pull him closer. “So do you.” She murmured, kissing him lightly.

“Oi! They’re at it again! Everybody take a drink!” Charlie yelled from the dance floor, grabbing his glass and tossing it back.

Ginny rolled her eyes at Harry and laughed when he lifted her off her feet in a hug.

“How long do you think this game will last for?” He asked, looking over to find the rest of brothers and a few of his old friends following Charlie’s lead. The game had been concocted by Fred and George after the party had started and consisted of watching the newly wedded couple. Each time they kissed each other, those involved would take a drink.

“Until we sneak off.” She whispered, reaching up to kiss him again and smiling against his lips when a new cheer broke out and the boys reached for their glasses again. “Or until they all pass out.”

Harry laughed, and pulled her close as the dance changed from a fast one to a slow waltz. “I vote we sneak off.” He said, his hand running up the length of her spine.

“Oh!” She said, her hand leaving his shoulder to rest on her belly.

“What? Is it the baby?” Harry said, looking down at her with concern.

“It is, but its ok. Baby Potter was just kicking. Feel.” She said, reaching behind her to take his hand and place it on her bump. “It’s the first time the baby has moved all night.”

Harry pressed his palm into her belly, still surprised at how firm it felt. He was about to draw his hand away when something pushed against his fingers.

“Oh! It moved!” He said, looking at Ginny with surprise in his eyes.

“I know!” She responded, smiling and rubbing her hand against his. “I think the baby likes you.”

“I’m glad. You know you’re amazing don’t you?” He said, seriously as he pulled her closer and started to waltz again. When she looked up at him with a curious look on her face, he kissed the top of her nose. “And cute too. You realize that tonight we got married, you helped deliver two babies and now you’re back down here, looking as beautiful as you did when you walked down the aisle this afternoon?”

She blushed slightly at his words but smiled at him. “It was a full day, but I’m glad it happened the way it did. We should go soon.” Ginny said quietly, kissing him again.

“Oi – they’re kissing again! Would you two stop before the lot of us are drunk!” Charlie called laughter in his voice as he lifted his drink to his lips.

Ginny broke her lips from Harry’s and glanced at her table of brothers. “It’s too late for that! You sods are already drunk!” Leaving Harry’s warm embrace, she tugged him towards the table. “Come on – let’s go survey the damage.”

As they approached the table, Ginny noticed the amount of firewhiskey bottles on the top of it. “Sweet Merlin! How much have you sods drunk?” She laughed, wrinkling her nose up at the vapours that were wafting from her brothers.

Charlie lifted his glass and toasted them. “Well – we wouldn’t have if you’d not have kissed so much.” He hiccupped as he set the glass down.

“Mum’ll kill you if she sees how much you’ve indulged tonight.” She responded, crossing her arms across her chest and looking down at Charlie, trying her hardest to look unimpressed by their antics.

“Harry – you need to tell your wife here that I am a grown wizard and I’ll do what I like. Mum doesn’t scare me.” He informed the table, reaching towards the bottle beside him.

“Hi Mum.” Ginny said, mischievously waving her fingers and laughing out loud when Charlie’s fingers faltered on the neck of the bottle, sending it clattering onto the table. “Gotcha!” She laughed as he growled at her. As Charlie rose from his seat, she squealed and tried to duck behind Harry but despite his drinking he was able to catch her around the waist and pull her into a hug.

“It’s not nice to do that to an older brother, Little Snitch.” He growled, as he swung her lightly. Crying out for help from Harry, she laughed and pushed at her brother’s shoulders.

“Charlie! Put your sister down right now!” Molly said, as she approached the group of them with Arthur trailing behind. Sobering slightly, Charlie obliged his mother and giving his sister a kiss, he set her back on the ground.

“Sorry Mum.” He said sheepishly, winking at Ginny when she stuck her tongue out at him from where she stood back beside Harry.

“Ginny, I just wanted to let you know your father and I are heading off to bed. I expect James will be up first thing in the morning. Poor little dear, he’ll be so disappointed that he didn’t see you off.” Molly said.

