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“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.

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