Chapter 36 – The Black Coven
. . .
Harry watched the Death Eater leave the courtroom before he turned and regarded those who were most important to him. Andi, Hermione, Daphne were standing together talking. Harry couldn't help but wonder about what. His guess would be about what happens next. Something he knew for certain he was wondering about as well. A coven? Didn't see that one coming, he mused silently to himself, wondering if they would have to dance naked beneath the stars at some point. Given the women in his life, the young wizard was almost looking forward to that.
There was little doubt in his mind that Hermione would be making a mad dash to the nearest magical bookstore to find out everything she could about past covens and just what would be expected of them. If she hasn't already researched it, he thought to himself with an amused chuckle. Given that covens have been out of use for several centuries we may just have to come up with our own rituals, he suspected.
The young wizard found it difficult to believe that after all these years he was actually married to his best friend. Hermione had been there for him when he was at his worst. Her belief in him had never faltered, and she had stayed by his side when all others had turned their backs on him. Harry knew with certainty that with Hermione beside him there wasn't anything he couldn't accomplish. Hermione was the foundation upon which his world rested.
Harry's eyes moved to Daphne, and he couldn't help but wonder what he would be like if he'd never met her there in London beside that street. Daphne had shown him how to open up and have a bit of fun. With her, he had learned how to flirt without blushing fifty shades of red in the process. Her flirtatious and bubbly personality had really brightened his world. The young witch had reminded him that life wasn't just doom and gloom and could actually be fun if you let it.
Emerald orbs slide over to the third member of that small group and a small smile graced Harry's lips. Andi had given him a sense of family once again. Something that had been missing since the death of his godfather, Sirius. Harry appreciated her wit and mature counsel and had come to rely on her as a confidant and so much more. He had no clue what their new relationship had in store for them, but if he was honest, he had to admit that he was looking forward to finding out.
Just past the three witches, Luna and Tracey were in an animated discussion with Neville, Susan, and Hannah. The latter of which had a firm grasp of the Longbottom scion's arm. Harry couldn't help but smile at the slightly embarrassed, slight joyful look on Neville's face at this turn of events. It was heart-warming to see something good come out of the aftermath of the war. Judging by how close Susan was standing to Neville's other side Harry couldn't help but also wonder if he might not be the only wizard with more than one wife in the very near future.
The Black coven, being the first of its kind in several centuries was more or less an entity onto itself. The bylaws, at least as Harry understood them from what Hermione and Andi had spoken of meant that he, as the coven Warlock could do whatever he wanted. So long as it doesn't go against the Crown, he mused. The Slytherin inside him quickly pointed out the laws of the Crown were not those given by Parliament or the Prime Minister but rather by the Queen herself. As the Royal family had surrendered running the country some time ago, that meant there were all sorts of possibilities.
Returning his attention back to the others he saw that Luna's silver eyes were opened wide, and an excited expression danced across her face as she talked to Neville and the other witches in their group. Harry felt a familiar warmth invade his chest while looking at the petite witch. Luna brought a certain earthiness with her that seemed to ground Harry in a way he never thought possible or knew he needed. Add into that Luna's apparent maternal nature as evident with Teddy and Anna, and he couldn't help but wonder just what he had done to deserve her in his life. The witch in question, sensing his eyes upon her, glanced over and gave him a wink and a smile before turning back to the others with her.
Harry returned Luna's smile with a small grin of his own as his eyes shifted to Tracey. The witch listened to Luna, her facial expressions changing rapidly from interested to confused to disbelief and back to confusion. Knowing that he cared for Tracey, Harry realized that given her past he would have to proceed very carefully with her. I can't afford to get this wrong, he reasoned. The young wizard was determined to treat the outspoken witch with all the care, respect and love that she deserved. Goyle had shown Tracey the worst a man could be so Harry felt it was his responsibility to show her the best that he could be.
What a crazy life I have lived, Harry mused to himself. I started my life in the wizarding world with a loving family only to lose them. I grew up as little more than a house elf believing I was just a freak only to later discover it was my relatives that were the freaks. Hogwarts may have led me from one life-threatening experience to another, but it also allowed me to make friends for the very first time. Harry looked at all those waiting for him, and the smile on his face grew, threatening to split it in two. And here I am, with a family once again. Perhaps sensing his scrutiny everyone turned and looked at the bespectacled wizard. "Shall we go home?" he asked as he made his way over to the Westfield group.