“Oh I’m sure he’ll be fine. Harry and I said our goodnights and goodbyes when we tucked him in. He’s quite excited to be staying here with Granmum and Grampie for a few days. Just make sure he minds himself. You two tend to let him get away with too much sometimes.” Ginny said, hugging Molly.

“We have to dear. That’s what grandparents are for. You two enjoy yourselves and we’ll see you when you get back.” Arthur commented, looking at the two newlyweds and smiling as they stole glances at each other. He remembered how exciting it had been for him and Molly when they had finally gotten married.

“Thanks Dad.” Ginny said, hugging her father tightly.

“Hem-hem.” Fred coughed, attempting his best Umbridge impression to get the guests attention as he stood at the edge of the garden. “HEM-HEM.” He said a little louder, making everyone turn to where he and George stood.

“Ah – perfect brother. You seemed to have gained their attention.” George said, gesturing towards their new found audience. “We just wanted to say a few words to our dear sister and newest brother.”

Fred smiled at the crowd and pulled his wand from his robes. “That’s right. We’ve noticed how those two crazy kids are looking at each other and we expect it might not be long before they sneak off.”

“So before they do – we have a little presentation. To offer our congratulations.” George said, mimicking his brother’s actions and pulling his wand from his pocket. “Shall we?”

The two touched their wands together in a toast and whispered a charm. Suddenly, the night sky above everyone’s heads filled with a burst of colour and the fireworks that the twins had stored earlier that day began going off. The crowd made appreciative noises as pinwheels whizzed by and a dragon soared overhead. Red and gold lions roared as they exploded into H’s and G’s in the air.

Ginny laughed at the show and settled back into Harry’s arms as they watched more and more fireworks fill the air. She was sure any muggles down in Otterly St. Catchpole that may still be out and about would be wondering what the eccentric family at the top of the hill was up to and expected tomorrow there might a few curious glances from the villagers if Molly or Arthur ventured down.

As a large red pinwheel whizzed above her head, she felt Harry pull her closer. Looking over her shoulder at him, they locked gazes.

“You know this might be the perfect time to make our escape.” He whispered his breath warm against her neck.

“I think that’s a fine idea.” She responded, smiling up at him. Quietly, the two of them slipped off and made their way to the Burrow. It was only a few minutes later when Ron came out of the house to see why fireworks were going off at one o’clock morning did anyone notice that the newlyweds were gone.




A/N: And so there it is - the wedding - every last sappy, mushy, fluffy word of it! I do hope everyone enjoyed it - it was a lot of fun to write. And I'm so sorry I kept everyone waiting for such a long time - real life got in the way and gave me a serious case of writer's block!

Don't forget to let me know what you think!




Chapter 36: Coming Home
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



I own nothing but the plot.


The bed and breakfast was nestled in a grove of trees near the edge of a small town. Most of inhabitants were tucked safely in bed when two lone figures appeared quietly on the cobblestone walkway. A low-burning candle twinkled in the window inviting them to approach. The couple walked up the short staircase to stand on the porch. Lifting his hand, the raven haired man knocked softly and waited for the owners to answer.

The door swung open with a quiet creak that seemed to break the stillness of the night and the couple was greeting by an older lady with soft white hair and soft blue eyes.

“May I help you?” She asked, holding up the candle that had been sitting in the window.

The young man stepped forward. “Yes, I do apologize for the lateness of our arrival. We are the Potters; we have reservations for the next few days.”

Recognition dawned on the lady’s face as she moved aside to allow them in. “Oh yes – your luggage was delivered earlier today. And there’s no need to apologize, the gentleman that delivered them warned me that you may be a late arrival.” She moved behind the small counter that was in the main sitting room. Taking out a ledger she ran a finger down the column until it rested on their name. “Here we are, Potter, party of two. The wedding suite.” She said, pulling a key from the drawer beside her and placing it in his hand. “Newlyweds are you? I remember when I married my Harold. We spent our honeymoon in a place much like this one. We’ve been together for 30 years this coming January. But I mustn’t keep you, I’m sure you’d much rather make your way upstairs.” She smiled, looking from Harry to Ginny. “Your suite is at the top of the stairs and is the first door on your right. I’ll have breakfast sent up in the morning, and please let me know if you need anything. My name is Edna Jones. Harold and I live on the first floor, just knock.”

