Interlude-takes place one year after the end of "When All Seems Lost (It's Not)"
Lord Harry James Prince-Potter rolled his shoulders and shook his arms out, stretching each of the fingers on his right hand in turn. He'd spent the morning amending new legislation that effectively re-designated sentient creatures in the Magical world. The process of getting to points of agreement within the Wizengamot had been long and tedious, but this, final, copy-fingers crossed-would revolutionize the rights of magical creatures.
Assuming all the representatives in the Wizengamot kept their words about the votes needed to pass it.
Harry sighed. The last week of July, as usual, was sweltering, and only liberal use of cooling charms in the chambers had kept tempers from boiling over as final drafts were developed, argued over, and agreed upon. It took all of Harry's considerable diplomatic skill-he'd trained under the best-to keep the chambers on task and hex-free.
But here it was, the fruit of his work and a labor of love. A final vote on this amended copy, and the new classification system and structure would take effect.
Someone knocked on the door to his Ministry office.
"Come!" Harry called, clenching his hand and stretching the fingers back out again.
The door opened to reveal his husband, Evan, and his two-year-old son, Jamie. Evan carried a basket in in one hand and held Jamie's hand in the other.
"Daddy!" Jamie shouted, dropping Evan's hand and making a running leap toward his now-standing-and-rapidly leaving his chair father. Harry managed to get around his desk in time to catch his son mid-leap. "We came to s'prise you!"
"You did?" Harry squeezed his wiggly boy, who was squirming around to be let down once he'd had his hug. "Well, you certainly managed it!"
Evan smiled quietly, and set the basket down in front of Harry's desk. "We decided, since Daddy couldn't come home for lunch on his birthday, that we'd bring lunch to him." The former Severus Snape turned to his husband and kissed him gently. "We brought your favorites."
Harry looked down into the basket, which had expanded and popped into a table spread with roast beef sandwiches, crisps, fresh strawberries, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and Harry's favorite treacle tart. Jamie tugged on his daddy's sleeve. "We're getting ice cream on the way home!" He whispered loudly, sharing the big secret.
"Oh, that sounds lovely," Harry whispered back, pulling his son back into a squeezy hug that had moderately less wiggle.
Evan laughed, and started plating up the food, producing a jug of Jamie's favored grape juice and conjuring up three chairs, one with a booster, and the small family sat down to eat.
"When does the afternoon meeting start?" Evan asked.
"At two," Harry replied, then took another bite of the heavenly roast beef-on-ciabatta. He chewed and swallowed, then added. "And it's all about one vote. I finished the final, amended draft just before you two showed up."
"Brilliant," Evan said. "You've worked hard for this." He'd long ceded his Prince family seat to Harry, who voted the Potter, Prince and Black seats, but he kept a weather eye on the political machinations his husband worked.
Harry nodded, helping Jamie with his cut-up strawberries, showing him how to dip them in the chocolate sauce and whip cream before popping them in his mouth. "It's going to cap off nearly three years of maneuvering, but I really think this is the right move. I'm glad we've finally got the votes-without too much compromise."
Evan smirked. "It helps that you started off at the extreme end."
Harry smirked back. "Ask for too much first, that's my motto."
"Learned at Lucius' knee," Evan commented. "Speaking of, he, Narcissa and Draco are coming over for dinner tonight, along with the Weasleys, Andromeda and Teddy. We were going to surprise you, but I think perhaps it's better you know that you'll have company this evening."
Harry smiled, pleased. "I look forward to it."
"Ice cream, Daddy," Jamie said, solemnly, getting his attention. "You hafta pick your ice cream for the party."
Harry smiled a bit wider. "I think you should pick, sweet boy. You and Papa Evan know what I like best, after all."
Jamie straightened up with importance. "OK, Daddy!"
They finished their meal, and Evan and Jamie packed up the leftovers into their basket. Harry would have an hour to review his work before he had to be back in his meeting, and Evan would take Jamie to Florean's to pick out ice cream for the night's party. Before they left the office, however, Evan turned back to his husband, gathered him up, and dipped him, kissing him deeply to the sound of Jamie's giggles in the background.
"We love you, Harry," Evan whispered. "Happy Birthday."