"I'm sure Anna will be rather anxious to know what has happened to her papa," Luna said, taking Harry's right arm in hers and steering the wizard toward the doors.
"Well we can't have that, now can we?" Harry offered with a chuckle. "Plus I'm sure Hermione has a date with the library followed by a trip to Flourish and Blotts to find everything she can on what a coven is required to do."
"Somebody has to keep you well informed," Hermione quipped as she took up residence on Harry's left arm. "Merlin only know's what sort of trouble you'd get into if I didn't." The others tried to hide their laughter to various degrees of success.
"Would you like some company when you go, Hermione?" Astoria asked from further down the line. The witch was never one to pass up a chance to acquire new books, especially when someone else was paying for them.
"I'll go too," Tracey voiced only to receive looks of disbelief from many in their group. "What?" Tracey asked defensively. "I can read too!"
"Wow! If this is what it takes to get you to want to read a book we should have married you off a long time ago," Daphne quipped in mock disbelief.
"Hey, I'm surrounded by smart witches," Tracey countered with as they entered the lift. "I need to step up my game."
"Don't sell yourself short, Tracey," Harry cautioned, "you're a brilliant woman yourself. Something I find very attractive," he added causing Tracey to blush a bright shade of red.
"Trying to impress someone?" Daphne asked Tracey in a humorous tone, suspecting the sudden desire to be smarter had more to do with Harry than the witches in the group.
"Hush you!" Tracey warned Daphne, as she hung her head in embarrassment for having been found out so quickly.
"I think all of you are scary brilliant," Harry said as their group left the lift and entered the Atrium. "Damn sexy, the lot of you!" Harry declared, doing his best to ignore the stares their group was getting for the witches and wizards around them.
"Don't you have enough witches of your own, Potter," Draco said as he slipped his arm around his wife, pulling her to his side. The smile on his cultured face indicating he was joking.
"I don't know, Draco," Astoria teased, "it's always nice to know I have options should you prove to be untrainable." The witch's words had the former Slytherin sputtering while the others snickered at the couple's exchange.
"Not that I'm not flattered, Potter but I don't swing that way," Neville unexpectedly said. For a long moment, there was nothing but silence as they were all in shock over the usually shy wizard's remark. It wasn't exactly clear who started to giggle first, but soon they were all laughing, drawing some rather strange stares from those nearby.
Harry leaned forward so he could look at Neville as they walked along. "Who are you and what have you done with our Neville?" he asked with a huge grin. Any response that Neville might have had was lost as Harry was suddenly hit with a banishing charm and was sent flying into Hermione. As their group was lined up in a row, there was a bit of a domino effect with more than half of their party ending up on the floor of the Atrium.
Harry turned to look at Luna to ask what was that for only to see the body of the blonde witch landing several meters in front of them. The former Ravenclaw hit the marble floor and flopped about like a rag doll before sliding several feet leaving a red smear of blood across the white stone. Harry froze in shock and even failed to hear Hermione yell Protego or the sound of several more spells bouncing off the hastily raised shield at Harry's back.
A cold white hot fury exploded within Harry at the thought that someone had dared to hurt his family. Climbing to his feet, the enraged wizard looked toward the others to ensure they were alright. Neville had hastily raised a shield as well and was helping Hannah to her feet. Susan was getting up on her own, her wand out and facing back the way they had come, her training from Dumbledore's Army exerting itself. Daphne and Tracey clung to each other as Draco tried to shield Astoria with his body. Andy had hastily jumped to her feet and was headed in Luna's direction, her wand already out and casting diagnostic charms at the injured witch.
"I challenge you to a Wizard's duel, Potter!" Gerald Greengrass yelled as soon as he saw the wizard turn in his direction. "You've taken everything from me! Now it is time for me to repay the favor!"
"I accept!" Harry replied evenly, barely holding his magic in check.
"Harry," Hermione tried to caution the wizard beside her.
Harry turned and looked at Hermione, and the witch knew there would be no talking him out of this no matter what she said just by the set of his jaw. "Please help Andi see to Luna," Harry instructed. "Get her to St. Mungo's as quickly as possible."