Harry smiled at the older woman. “Thank you Edna. And thank you again for staying up to wait for our arrival. We didn’t realize exactly how late it was until we snuck away. We shall see you tomorrow sometime.” He finished, slipping the key into his pocket, before guiding Ginny towards the stairs.

Walking hand in hand up the staircase, the two paused at their door. Harry pulled the key out of his pocket and slipped it into the lock, turning it until he heard it click open. Grasping the antique door knob, he swung the door open. As Ginny was about to step over the threshold and into their suite, Harry tugged on her elbow to stop her from entering. Thinking it was his constant vigilance habits kicking in, she stepped aside to let him enter first, but let out a surprised squeak when he swung her up into his arms.

“Harry Potter! Put me down this instant! You’ll throw your back out” She whispered, looking down the hall to make sure they hadn’t disturbed any other of the guests.

Silencing her with a soft kiss, he smiled at her. “It’s tradition for the groom to carry his bride over the threshold.” He whispered as he stepped into the room and kicked the door shut with his foot. Returning her to her feet, he kept his arms around her and pulled her close to his chest. “And we don’t want to break with tradition do we?”

“I suppose we don’t, especially since we’ve followed the traditions so well up until now.” Ginny laughed softly and turned her face up for a kiss.

Ever the obliging one, Harry pressed his lips to hers, relishing in how she tasted. Keeping lips on hers, his hands left her hips and moved under the riot of red curls to the nape of her neck where his fingers massaged her gently as they kissed. Sighing against his lips as his fingers danced over her soft skin, Ginny reached between them to undo the clasp on his cloak and pushed it to the floor. Breaking the kiss, he looked down at her and smiled wickedly, his eyes dancing.

“Now Love – you’re going to wrinkle my best dress robes.” He said, shivering slightly as she started to undo the buttons on his robes, her soft hands coming in contact with his throat.

“Mum taught me a very useful spell for getting wrinkles out – you have no worries my darling.” She responded, her fingers continuing to undo his buttons. When she reached the waistband of his trousers she pulled his shirt tails from his pants and ran her hands up his chest. Catching her hands in his, he stopped her from pulling his shirt off as well. Silently, he took her hand and pulled her towards the bed where the covers had been pulled back and an off-white, silk nightgown had been placed on one pillow and a matching pair of sleep pants in soft, brushed cotton had been placed on the other. A bottle of sparkling apple cider was being chilled on the bedside table and a bouquet of dark red roses sat beside it with a note that said congratulations Harry and Ginny.

“Harry – who did this?” Ginny asked, looking up at him.

“I expect it must have been Fleur. I asked Bill if he minded dropping our bags off so I suppose he took her too. Very thoughtful of them.” He responded, sitting on the edge of the bed and pulling her close to him so that she stood between his knees.

“Those roses are beautiful.” She said, settling in front of him as his arms wrapped around her waist.

“Not as beautiful as you.” Harry said, his hands running up the trail of buttons on the back of her dress. Gently turning her around, he began to undo them one at a time, slowly exposing Ginny’s spine. Shivering at his touch, she glanced over her shoulder at him.

“You know you could just magic those open.” She said with a sigh as his fingers slipped another button open.

Smiling up at her and shaking his head, Harry continued on with his task; placing kisses in the places his fingers had touched. As he reached the last button, he pushed her dress of her shoulders, letting it pool at her feet. When she tried to turn towards him, he held her still with an arm at her hip while he reached for her nightgown. Standing up, he came up behind her, but didn’t touch her. Pulling her arms above her head, he slithered the silk garment down her body. Turning her around so she finally faced him, his eyes roamed over her body while his fingers itched to touch and caress each curve.

Feeling the heat of his gaze, Ginny felt her cheeks warm as she blushed. “Har-“ she began, but was shushed when he kissed her lightly.

“Shh – I’m trying to capture this moment in my head.” He said, quietly, his green eyes, dark and filled with desire.

“Can you capture this moment but imagine me as just a little flatter in the front?” She asked, smiling shyly at him. When he looked at her with a question in his eyes, she fiddled with the edge of his shirt. “It’s just that I never expected I’d be nearly five months pregnant on my wedding night.” She explained slightly embarrassed by her admission.

