Chapter 5

Ginny was aware that Harry was watching her – it wasn't anything new. He'd silently watched her since they married six years previously. Oh, yes, back then his eyes had revealed sexual hunger for her. That hadn't changed. She reveled in it, feeling she had a modicum of power over him. Besides, she approached him for bed play, too.

Since Joshua's birth, though, she'd noticed that he seemed to have become more … relaxed. Somehow, easier. Those first nine months of their marriage the only body language she'd read from him, when she could read him at all, was tension. After Jamie's and Jace's births, though, he smiled more often and even laughed over their antics as they grew.

Now he laughed more with her, at some of the things she said to him. It was as if his sense of humor was now fully engaged. He joked with her more frequently, and when they were at the Burrow he didn't seem, to her, to be pretending as often as he had. Thinking back over those six years, it wasn't that he was being unkind or particularly unfeeling to her, just that he had been holding back … something.

There was more 'casual' touching, too. Sometimes when he joined her and the children when the boys played outside, he would casually, almost without noticing what he was doing, lay an arm around her shoulders, almost but not quite like her brothers would do, and compliment her on the children's manners and behavior, as if he wasn't as involved in their upbringing. Every now and then, when they passed each other in the house, Harry would deliberately bump into her or brush against her. He always apologized as if the contact was an accident, but the playful gleam in his eyes told her differently.

But there was more. Even though Harry'd been emotionally distant before, they'd renewed the friendship that began in her fourth, his fifth, year. At his suggestion after Mickey's birth, they'd begun having the occasional date night, sometimes with one of her brothers or another and their wives. He'd even asked her opinion about some things he was thinking about doing – they were now supporting an orphanage for children left orphan by the war and, at her suggestion, helping the homeless from that same war rebuild their homes.

His eyes were … warmer when they landed on her. He seemed more open and yet … there was something indefinable in their green depths. After pondering it, she thought maybe it was anxiety she was seeing, and she broached him about it.

"Harry?" They had just put the boys to bed and were sitting in the lounge, she on the tweed couch and he in the squashy leather armchair next to it. "Is something bothering you?"

"Hmm?" he responded, his head jerking up as if he'd been stung.

Just from his reaction Ginny knew he'd heard her question but repeated it nonetheless.

After a moment's silence when she just about decided he was going to ignore the question, Harry shook his head. "Just thinking about something." He recognized the concern on her face, the same look she gave their boys when they went to her with a problem. A ghost of a smile raced across his lips. "Nothing to worry about," he assured her as he patted the back of her hand that rested on the arm of the couch. He hardly had to reach to touch it. Then he went back to seemingly studying his boots.

Her eyes dropped to the latest edition of Quidditch Weekly News laying on the sofa, and she pulled it into her lap to read, though every now and then her gaze darted to his face momentarily.

Harry felt her look but wasn't ready to talk yet.

Ginny would soon find out what was bothering Harry.

Joshua was a bit over two months old and down for the night, along with the rest of their children, when Harry sat on the edge of the bed, half-way undressed, a dirty sock dangling from his hands.


She was undressing, distracted by thoughts of some mischief Jamie and Jace had gotten into that afternoon. "Hmmm?"

"I haven't been completely truthful to you all these years."

With those words he garnered her anxious attention. He's got someone on the side. Then she mentally rolled her eyes at herself. He doesn't have time for anyone else with all the sexual attention he gets at home plus helping with the boys and tending to everyone's finances. "No?" she questioned, her mild tone of voice belying how alert she was.

"No. I, uh, I'd appreciate if you just listen without interrupting me or I don't think I'll be able to get through this. It's not something I like to remember."

"Okay," she replied quietly and perched next to him.

"You remember a couple days after the Battle when I left the Burrow for the first funeral and didn't return until the next day? I went by myself and stopped at Gringotts after the funeral to make restitution for the damages Ron, Hermione, and I caused to the bank. Well, it was late in the afternoon by the time I left there, and I went into the Leaky Cauldron to use their Floo back to the Burrow." He paused, not knowing how she would react to what he had to tell her.

Ginny immediately felt chilled and apprehensive.