"What is going on here?" the stern voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt asked and he approached with a group of Aurors. The yells and screams in the Atrium due to the spellfire having altered the Aurors that there was an attack of some sort taking place within the Ministry of Magic. Fearful that it might be Death Eaters due to Harry being in the building the Minister had gathered all the Aurors he could and hastened to the Atrium.
"My family has been ruthlessly attacked and injured by Greengrass here," Harry spat out. "He challenged me to a Wizard's duel, and I have accepted." Turning to glare at the head of the Greengrass family Harry continued. "As the challenged, I decide when and where," Harry stated, never taking his eyes off Gerald. "I choose here and now!"
"Harry," Kingsley tried to caution the wizard, "I can't have wizards dueling it out in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic." Shacklebolt wanted to stall for time so he could determine exactly what had happened. As hard as it was to believe that Greengrass would have tried something as low as a direct attack from behind in the middle of the Ministry, Harry's next words took the matter out of his hands.
"Minister, this is now a matter of Black family honor," Harry stated. "I can not allow anyone to attack my family. I have accepted his challenge, and we are going to do this here and now. You can either clear an area for us or get out of my way." Harry turned toward where Luna was just in time to see everyone leave through the floo, the petite witch being levitated behind Andi.
"Here and now is fine with me, Potter," Gerald called with an angry snarl. "By the time I am done with you there won't be enough left to identify you. I was the top dueler in Wales for five years running!" The head of the Greengrass family began to limber up in preparation for the coming duel.
Kingsley, seeing that there was nothing he could do, motioned for the Aurors to move people back to give the duelers adequate space. Wards were hastily erected by the Aurors to shield those watching the duel. Word quickly spread throughout the Ministry that Harry Potter was about to duel someone and offices emptied out quicker than rats fleeing a sinking ship. In no time at all the Atrium was packed with people including several reporters from the Prophet.
"Please," Harry snarled. "Kill a Dark Lord or two and then talk to me, Greengrass. You're not even in the same league as me," Harry added in an even tone watching the man stretch.
"As you picked the time and place, Potter," Gerald said as he turned to face Harry, "I get to decide the rules. There are none! Exesa Carne!" the wizard exclaimed as his wand flicked forward lightning fast. An earthy brown spell leaped across space between the combatants only to splash against Harry's shield. Gerald stared in disbelief as he hadn't even seen the boy draw his wand, but there it was in his hand.
"You Sir, have no honor," Harry stated as he took a step toward the older wizard before hastily batting away a bone breaker curse. "First you attack my family from behind like the coward that you are," Harry continued with as he took another step towards Gerald. A quick flick of his wand saw the incoming reductor curse swatted aside where it collided harmlessly with the dueling wards. "Then you try a surprise attack, hoping for a quick win."
Gerald sent off a chain of curses which were either dodged or shielded again. With each exchange, Gerald could see that the Potter boy was getting closer and closer. "Incendio!" Gerald yelled, sending a torrent of flame speeding towards Harry.
The young wizard raised his wand calling out "Ventus," which brought forth a strong wind. Harry pushed his power into the spell, slowly forcing the flames back toward their caster. "Voldemort put up more of a challenge than this," Harry stated with a Snape worthy sneer.
Gerald, beginning to feel the heat from his own flames dove to the side, canceling the flame spell at the same time. "eruptio organi," the wizard called out from his prone position upon the floor. A sickly yellow curse sped across the rapidly shrinking distance between the two men only to be sidestepped at the last second.
"An organ eruption spell," Harry commented as the spell zipped past his right shoulder. "Starting to get into the darker stuff now are we?" Harry asked as he took another step towards the now frightened wizard. "You'll have to do better than that I'm afraid," Harry said taking another step.
Gerald suddenly realized that he had been backed into a corner with the Potter boy being no more than ten feet away from him. While he realized it would be increasingly more difficult for Potter to dodge his spells at this range, it meant that the same held true for him as well. Faced with little choice as Harry took yet another step toward him, Gerald climbed to his feet and leveled his wand before intoning, "Avada Ke-…" Gerald froze as the Potter boy vanished and a hand with a grip of steel seized his windpipe as the tip of a wand dug into the base of his skull.