Pulling her close, Harry wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly. “Ginevra Potter, this is exactly how I pictured out wedding night.” He said, kissing her lightly.

“You pictured me pregnant and fat on our wedding night?” Ginny said, her lip trembling slightly as she looked at him.

Realizing he was treading in stormy waters, Harry sighed and smiled down at her. “Love, you are hardly fat. What I meant is that I always imagined one day that we would spend our wedding night together, alone and in love. It’s how I got through a lot of nights during the war. Hoping that you’d take me back and we could have this moment together. You being pregnant with a new Baby Potter is icing on my cake.” He finished, kissing her again.

“You have quite a way with words Mr. Potter.” She responded after breaking the kiss.

“Of course I do!” He chuckled, squeezing her tightly against him. “And have I told you that you look good enough to eat right now?” Ginny shivered as his mouth found her bare shoulder and nibbled at the soft skin there. She tilted her neck to allow him better access as he nudged a strap off to the side.

“You taste almost as good as a treacle tart.” He whispered between nibbles before moving to her other shoulder.

Ginny felt herself drifting off into a fog as his tongue licked at her skin. Grasping at the edges of his shirt she shoved the sleeves down his arms and dropped it to the floor.

“Almost as good?” She asked, running her fingertips down his bare chest until she hit his waistband, hesitating slightly before she flicked open the button and slipped her hand inside.

Harry sucked in a breath at her touch. “Okay – better than a treacle tart.” He groaned, kissing her as he turned them around so her back was to the bed. “Gin – you have to stop touching me like that.” He said, quietly, his gaze locking with hers.


Smiling wickedly, Ginny continued her exploration, her free hand lowering the zip on his trousers. Instantly they joined her dress on the floor as Harry stepped out of them. “And if I don’t?” She asked, kissing him while her hands danced over his bare back.

Growling against her lips, Harry lowered them both onto the bed. “Don’t push your luck.” He said, tickling her side as his mouth wandered towards her chest. When he settled himself on top of her and began to tease her with his mouth, both were lost in each other.

Later, as they lay snuggled deep beneath the thick quilt, Harry felt as if he were weightless. He was on his back with Ginny draped over him, her belly resting against his side, while his fingers played with the curls of her hair.

“Harry?” She asked, resting her chin on his chest so she could look at him.

“Mmm?” He asked, too exhausted from their earlier activities to strain himself with speaking actual words. Ginny rolled her eyes at his answer and sighed as she rubbed his shoulder lightly.

Propping up on one elbow, he squinted at her as his glasses had been discarded long and forever ago somewhere across the room. “Sweet Merlin Gin. You can’t want to go again do you?”

Pinching him on the arm, she sat up. “You git – I’m not a fiend!” She cried, her cheeks going red.

“Oops. Okay – no you’re not a fiend. What is it that you need darling?” He asked, sitting up beside her, kissing her shoulder as he rubbed her back.

“I’m sort of craving some double fudge chocolate ice cream topped with Bertie Bott’s every flavour beans and chocolate cauldrons from Fortescue’s ice cream parlour.” Ginny said, looking at him as she leaned into his side.

“You do realize it’s 3 in the morning?” He responded, after squinting at the clock. “And that we’re no where near Diagon Alley?”

“I know, but I really really need some.” Ginny said, placing a hand on her belly. “The baby is pretty restless tonight. And this craving isn’t one that’s going to go away. When I was pregnant with James I craved pumpkin pasties from the Hogwarts trolley at least twice a week. Mum had to owl the witch that ran the trolley to send her a batch of them just to keep me happy.”

Harry groaned and looked about for his glasses and wand. “What if I conjure some ice cream? “ He asked, turning on the bedside light and slipping his glasses over his nose.

“It’s not the same. Only the real thing will work. Besides conjured food makes my stomach upset this late at night.” Ginny said, biting her lip slightly.

“But eating the real thing this late at night won’t?” Harry asked at bit gobsmacked.

“No, it won’t. I can’t explain it; it’s just the way it is.” Leaning over she kissed him lightly and looked at him. “Could you please go to Diagon Alley and get me some?” She asked quietly.