"Erm, Cho was there and asked me to join her. I was exhausted mentally from the funeral and the meeting with the goblins and sat down. Well, people kept coming over every minute or so and interrupting us and she seemed to be getting agitated, so I asked Tom if there was a private parlor available where we could talk. He led us upstairs to a suite of rooms, saying that it was the only thing available.

"We were drinking. Cho and I, I mean. Firewhiskey. I got shitfaced drunk and she was pretty drunk, too. The next thing I knew it was morning and I was in bed. I was naked in bed with a naked Cho in my arms and blood on the sheets. I couldn't remember doing anything, but there was the evidence there…." His voice trailed off momentarily. "I was horrified, but Cho was gracious about the whole thing. She cleaned up, dressed, and left, and then I did the same.

"Three weeks later I was at the Burrow's Quidditch pitch waiting for Ron when a strange owl flew in and dropped a folded parchment into my hand and then flew away again. I opened it up and read, 'Dear Harry, I need to see you. Please meet me at the Leaky at two o'clock this afternoon.' It was signed, 'Cho.' I was mystified but managed to get away in time to meet her."

Harry turned his head away from Ginny. "She told me she was pregnant with my child. What could I say? She'd been a virgin when we had sex. The child was mine. So, we left immediately for Gretna Green and then went back to her flat. It was small, almost an efficiency, just a small living room, a smaller kitchen, tiny bath, and a bedroom not much bigger than the closet at the Dursleys. When I visited Gringotts after that funeral I'd been given a rundown of everything Mum and Dad and Sirius left me." He looked around the room. "This place is big, but a second house the Blacks owned was even bigger, and that's the one Cho wanted to live in, though she did insist on coming here and redecorating. At least the place she chose for us was in better shape than the place on Grimmauld. Instead of morning sickness in the morning she was afflicted with it at night. Our, erm, sex life suffered because of it.

"Then, when she was almost four months pregnant, I was called to a clinic near that house. She'd had a miscarriage. The Healer said we should abstain for a month and not try for another baby for six months. So we didn't. Partly because even when she was cleared, she, erm, she wasn't in a good place mentally, fragile, I guess you'd call it. She cried a lot, wouldn't let me hold her, said she felt like a failure as a wife. I said all the things I thought a good husband would say in that circumstance, but it didn't seem to help.

"About nine months or so after her miscarriage her sister, Ju, and brother-in-law came over for dinner. It was a nice evening, but I got shitfaced again. The next morning Cho asked me if it was as good for me as it had been for her. Hell, I couldn't even remember it! It was only the second time we'd been intimate, and I couldn't remember either time! But a month or so later she told me she was pregnant again. She was having that evening morning sickness again. I was happy at the news.

"I guess you know what happened after that. Some Death Eater wannabes attacked Diagon Alley, and Cho was, Cho was killed. I didn't know how to feel other than numb. My wife and second child, my family, wiped out.

"After the funeral Ju tersely asked me to come back to her house. She was upset, I thought she needed to talk about Cho. Boy, did she talk! She told me neither of the babies Cho carried were mine." Harry's voice changed from dull to bitter. "In fact, Cho and I had never had sex. She deliberately got me so drunk I would pass out and the next morning would act as if we had. Ju knew what she was doing the whole time. She was meeting some guy – Ju never told me his name – whenever she went to Diagon Alley. She was giving him money from our account. This guy was the father of her first baby, but they'd had a tremendous row and he left the country for several months on business. She found out she was pregnant and needed a husband and, enamored with the idea of being Mrs. Harry Potter, especially once I had gotten rid of Tom Riddle, decided she would set me up. When he got back to London she started seeing him again. I didn't measure up as lover next to this guy." He barked a laugh. "How could I when we'd never done it?

"I don't know whether I ever truly loved Cho or loved the idea that I had a wife and was going to be a father. My wife and child, maybe children, would love me for who I was. And it all blew up in my face. From time to time after that I went into Muggle London to, erm, find a woman. I'd sit in a bar and wait to see if a gal would approach me. Most of the time they did. Somehow a man who's not talkative but keeps looking at you attracts a girl. I always made sure my partner didn't get pregnant and I didn't pick up any diseases.