"A killing curse would not have been stopped by the dueling wards," Harry hissed in Gerald's ear from behind him. It was in fact what the elder Greengrass had been counting on. If Harry had dodged the spell, some poor innocent would have died. Gerald knew that Harry was far too noble to allow that to happen. "If it weren't for the fact that you are Daphne and Astoria's father I would end your existence here. You will yield to me."
"I yield," Gerald said through clenched teeth.
"Louder so they all can hear you," Harry insisted, digging the tip of his wand further into the base of the man's skull.
"I yield!" Gerald yelled, knowing that Harry currently held his life in his hands. As Gerald himself had stated, there were no rules, and he had tried to kill Harry, meaning Harry could now do the same to him, and none would think the less of him for it.
"I will have an oath from you," Harry demanded loud enough for others to hear. "You will swear to me to be off Britain's soil within an hour's time, never to return for as long as you live and that you shall never trouble me or mine ever again!"
"I swear," Gerald growled out, wishing that he had any other choice.
"Not good enough, Sir. You've already shown that you cannot be trusted. I would have you swear on your magic that you will do so," Harry ordered.
Slowly and with great reluctance, Gerald raised his wand, a warning dig of Harry's wand informing him now would not be the time to try anything. "I, Gerald Greengrass, swear upon my magic that I shall leave Britain's soil within the hour never to return and to never trouble Harry Potter or those that are his for the remainder of my life. So mote it be!" There was a brief flash of light as the oath was accepted.
"Know this, Greengrass. If Luna should die, there is no hole you can crawl into, no rock you can hide under and no country you can flee to where I will not find you and make you pay for your actions." Despite his bravado, Gerald felt a trickle of fear traverse his spin. "Stupefy," Harry said, dropping the wizard where he stood. Fishing a galleon from his pocket, Harry touched it with his wand and said, "Portus," before dropping the portkey onto Gerald's chest where it activated and whisked the wizard away.
"Where did you send him, Harry?" Shacklebolt enquired as he rushed over with a group of Aurors, intent on arresting Greengrass for attempted use of an Unforgivable. "I'll send some Aurors to collect him."
"In roughly three hours he'll awake to find that he is still on Britain's soil and that he no longer has his magic," Harry informed the Minister, astonishing them all. "If you'll excuse me I need to get to St. Mungo's." Not waiting for a reply, Harry rushed to the public floo, people scattering to get out of his way. In a flash of green flames, the Hero of the Wizarding World was gone.
Harry stepped from the floo into the entrance area of the hospital to find a nervous Daphne and Hermione waiting for him. Before he could even say anything, Hermione had him in a hug that threatened to crack his ribs. "How's Luna?" he finally managed to ask.
"Andi believes we got her here in time," Hermione replied, stepping back from her wizard now that she was certain he was in one piece. "They are still working on her though," she added as she took Harry by the arm and started to lead him to where everyone was waiting.
"Harry?" Daphne couldn't help but ask, taking his other hand in hers. While Daphne was more than just furious with her father, the man was still her father. The young witch didn't look forward to the prospect of telling her mother that her new son-in-law had killed her husband.
Harry, seeing the worry in Daphne's eyes sighed heavily. "I didn't kill him," he assured her. "Though he may wish I had once he awakes." He quickly informed them what he had done. "His ability to draw air hinges upon Luna's," Harry added, clearly indicating that should the blonde witch cease to live so would the elder Greengrass.
Knowing that it was probably better than her father deserved, Daphne gave his hand in hers a soft squeeze. "Thank you." She replied.
Seeing everyone waiting, except Andi who was in with the healers, the Black Coven settled in to wait for further word. After some time had passed Harry suggested that Daphne take Neville, Hannah, and Susan to Westfield to get them settled as well as inform Anna and Marry what had happened. It would have required a magical crowbar and a team of Dwarven masonry experts to pry Hermione from Harry's side currently. The young witch hadn't released Harry's hand since he had arrived at the hospital.
The hours dragged on before an exhausted Andi made an appearance shortly after Daphne's return from seeing to the others. Harry was up and out of his chair before Andi could even say anything, Hermione and Daphne right beside him in case he needed their support. "It was touch and go," Andi said, holding up a hand to stop Harry from rushing into the injured witch's room to see for himself. "She's still not out of the woods, but she is resting now."