Harry blinked back at her while he weighed his options. Ron had warned him this would happen sooner or later. He also knew if he valued all that was peaceful he should just get dressed and get it. But it was late and he was tired after the day they had put in.

“Gin- could it wait until morning?” He asked hopefully and immediately regretted his words as her eyes turned stormy and she got up off of the bed.

“Fine! I’ll get it myself. Lord knows I’ve had to do it before.” She huffed, picking up her case and flicking it open to search for something to wear.

Harry followed her off the bed and stood behind her, reaching in front to still her hands.

“No – wait - I’ll go. I won’t have you out at this hour of the night searching for ice cream.” He said, giving in to her request. Kissing the top of her head, he leaned down and picked up his discarded pants and shirt. “What is it that you would like again?”

“Double fudge ice cream with Bertie Bott’s every flavour beans and chocolate cauldrons on top. Oh – and in a waffle cone.” She responded as she buttoned his shirt.

Harry enveloped her in a hug and kissed her lightly. “I’ll be back in a little while. I hope I don’t get hexed by the owners when I wake them up.”

“You’re Harry Potter, they would never dream of hexing you. Besides, the new owners are very understanding when it comes to pregnant women’s cravings. When we head back to the Burrow ask Ron how many times he made the trip there for Hermione.” Ginny commented as she fastened the clasp on his cloak. Standing on her tiptoes, she kissed him once more. “I love you.”

Harry smiled and knew then there was nothing he wouldn’t do for his wife. “I love you too. Now get into bed and keep my side warm. I’ll be back soon.” He waited until she had climbed back into bed; on his side no less, before apparating from the room.

Twenty minutes later, he returned with a quiet pop, the requested ice cream in his hands. “Seems you weren’t the only one craving Fortescue’s ice cream tonight. There was another wizard about to knock on their door –“ Harry paused in putting the ice cream down when he noticed she was sleeping. Shaking his head, he placed the ice cream container down on the bedside table and placed a freezing charm on it to ensure it wouldn’t melt. Quickly disrobing, he lifted the covers to slip into bed beside her. Almost immediately, Ginny snuggled against him, letting out a sleepy sigh as she settled. Turning out the lights with a wave of his hand, Harry smiled to himself in the dark before sinking into sleep.

*~*

Feeling movement in the bed beside him, Harry sensed that Ginny was awake. Reaching out and finding an empty, he rolled onto his side and opened his eyes to find her sitting up, her hair still mussed from sleep and totally engrossed in the ice cream he had went out to find earlier that morning.

Noticing that he had woken, she leaned over to kiss him soundly on the lips. “Good morning Love, did you sleep well?” She asked, spooning another bite of ice cream into her mouth.

Stretching out his muscles, Harry propped himself up beside her. Reaching out, he rubbed her knee gently and not yet ready to use his voice, nodded his head with a smile playing at his lips.

“Good. I’m dreadfully sorry I fell asleep on you last night. But thank you nonetheless. I was still having the craving when I woke up. Your freezing charm lasted all night.” She continued, offering him a scoop with some suspicious looking beans on top. When he shook his head no and continued his early morning assessment of her, she shrugged and popped the spoon in her mouth. “Mmmm, you missed a good scoop. Those were peppermint and caramel beans.”

Harry laughed at her statement and cleared his throat. “Ginny, I do love you and all but the thought of ice cream at this time of the morning makes my stomach churn. I’d like a more traditional breakfast I think.”

“Well you’re in luck. Mrs. Jones dropped off a tray earlier. I put a warming charm on it. You looked too peaceful to wake. She figured we might like to stay in our room today. Can’t imagine why though.” She said, a wicked smile playing at the corner of her mouth as she sucked on the spoon.

A wave of desire for his wife washed over Harry at the same time his stomach growled loudly. Leaning over he kissed her rounded belly.

“I can’t imagine why either.” He commented, sitting up slightly to assess what was on the breakfast tray. “Looks delicious.” He said, moving closer to where she sat on the bed and kissing the soft skin on her bare arm. “But I think we should both work up an appetite before we dig in. Don’t you think?” When she nodded enthusiastically, he reached out and took the remaining ice cream and spoon away from her to set them on the bedside table. When his hands were free, she pounced at him with a giggle; pushing them both down onto the bed.

