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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.

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