Seeing the questioning look on the man's face, Andi gave a nod which was all that was needed for Harry to rush off to Luna's room. Andi caught Hermione's arm stopping her from following him. "Let him go in alone," she advised. "The healers would like to have a word with him." Hermione gave a small nod. While she didn't like the thought of letting Harry face this alone, she also realized that if the Healers needed to talk to him, then it might be best if she weren't there.
Harry eased open the door, his eyes falling on the petite witch in the room's only bed. Luna's face was unbelievably pale, and it was apparent that she was asleep. Slipping into the room as quietly as possible, Harry walked to the bedside and took Luna's hand in his. The young wizard was shocked at just how cold her hand was to the touch.
"She's a tough one, Mister Potter," stated a green-robed healer who Harry had not even noticed was in the room. "Though it is a good thing they got her here when they did. Having lost her father, I would hate to lose her as well," the man stated, causing Harry to finally look in his direction.
"Healer Roberts," Harry stated, recalling the man's name from his visit to see Luna's father. "Thank you for saving her. She is very precious to me," Harry added, returning his eyes once more to the witch before him. "I don't know what I would do without her."
"It was touch and go for a while there," Roberts commented, his tone becoming serious. "The bombarda charm is a nasty bit of work when used on a person. It is a fairly simple thing to regrow bones. However, growing organs is another thing," said the healer as he raised his wand and ran some diagnostic spells on Luna. Adding some notes to Luna's chart, the healer set it aside before turning to face Harry.
"Luna lost a lot of blood," he started with hesitantly. "Given where the spell hit there was very little we could do, I'm afraid."
Sensing that the healer was trying to tell him something important Harry looked over at the healer beside him. "She's going to be alright, isn't she?" he asked in a fearful tone. It seemed to him that those he loved and were closest to always seemed to pay the price for their association with him. It would truly break his heart if he were to lose Luna.
"We repaired the damage and administered several blood replenishing potions. With plenty of rest, we believe Miss Lovegood will be up and about in a few days." The healer paused and licked his lips nervously. He never liked delivering bad news. Given who Harry was, the Wizarding world's hero and all made it even more difficult. "I don't think if she had gotten here any sooner it would have made a difference." Seeing Harry's worried expression, the healer continued. "There is no easy way to say this I'm afraid. We couldn't save the child."
"Child?" Harry parroted back at the healer as a crushing weight seemed to land on his chest, and he suddenly found it difficult to breathe. The room appeared to slowly start to spin as the healer's words registered with his brain. Child. Our child. Luna was pregnant with our child!
Seeing the wizard beside him suddenly go pale and become unsteady on his feet, Roberts summoned a chair from the side of the room and directed Harry into it. "I see you were unaware she was with child. Do you know who the father was?"
"I am. She's my wife," Harry said as he rested his elbows on his knees and dropped his head into his hands as his shoulders began to shake. The young man's head suddenly shot up, tears running down his cheeks as he looked at the healer pleadingly. "How am I ever going to tell her?" he asked.
"I'm terribly sorry, Mister Potter," Roberts replied, laying a comforting hand on Harry's shoulder. There really was nothing he or anyone else could say at a time like this. It was an aspect of his job that he had always hated. Seeing the man bury his head in his hands again the healer took the opportunity to slip from the room.
"Harry?" enquired a soft, hesitant voice sometime later. Hearing his name called and feeling a light touch on his shoulder, the wizard looked up with red and tear-filled eyes. "I'm so sorry, Harry," Andi gently offered as she knelt before the man. Opening her arms in invitation, she instantly had them filled with a crying wizard. Making a gesture toward the door, Andi beckoned the others in. In short order, Hermione, Daphne, and Tracey were all holding the distraught man they loved so dearly.
The hour was late, and the room was quiet. Harry sat with his head resting on the bed beside Luna as he held her hand, waiting for her to wake. The others had stayed and taken turns keeping Harry company, assuring him that Luna would be well in time. Eventually, the exhausted wizard had fallen asleep there beside the injured witch. It was the feeling of the hand in his tightening which instantly had the wizard awake and looking at a pair of silver eyes.
"Hey you," Harry said, his voice suddenly thick with emotions as he took Luna's hand in both of his and scooted his chair as close as he could. "You gave us all a scare there. I thought I was the Gryffindor here?" he asked with a watery chuckle.