*~*

Harry came out of the bathroom to find that Ginny had set their cases on the bed and had started to pack. When he had left to shower, she had still had her pyjamas on but now was dressed in a simple green dress and she had her hair pulled back in a thick braid that fell down to her middle of her back. Shaking a few of the loose drops of water from his hair, he approached her from behind, his nose nudging against her cheek as he took in her scent as his arms went around her waist to pull her closer.

“You know we can stay a few days longer. Your Mum and Dad told us to take the week.” He whispered, his hands wandering along the front of her dress. “Merlin, you smell good.”

She leaned into him and sighed as his mouth nibbled at the side of her neck. “Oh I know.” She responded tilting her head so he had better access to her neck. “But I miss James terribly. I’ve never been away from him this long before.” Turning in his arms, she realized he was still in his towel. Feeling her mouth go dry, she licked her lips and bit the lower one. Taking advantage of the movement, he dipped his head to kiss her, his wet hair tickling her forehead.

As they kissed her arms went around his shoulders, her fingers dancing over the scars on his skin and she pressed against him until her belly stopped them. When she felt his fingers start fumbling with the zipper at the back of her dress, she broke the kiss.

“Harry, we can’t.” She said, with little conviction in her voice.

“Sure we can, as soon as I get this bugger of a zipper down –“ He trailed off as he looked over her shoulder trying to figure out why it wouldn’t go down.

“We don’t have time. I told Mrs. Jones we’d be ready to check out at one. It’s already twenty to.” She responded, trying to wiggle out of his grasp.

“I can be quick.” He smiled, kissing her lightly before turning his attention back to her dress.

Laughing, she felt herself about to give in, as she was about to let him know he could just lift the dress over her head, a knock sounded at the door and the two sprung apart like two teenagers caught in a broom closet.

“Excuse me Mrs. Potter? If your cases are ready I can bring them down to the front desk.” A muffled voice said from the other side.

Placing a quick kiss on Harry’s lips, she ducked out of his arms and went to the door to unlock it and open it part way.

“Hello Mr. Jones. How are you?” She said, smiling at the elder gentleman.

“I’m just fine this afternoon Mrs. Potter. Edna wanted me to come and get your cases if you are ready.” He answered, getting ready to come into the room.

Stopping him quickly, Ginny shook her head. “Oh you don’t have to worry about that Mr. Jones. My husband can handle them just fine. I just have a few other things to put away so we’re not quite ready.”

Shrugging his shoulders, the older man smiled. “Well if you’re sure, I have to get down to the market to pick up Edna’s order, if she asks please tell her I offered. I hope you and your husband enjoyed your stay here. The two of you were the quietest guests we’ve ever had. If you are ever in this area again, I hope you considering staying her again.”

Ginny blushed slightly at his comments knowing full well they were quiet because of the silencing charm they placed on the room when they were inside. “Thank you Mr. Jones. We will definitely be back for another stay, your inn is lovely.” As the older man walked away, she closed the door quietly and leaned against it.

Looking up, she found Harry leaning against the bed, waiting for her. Rolling her eyes, she pointed at the folded clothes beside his open case. “Go get dressed. I’m not leaving this spot until you have your pants on.” Knowing he was defeated, Harry laughed and started to dress.

As Harry struggled to get the two cases down the staircase, he grumbled at his wife.

“You know, this would be easier if you’d just let me shrink these and put them in my pocket.”

“We can’t do that, they’re muggles and they know we had two cases in the room. Mrs. Jones freshened our room remember? And you know, you could have made two trips.” She said, before heading down the remaining stairs to wait for him at the front desk.

When Harry made it down to the bottom of the stairs, he set the cases down and joined his wife at the desk and Ginny rang the bell to alert Mrs. Jones that they were there.

The older lady bustled out from the back room, a duster in her hand. “Hello there dears - ready to check out?” She asked, looking at the two.

“Yes, we wished we could stay longer but we must get back.” Ginny replied with a smile at Harry. Returning her smile, he fished the key out of the pocket of his leather coat and set it on the counter.

