Disclaimer: Potter and Co. do not belong to me, but to JK Rowling who is the real brains behind the operation.

Author's Notes: Okay, so this story has absolutely nothing to do with my previous HP story "An Organ of Fire." Although may I just say, the response to the end of that story overwhelmed me. Seriously. I almost cried. But this story is something entirely new that I'm trying and if it gets even a tenth of the response that "Organ..." did, I will be a happy little writer. Enjoy!!

Dedication: To one of the world's newest members, Alison Loyce.


Until Such A Time
by Kristen Elizabeth


"Hermione?" Harry Potter closed the front door behind him and pulled at the hook and eye holding his winter cloak closed at the base of his neck. "Where are you?"

"I'm in the kitchen," his wife of just one blissful year called out, her voice muffled by the space between them. The house they had just bought on the outskirts of London was just big enough to make communication from room to room difficult.

He hung his cloak on the stand next to the door and picked up the post from the hall table. Thumbing through it, he headed for the kitchen. At twenty-four years old, Harry had grown into his knobby knees and unruly hair and turned into quite a handsome wizard. At least, that's what Hermione told him; he didn't set much stock in such things. His eyes, still a brilliant green, also still held the pain of a lifetime spent fighting to survive, the culmination of that being a hot summer night six years earlier.

"Was this all the post that came today?" Harry asked as he entered the little kitchen. He glanced up from the letters in his hands. "Hermione?"

She was standing in front of the stove, using her wand to create a tomato sauce for spaghetti; when he entered, she turned and gave him a warm smile. "Hello to you, too."

The post forgotten, Harry walked up to his wife and lifted her chin for a slow kiss. "I'm sorry," he said a moment later. "How are you, love?"

"Bored," she replied, frowning. "And I can't seem to get enough oregano into this."

He dropped a hand down to her hugely rounded stomach. "Why don't you remind your mother, baby, that there's a jar of oregano in the cabinet just above her head. All she has to do is reach up and grab it."

"Don't tease." With a spoon in one hand and her wand in the other, Hermione propped her fists up on her hips. "I've got to do some magic, Harry, or else I really will go stir-crazy."

"They call it 'maternity leave' for a reason, you know," Harry said, taking the spoon from her and scooping up some sauce. "You're supposed to *leave* the stress of working behind at the office." After taking a taste, he shook his head. "It doesn't need oregano. It needs...basil."

Hermione sighed as she snatched back the wooden instrument. "Who's cooking here, you or me?" To show him she wasn't mad, she kissed his cheek. "Was there something you were expecting in the post?"

"A letter. From Remus." He lifted a shoulder. "It might come tomorrow."

"I'm sure it will," she said softly. Clearing her throat, she pointed her wand at the sauce. Without any fanfare, basil leaves shot into the thick mixture. "Is Ron still coming for dinner?"

Harry nodded. "And he's bringing a date."

"Please tell me it's not that half-wit secretary...what was her name?"

"Lucy," Harry supplied. "No. It's someone we've not met. He said she was foreign, but that's all I could get out of him."

Hermione stirred the sauce thoughtfully. "American, probably. Ron has a thing for blondes with blue eyes."

"And red lips. Red, white and blue." Her husband snickered. "I guess we'll find out."

"I should change then." She looked down at her loose, maternity robes which covered the mound of eight months pregnancy in her body. "I've been wearing this all day."

Harry reached for the spoon again. "You look fine. But I'll finish up in here, if you want."

"My hero." After another, longer kiss, she started off. "Make enough noodles for six or seven. You know Ron's appetite."

"I'll make it eight servings," Harry called out. "You're eating for two, remember!"

She was halfway out the kitchen door before she turned and gave him a pointed look. "Like I could forget." Her hands rubbed her belly. "It's been a party in here for the past hour and a half. In fact, it only stopped when you came in."

"Daddy's girl," he said, confidently.

Hermione pursed her lips. "Perhaps." She pointed to the pot. "Watch out; it's bubbling." She spoke too late; a bubble popped in the middle of the sauce and sent a spray up onto Harry's glasses. "Looks as though you'll be cleaning up for dinner, too, Mr. Potter."

"I'll join you in the bedroom, Mrs. Potter," he grimaced, taking off his splattered glasses.

"In my condition? Harry..." She winked at him. "I'm flattered."