Luna tried to speak but found her throat dry. Harry helped her with a sip of water before she tried again. "The others?" she finally managed to ask.
"They're fine, thanks to you," Harry assured her as the tears in his eye escaped down his cheeks. "They've been in and out of here on a regular basis. Hermione probably has a schedule set up for them," Harry said making them both grin at the thought as it was more than likely correct. "Don't you worry about anything. You just need to rest and get better so we can take you home. Everything else will sort itself out once you are home," he added, placing a kiss on the back of Luna's hand.
"Anna?" Luna asked softly. It was so unusual to see Harry cry that the intelligent witch knew that there was something else.
"She's fine," Harry replied. "Worried of course. She wanted to come, but I wasn't sure how that would go with her being non-magical and all. Safer to have her stay at home. The others are keeping her informed." Harry felt a tug on his hands and realized that Luna wanted him closer. Standing, Harry leaned down and when he saw Luna raise her other arm, a clear indication that she wanted a hug.
The petite witch slipped her arms around Harry and hugged him as tightly as she could. "I'm sorry, Harry," she said into his ear.
"Whatever for?" Harry sniffled.
"I wanted the baby to be a surprise. I was going to tell you once we got back home," Luna said, tears leaking from her own eyes as she felt the wizard's body shudder in her embrace.
"I'm so sorry, Luna. I should have protected you better," Harry sobbed as his arms tightened around the witch. Luna shushed him and told him it wasn't his fault as the two shared their grief in each other's arms for the child they had lost. It would be some time before either of them would be willing to release the other.
Harry finished dressing before moving to the side of the bed and sitting. With a gentle hand, the wizard reached out and brushed a stray strand of unruly brown hair from the sleeping witch's face. A soft loving smile appeared on his face as the witch in question stirred.
"Leaving me to run off and see other witches, already are you?" Hermione asked as she opened her eyes to regard Harry.
"Several actually," Harry confirmed playfully. "I'm certain they're waiting downstairs for us. Are you planning on staying bed all day?" he teased.
"Only if you plan on joining me," Hermione replied with a suggestive arching of one brow.
"As tempting as that offer is, I fear I have to go to work today," Harry answered. "I seem to recall that someone roped me into being Chief Warlock," he added in a thoughtful tone.
"Yes, well, you should have a very long talk with her about doing so," Hermione advised, ignoring the fact that the someone in question was herself. "I'm certain she didn't realize just how much she would miss you when you're gone."
Harry leaned down, his lips finding Hermione's in a soft and gentle kiss. "I miss you as well, you now?"
Hermione smiled softly, her hand slipping down to her rather large abdomen. "She'll miss you too," the witch stated.
Harry leaned down and kissed Hermione's belly and his child within. "Still certain it is a girl?" he asked, only to see his wife give a nod. "How do you know?"
"Woman's intuition," Hermione replied with a grin. "We will know for certain in a few weeks. Would you rather it not be a girl?" she asked, a note of uncertainty in her voice.
"Boy, girl, as long as it is healthy that is all I care," Harry replied. "I'll love him or her just as much."
"Spoken like a true politician," Hermione teased.
"I am what you made me, love," Harry quipped. "Should I have Winky bring you something?" Harry asked as he stepped to the door.
"Please," Hermione answered. "Nothing greasy though."
"Understood. Nothing but toast and water," Harry joked as he disappeared through the bedroom door.
"Harry James Potter!" Hermione exclaimed in playful exasperation.
The wizard in question stuck his head back through the door. "Eggs and fruit. Love you, 'Mione," he said, blowing her a kiss.
"Love you too," Hermione replied with a huge smile, believing she would never tire of hearing Harry say that he loved her. "Don't forget that Teddy starts school today," she quickly called out as the wizard left once again.
Harry made his way downstairs with a chuckle. Teddy starting school was the only thing Teddy and Anna had been talking about for the past week. Anna couldn't wait to show her younger brother all around the school. It's not like he hasn't seen it before, Harry thought, having taken Teddy there many times over the past few years. Harry believed it was the fact that they would be there without parental supervision that had the two children so excited.