“You know the two of you remind me of another couple that stayed here a long time ago. Newlyweds as well and a lovely pair, they seemed very much in love. Now if I could only remember their names, they ended up coming back to the village to settle down a few months later. And they had the cutest little boy.”

Harry felt his spine straighten as the owner of the inn described his parents. “Did their names happen to be James and Lily?” He asked quietly.

“Why yes they were! James and Lily – such lovely young people, how did you know their names?” Mrs. Jones asked.

“They were my parents.” He answered, amazed that this woman could remember the two after so many years.

“Oh you are that precious little boy! I should have known, you look like your father but those are your mother’s eyes. Lily had the prettiest eyes, she’d come by for afternoon tea when she was expecting you when your father was away. She’d bring her knitting and though she tried, she wasn’t very good at it. I was able to teach her after awhile. We finished a lovely blanket. After that tragic fire I often wondered what happened to you. The paper said they had been able to rescue you but no one around the Hollow knew what happened to you.” She said.

Harry had stayed quiet as he listened to Mrs. Jones recall her memory but when he felt Ginny squeeze his hand, he came back into reality. “I still have that blanket, when I was left with family; they were told it was one of the few things left. My parents were happy then?”

“Oh yes my dear, they were! I didn’t know your Dad that well, but your Mum told me many stories about him and his friends. She kept saying she hoped you’d be more like her than him, seems he was a magnet for trouble.”

Ginny laughed beside Harry. “Oh Mrs. Jones, Harry inherited his ability to find trouble ten fold. My brother and he got into more trouble at school than I can mention.” Squeezing his hand she leaned up to kiss him on the cheek. “But that’s why I love him.”

Harry blushed slightly as the two women laughed. “Um, thank you Mrs. Jones for telling me you knew my parents. It means a lot to me to know they were happy.”

“Oh you poor Dear, they were terribly happy, Lily looked at James like your wife here looks at you.”

“Harry, we should get going, lunch will be ready soon at Mum’s.” Ginny said, nudging him to pay. “Thank you for everything Mrs. Jones. I think I can safely say we’ll return for another visit.”

As Harry set the money on the counter, the elder lady smiled. “Oh that would be wonderful. We would love to have the two of you here.” She looked down at the notes Harry had left. “Mr. Potter, that is too much.” She said, pushing half of the notes back towards him.

“No, that’s fine. Please take them all. Consider it a gift of gratitude for telling me about my Mum and Dad. I appreciate it more than you can know.” He smiled and patted her hand. “And when Ginny and I return, you must promise that you will tell me more.”

“Of course, I’d love to.” Mrs. Jones smiled. “I look forward to seeing the two of you again. Safe travels.”

“Thank you Mrs. Jones. Take care.” Harry said, picking up the cases and following his wife out the door.

*~*

Harry and Ginny appeared with two pops near the end of the lane at the Burrow. Taking his hand, she led the way towards the gate. The house seemed to be at rest, but a small voice could be heard from the back yard.

Opening the gate carefully to make sure it didn’t squeak, the two turned the corner to make their way to the back of the house. There on the back porch sat James with Hedwig beside him. Staying quiet, the two watched for a moment as their son talked to the old owl and stroked her feathers. Harry smiled at the patience of his old friend, her eyes stayed focused on James even though his hand seemed to be petting her a little harder than he should.

Sensing that someone was watching him, James broke off his story and turned towards his parents. As he realized who it was, his face broke into a bright smile and he bounded off the steps.

Harry watched as Ginny’s face broke into an identical smile to their son’s and she rushed forward to greet him. Kneeling as best she could, she gathered him up in her arms and hugged him tightly. Making his way over to where to two stood, he smiled widely as well when James flung his arms towards Harry to include him in the welcome home hug.

At that moment, calm settled over him and Harry knew he had finally come home.

The End



A/N: And so Coming Home is finished. This was quite a journey for me to write, it's been fun and it's been frustrating - but mostly fun! I hope everyone has enjoyed reading it and please stay tuned. I have a sequel in the works - one where some of those unanswered questions -like whether Harry and Ginny will have a boy or a girl - will be answered!




http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com