A/N: On a roll! But this is probably the end of the roll because school work etc now ha! There's always next weekend though. I tried very hard to be parental in this fic but I'm not a parent so grain of salt hehe
Harry's hanging his cloak when Ginny's arms wrap around him from behind and she presses a kiss to his shoulder. "Our daughter came home with a black eye today."
He tamps down on the shock of distress that shoots down his spine at Ginny's laughing tone. If she's joking it can't be that bad. "All better?"
Ginny hums against his back. "Aye. Can't say the same for the other fellow."
"Cage matches at the kiddie park now?" Harry asks, turning to wrap his arms around her waist and leaning back against the deep wood of the door.
If he listens closely, Albus and James' voices trickle out of the living room, debating some show they're watching on the telly, but it sounds like two of his children aren't feeling violent today so he refocuses. "Are we going to have a parent issue? With the other kid?"
They move to the kitchen where the smell of roast chicken is strong enough to make Harry's mouth water and Ginny smirks at him as he snatches a still warm roll from the covered basket she has waiting for dinner. "Mum sent those over. Knows we've had a busy week and those are your favorites."
He moans in approval. "She's getting an extra Christmas gift this year."
Ginny laughs as she prods the green beans where they're boiling on the stovetop. "To answer your question, no problem with the parents. Since their kid punched too they decided to be reasonable people and we all just left."
"She gets this from your family."
"Do you really want to go there, Potter?" Ginny drawls, sharpening the carving knife and putting it far from the reach of grabby hands.
"Touché," Harry answers with a smirk that turns to a frown when Ginny slaps his hand away from the rolls. "Do we know what started the row?"
Pausing as she pulls the dishes from the cabinets, Ginny shrugs. "She was pretty tight lipped on the way home. Wanted to leave her for a bit. I did say no dessert though."
Harry kisses her cheek as he passes, moving toward the stairs. "I'll be back in time for dinner."
Waving her understanding, Ginny calls out, "Twenty minutes! And no shoes in the bedrooms!"
Boots abandoned in the entryway, Harry jogs up the stairs, laughing faces following him from behind picture frames as he goes. He pulls a face at the miniature George that sticks his tongue out but schools his features once he reaches Lily's door. It's remarkably bare, save the Harpies lanyard that dangles from the knob.
With two short knocks, Harry announces his entry and peeks through the partially opened door. "Anybody in there?"
Lily's curled up on her side, back to him, but he can tell from her breathing pattern she's still awake. It's one of those weird parent things he never really believed would happen to him, but he's somehow memorized each of his children's breathing patterns – he knows how they breath when they're awake, asleep, sick, angry. And that's what his youngest is right now. Angry.
"Can I come in Sprite?"
She twists around and nods ever so slightly, ears red like her uncle's.
Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, Harry enters the room and settles on the bed behind her, fingers carding through her trademark Weasley red hair. "Alright?"
An answer comes in the form of a jerky shoulder shrug, but he presses on nonetheless. "Heard you had an exciting day at the park."
"She was makin' fun of Al."
Harry frowns, and for a minute he wants to give Lily extra dessert for sticking up for her brother, but tamps the impulse down to be a responsible parent. Or something. "I know it's frustrating, but you should've gotten mum instead of decking the little weasel."
There goes responsible parenting.
That at least draws a giggle from Lily, breaking her stormy scowl as she twists onto her back and fiddles with one of the buttons on Harry's shirt. "That's what mum said."
"Smart woman," Harry offers with a smirk. It fades though, as he takes in the still darkened ring around Lily's eye and runs his fingers over the bruising, his fingers coming away with the sticky bruise paste patented by certain mischief making Weasleys.
Her fiery brow furrows, but she doesn't respond for a few minutes. Pots clang downstairs and Harry assumes they'll all be ordered to go wash up soon. "Me and mum, we're here so you don't have to defend yourselves like that, yeah?"
"I don't want t'be a baby."
Biting back a laugh at his five year old – who will be his baby until she's old and grey – Harry nods his understanding. "It's not being a baby to get a grown up when there's trouble. Part of being a grown up is knowing when you need back up."
She narrows her eyes, and he can see she's not quite buying it, so he ruffles his hair to stall while he scrambles for an example. "Y'know one of the first things they teach you in Auror training?"
"Keep your wand away from your bum cheeks?" Lily snickers behind childish fingers.
Harry chuckles and tugs her close, "Nah, that's advanced stuff," he rubs her back comfortingly, "the first day, you learn that when things start to get tough, you've got to call the office for back up. So it doesn't get out of control."
Lily lets out a long sigh, but stays snuggled into his chest quietly. He finds her left hand – she's a southpaw so he wagers a guess she punches with it too – and presses a kiss to her knuckles. "So next time, just call for back up, yeah?"
He feels her nod against his chest and holds her for a few more minutes nearly drifting off until Ginny's voice calls from the kitchen for everyone to wash their hands. James and Albus' twin groans and the subsequent thundering footsteps ensure he's awake, so Harry nudges Lily, "How about we go clean up?"
As they leave her room to shuffle James and Albus away from the sink where they've inevitably started making some sort of concoction they'll haughtily claim is a potion, Harry slides his hand around her shoulder as he murmurs, "Don't tell mum, but I bet Uncle Ron'll bake you a sticky toffee pudding once the punishment's up."
Wide brown eyes find his and he smirks, "He's got a soft spot for Weasleys who punch first and ask questions later."