Not that he was worried in the slightest. It had been nearly four years now since the Lupin school had opened. Mary had accepted the position as Headmistress given that her original assignment had been completed with all the witches passing their NEWTs. Headmistress Macdoanld was still a regular visitor at Westfield for breakfast even though she had moved into her own residence.
Nearing the bottom of the stairs, Harry saw Astoria and Draco, the latter carrying their newest addition to the Black Coven, Scorpius Hyperion Peverell. "You two look like shyte," Harry teased.
"I don't know how you do it, Potter! You have three already, with a fourth one on the way!" Draco exclaimed. "I feel like I haven't slept in a month!"
"It has only been a week, Draco," Astoria informed her husband with an amused chuckle, but even she was beginning to look worn around the edges. Newborns always required a lot of attention and the new parents wanted to do it all on their own. Much to Winky's chagrin.
"Anna was already grown when I became her papa. Winky and Kreacher wouldn't let me near Teddy. I sometimes think he's their other child. As for James, well, Daphne has handled most of it as she had to feed him. I was stuck with nappy duty. Chin up," Harry said, clapping Draco on the shoulder, "I'd like to say it gets easier, but it doesn't."
"You could have at least lied to me and given me something to look forward to," Draco whined.
"Now where is the fun in that?" Harry asked with a grin as he walked with them both to the dining room. The room was a great deal more massive than it used to be so that it could accommodate the additions to the family. With Susan, Hannah, Neville as well as both the Patil twins living at Westfield now it was very much a full house. The wizard was almost run over by Tracey who was leaving in a hurry.
"Oh, sorry sweetie!" Tracey exclaimed as Harry caught her in his arms to keep them both from falling. "I have to hurry over to the store. We're launching the new line next week, and I'm nowhere ready for it. There are a million and one things that I still need to do and-," further words were stopped as it was rather rude as well as a bit difficult to talk when your husband was kissing you. "Good morning to you, too," Tracey said with a goofy grin once the kiss ended.
"Good morning my little worker bee," Harry teased. "We're still on for lunch today, right?" he asked as he released the witch, spinning around to watch her leave.
"Of course," Tracey confirmed. "Just come and get me from the store when you're ready," she called over her shoulder before disappearing into the floo network.
Harry turned back and stepped to Andi, leaning down he gave her a kiss before standing back up. "Where's Neville and Susan?" he asked noticing that they were both absent. The Patil twins were no doubt over at the Lupin Home already as work always started early there especially with Susan on a leave of absence.
"Susan's water broke last night, so they are at St. Mungo's right now," Andi informed her Warlock.
"Why didn't anyone tell me? I wanted to go along for support," Harry stated.
"After Hannah, I'm fairly certain Neville can handle Susan all on his own," Andi replied.
"Susan?" Harry scoffed. "I was going to support Neville. Man's been a nervous wreck that past couple of weeks! They may have to admit him along with Susan. You do recall he fainted when Hannah gave birth to little Frankie?"
"Hannah is there, so I'm sure she will be supporting them both," Luna offered just before receiving her good morning kiss from her husband.
"I'll have to ask her for the pensieve memory if he faints again," Harry said with a small chuckle.
"You'll do no such thing!" Luna admonished. "It was very brave of Neville to go into the delivery room with her," Luna reminded Harry. "Which is more than you did when Daphne gave birth."
"She tried to hex me!" Harry exclaimed in his own defense.
"Yes, well, I wasn't quite myself," Daphne offered in her own defense with a slightly embarrassed look. "You try pushing out a child and see what it does to you!"
"Good morning little man," Harry said, dropping a kiss on the top of his son's head. The toddler, James Sirius, was seated in his highchair between Andi and Luna, giving Daphne and Winky a break for breakfast.
"Papa, I thought I was your little man?" Teddy asked from the chair beside Luna.
Harry squatted down beside Teddy and replied in a very serious tone. "You were my little man, Teddy, but today you start school, which means you've grown up more. I think that means you're now my 'Big Boy' instead. Teddy seemed to think about this for a moment before accepting it. He really liked the big part of that.
"I want to go to school too," James stated from his highchair.
"You are not old enough yet, Jimmy," Anna was quick to tell the youngest boy. While everyone called the toddler by his given name of James, Anna had always called him Jimmy. James, for his part, allowed her to. Anyone else calling him that, even his parents, were told in no uncertain terms that his name was James.