He had to laugh as he used a corner of his shirt to clean the lenses. "How long before Ron and his Yankee show up?"

"Not long enough," Hermione said, almost ruefully. "Besides, I suppose you've forgotten that as of yesterday, you're cut off, love." Blowing him a kiss, she left the room.

Inwardly, Harry groaned. He had forgotten. Putting his glasses back on, he sighed the sigh of a man who would not be getting any action in bed for the next two months, at least. "I guess I'll start on the noodles. That should be just as much fun."


"Well? What do you think of her, mate?"

Harry peered over the rim of his tea cup. The woman in question was sitting across the parlor, talking to Hermione by the fireplace. "I suppose the real question is what do *you* think of her?"

Ron Weasley combed his hair through his rusty bangs. "Come on, Harry. I brought her here for approval. I can't go off seriously dating someone without seeing what the two of you think first!"

"Well..." He took a long sip as he devised an answer. "She speaks very good English."

"She didn't a couple of months ago when she first got here from Spain," Ron said. "But...with the help of an excellent tutor..." He grinned. "...she's made tremendous progress."

Harry arched an eyebrow. "Is that how she learned to say, 'oh, yes, give me more' so well? I thought she just really liked spaghetti."

"Serafina," Ron ignored him. "Isn't it a beautiful name? So heavenly..."

"And it goes so well with 'Weasley.'"

Frowning, Ron looked at his oldest friend. "I hope something is bothering you, because if not, you're well on your way to acting like a bloody..."

Harry held up his hand. "Sorry. I'm sorry. It's just..." He put down his cup to rub his eyes. "One of us isn't going to be having sex for the next two months and you know it's not you."

"Damn straight." Ron hid a chuckle behind his hand. "She's having a baby, mate. You had your fun already."

"It's not just that." He considered and continued, "Well, that's a lot of it. But more than that...I haven't heard from Remus in awhile."

Suddenly serious, Ron leaned forward, speaking in a low whisper. "You don't think something has happened to him, do you?"

"I don't know. I don't think so," Harry replied. "But I get worried. He's the last link I have to..." He stopped.

"You've got to stop thinking like there's danger lurking 'round every corner, Harry." His best friend, and for the last two years, his fellow Auror, put a hand on his shoulder. "It's all over. We made the world a safer place."

The Boy-Who-Lived shook his head. "I don't know that it ever will be over, Ron. Not as long...as I keep missing them."

"We all lost people." Ron swallowed heavily. "Don't you think I miss my sister every single day?"

"I know. But Sirius...and Dumbledore..." Harry picked up his cup, only to discover that he had already drained it. "I still feel lost without them."

"Past's in the past, Harry," his friend said sagely. "And the future..." He gestured to Hermione in her rocking chair; she was letting Ron's Spanish flame touch her stomach, laughing at the girl's surprise when the baby moved. "...it's sitting right over there."

Harry blinked when Hermione looked over and caught him staring at her. Her face glowed, and it wasn't just the warm light from the fireplace. She smiled at him, a private little look that spoke volumes of love. Ron was right. Voldemort was dead and buried. He had taken too many people down with him, but he was gone.

The road ahead was clear for him, his wife and their unborn child.


Despite this certainty, Harry still found himself standing outside the shell of a burned-out mansion a week later, utilizing a simple locating spell to search the charred ruins for anything pertaining to the Dark Arts. This was a routine part of his job; although the black days of Voldemort's return were long over, the followers he had acquired during those short three years, not to mention the ones he'd had before, were still scattered across England. It was Harry's job as an Auror to track them down, neutralize any threat they posed, and dispose of any dangerous items they might possess.

"Harry." Ron approached him from behind, his work robes flapping in the strong, cold breeze. "This house is clean. What are we still doing here?"

With his wand pointed at the remains of the house, Harry closed his eyes and chanted the simple phrase. A moment later, a floating ball of blue light appeared in front of them. He opened his eyes. "I just need to be sure, Ron. The Torkinson's both have the Mark...and I have a feeling that something of theirs survived the fire."

"Bloody fools, if you ask me. Torching the place just as we closed in. They could've just Apparated out and..." He coughed. "Made it a hell of a lot more difficult for us. So, what do you think is..."

"It's moving," Harry cut him off as the blue light began floating towards the ruins. "Come on."