Harry stood and stepped over to his daughter, giving her a kiss on the cheek as he did every morning. "Thanks for the backup there, sweetie," he whispered in her ear. James could be somewhat headstrong when told what to do, but he always seemed to listen to Anna for some reason.
Anna gave her papa a kiss on the cheek. "We're still going flying when you get home from work, right?" she asked.
"As long as your homework and chores are done," Harry assured her. They both knew that with it being the first day of school there probably wouldn't be any homework. Harry moved around his seat and leaned down to give Daphne a warm kiss. "Good morning, Beautiful," he said, causing the witch to blush in the cutest of ways.
"I didn't get any sweet nothings in my ear this morning," Luna teased from the other end of the table.
"Me either," Andi chimed in with. "I feel a bit left out."
"You know I think you are all beautiful," Harry stated.
"I'm flattered, but I'm spoken for, Potter," Draco drawled, causing laughter around the table.
"How's Hermione?" Daphne enquired once Harry returned from the sideboard and serving himself breakfast.
"Tired," the wizard replied, before blushing a bit, "and a bit…well…"
"Randy?" Daphne offered. "Morgana but I was unsatiable!"
"Yeah," Harry agreed with a goofy grin appearing on his face at the memory, earning him a slap on the shoulder from the witch beside him.
Toward the end of the meal, Luna approached Harry and asked for a word in private with him. Leading her to his study the wizard turned to regard the former Ravenclaw. "Are you alright?" he asked, tilting his head to one side as he regarded her intently. "You seem different."
"How so?" Luna asked innocently, a dreamy smile on her face.
"I don't know," the confused wizard replied as he tried to put his finger on just what was different about the witch. "If I had to put a name to it you seem, I don't know, brighter. There is a glow to you."
"And why do you think that would be?" Luna asked as she walked about the room looking at everything and nothing at the same time. "Do you mean I seem happier?"
"Yes, but it's more than that," Harry replied as he pondered just what it could be. He had a nagging suspicion that he had seen this before someplace.
"Maybe you've seen someone else who looked this way?" Luna offered, stopping in her wandering so that she could turn and face the man who meant everything to her.
Harry racked his brain and slowly came to the realization that the last time he has seen someone that looked like that was Hermione and then before her, it had been Daphne. Suddenly the pieces fell into place. "You're pregnant?" he asked, looking at the petite witch with hopeful eyes only to see her give an enthusiastic nod as a smile threatened to split her face in two.
After the incident at the Ministry, the healers hadn't been sure that the petite witch would ever be able to have another baby. They had cautioned them both to give it time and see what happened. After trying for a couple years with no luck, they had pretty much given up on have a child together. Harry knew it had been painful for Luna, especially with everyone around her having babies.
Harry let out a whoop of joy and quickly scooped the witch up in his arms and twirled around before dropping into a chair with Luna in his lap. "That is just bloody brilliant, Luna! I already know you're going to be a smashing mum just from how you are with Anna and the others," Harry said, peppering the top of Luna's head with kisses.
"Harry?" Luna voiced as she snuggled into his chest.
"Hmm?" Harry answered, near to bursting with happiness.
..and there you have it! Wow, still can't believe I finally finished the story. It was tough battling through writer's block and the Muse running off just when I needed her the most. Hopefully, you've enjoyed the story as much as I have in writing it. I want to thank everyone who favored, followed and reviewed. I can't tell you how much it means to me that you've stuck with the story until the very end.
A very special thank you to Alix33 who was gracious enough to work through my mangling of the English language for every chapter and was kind enough to point out my mistakes. Her efforts certainly polished the story, making it shine far more than it did before.
Suggested Reading: Take The Tumble (7826857) by Kittenshift17 - There was never a hatred so profound as that of Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy, but when a challenge is issued the pair embark on a roller-coaster ride of emotions and confusing, passionate meetings. Enemies with Benefits never tasted this good, and Rose is going to learn there is a whole lot more to Scorpius than a lifelong rivalry and a wicked smirk. – For all you Next Gen HP lovers this a is one you really should check out if you haven't already. ~EJ
As always, your reviews are not required, but they are greatly appreciated.
All characters within this story, unless otherwise stated are the sole property of J. K. Rowling the original writer of the Harry Potter series.