The two Aurors set off, making their way through the burnt rubble carefully, but quickly as not to lose sight of their guide. They followed the light into the center of the house, but it disappeared through a crack between blackened boards that lay across the floor.

"Damn! Lost it." Ron looked around. "This place doesn't look too sound, Harry. I think we should cut our losses and get out of..."

Harry was already on his knees, pulling the boards away. "Give me hand, would you?"

With much reluctance, Ron kneeled next to his friend to help. "If I ruin my robes, you're buying me new ones."

"I'll be sure to get them with...extra lace." Harry overturned a board with great effort.

"You can't forget anything, can you, Potter?" Ron said with a broad smile that faded the next second. "Harry...where did the floor go?"

Harry threw the last big piece of ceiling aside, revealing a hole and the first few stone steps that led into the impenetrable darkness of the mansion's cellar. "Are you coming?"

"Do I have a choice?" Taking a breath, Ron followed his friend down the ominous stairs. With Harry's Lumos, there was only enough light to see the next step below them. "What are you expecting to find?"

"What do we usually find? A few books, maybe poisonous candles or shrunken heads. Probably nothing more than that." They reached the bottom of the staircase. There was the faintest hint of a blue glow a good distance away. "It's stopped moving, I think. Must have found something."

Harry and Ron walked towards the light, nearly tripping over several empty crates in the process. The fire had not extended to this basement, probably because of its stone structure and the Muggle fire department who had put out the flames in a swift and orderly manner...while the Ministry worked to arrest the mansion's owners right underneath their noses.

"There." Ron pointed to the light. "Can you see what it's touching?"

"Some sort of..." Harry held his wand's light closer to the item that conjured guide had settled over. It sat on a low table, the only structure around as far as he could see. "...shrunken head."

Ron rolled his eyes. "What fun. Who wouldn't want to be into the Dark Arts if it means you get such terrific toys?"

"Ten years ago...I would have thought this was amazingly wicked. You would have, too."

"Yeah, but that was before I had a clue," Ron retorted. "This should be fairly easy to take care of, Harry."

Harry nodded and raised his wand. Before he could utter the spell to destroy the object, something compelled him to stop. He lowered his arm.

"What's wrong? Blast it," Ron urged him.

He licked his lips. "There's just...I don't know." Harry reached for the fist-sized head. "Something about..." His fingers closed around the object; a wave of dizziness engulfed him. He closed his eyes, shaking his head. "Woah. What the hell was that?" There was no reply. "Ron?"

Harry opened his eyes. The basement and his best friend had vanished. He was now back outside, standing in the exact spot he had started out. However, the Torkinson's mansion, or what was left of it, was gone. A huge track of empty moor spread out around him.

"Ron?" he called out. Cold fear dripped into his stomach, settling in a hard ball at the very bottom. He tried swallowing, but his mouth was dry. Something was very, very wrong. "Ron...where are you?!"

"Harry? Harry Potter?"

The voice that called out his name did not belong to his best friend. In fact, it didn't even belong to a man at all. Harry steeled himself and turned around. A girl in her late teens stood several yards away, staring at him. "Who are you? What's happened to Ron?"

"It worked. It really worked!" The girl withdrew her hands from the pockets of her long, black coat and clapped them together, excitedly. "You're here!"

Fear turned into anger. "Who the hell are you? I demand to know what's going on! What worked? Where's Ron?!"

"I'm sorry! I know this has got to be crazy for you! But you're just going to have to trust me, all right?" Taking a deep breath, the girl moved towards him. It was only as she grew closer that Harry got a good look at her. Rich brown hair framed a delicate, heart-shaped face. Her eyes, a hazel that walked the line between brown and green. "Don't you recognize me?"

Harry plunged his hands into black locks "Whoever you are, I need you to tell me what has happened here. Now!"

"Of course you don't recognize me! Why should you? You haven't actually met me yet, have you?" The girl stopped in front of Harry. "This is the part where you're going to have to trust me."

"Trust you? Trust you about..."

She cut him off. "If my calculations are correct, you are exactly eighteen years into the future. Give or take a few minutes." Holding out her hand, the girl looked him straight in the eye. "My name is Emmaline Lily Potter. Emma, for short." There was a pause. "I'm your daughter."


To Be Continued