"But then I looked around at families I would see outside those bars, some of them with babies in prams or holding young children, and it began to eat at me. I wanted a child, children, and to get one I had to have a wife. For me, where I was at 'wife' was a dirty word, not someone to be trusted. And that's where I was when I approached you. I knew you'd had a crush on me at school and started looking for mention of you in the Daily Press, like a wedding announcement. Didn't see any, of course, and decided, what the hell."

For the first time since he started talking, he looked Ginny in the eye. "Ginny, we've been married for close to six years now. From that ignoble beginning you've always treated me with respect, no matter what I said or did. You've given me five beautiful sons, three of whom look like me, if you'll disregard Mark's blue eyes. Mickey is pure Weasley, and David is a combination Potter-Weasley. And now we have Joshua. You've been faithful to me."

Though there was no hint of a question in his eyes, she nodded confirmation.

"If I ask you for two more children, or even more, I don't doubt that you will give them to me."

Again, Ginny nodded. She loved all five of her children, loved the process of getting pregnant, and, a bit surprising to her, enjoyed being pregnant. Even with her youngest child being two months old, she would have another and another. She had given her word, and it was turning out not to be hard to keep.

"I've been a bastard to you, looking at you like a brood mare. I owe you a huge apology, I do apologize, and I promise you that from now on you'll be treated with the respect you deserve."

Ginny had listened to Harry with increasing horror at Cho's duplicity, her heart aching for this man who long ago claimed her heart. "Apology accepted, Harry." She gave him a tender smile. "I'm so sorry for what you went through, for all the terrible things Cho did to you. You didn't deserve any of it."

Harry wasn't so sure. Maybe Cho had looked inside him and seen that he was capable of using a woman just as she used him.

"I appreciate your telling me, Harry. It must have been hard to, but I promise you no one will know from me. Come lay down now. The baby will be up before we know it, and I hope you'll hold me until then."

"I won't ask you for any more children," he looked at her and promised.

Ginny did her best to keep a straight face. "Does that mean I need to pick a room of my own?"

Harry stared at her as if she was barmy. "What are you talking about?"

"Well, when you told me you wanted me to be the mother of your children, you said we'd sleep together only when we were trying to have a baby, otherwise I could have a room of my own. So…." Her voice trailed off.

Harry speared his fingers through his messy hair and sighed. "I knew that was going to come back to bite me on the arse," he muttered.

"What's that?" Ginny was openly smirking now.

He rolled his eyes. "Bloody hell, Ginny, I knew as soon as the words left my mouth that there was no way I was going to be able to stay away from you unless you locked your door to me."

Her jaw dropped comically. "You did?"

"Do you not look at yourself in the mirror?" her husband demanded. "Even with five kids, you still look amazing!" He shook his head. "You're my wife, my best friend, and the mother of my children, and even if you weren't gorgeous, you'd still be beautiful because of that.

"There've been times when I've accidentally come across you half naked and thought my heart was going to stop beating because all my blood went south!"

Peals of laughter fell from Ginny's mouth. When she could speak, she admitted, "I did notice a time or two that you were, erm, eager for my company."

"A time or two?" He rolled his eyes again. "All the time! Merlin knows how I would've survived if we didn't have the elves helping us with the babies."

Whilst Ginny's laughter was no longer filling the air, her shoulders were shaking from her chuckles. Abruptly Harry dragged her to him and rolled over on top of her. "You're enjoying this, aren't you?"

Her bright brown eyes blazed up at him as she softly commented, "Not the first part, no." She caressed his stubbly jaw with a gentle hand. "But I've waited a long time for you to tell me how you feel, Harry."

"I love you, Ginny. I need you, and I want you."

She squirmed beneath him. "That latter is rather evident right now."

Harry's head lowered and his lips touched hers tenderly. "Yeah? Are you going to help me out here?"

"I might," she teased.

"There's just one more thing I wanted you to know. The pearls I gave you for our wedding ... I know I told you they were my Mum's, and they were. I just want to make sure you know Cho never wore them. I didn't know why I was reluctant to give them to her … but looking back on it … I just never thought Mum … would've wanted her to have them. After she died, I was glad I didn't let her know about them."

She only nodded, intent now on just one thing … making love with her husband. She pulled his head down for a deeper kiss, and after that the only sounds were murmured words of love.

Afterward, tucked within the circle of his arm, she knew from the change in his breathing when he fully relaxed and fell asleep. A tear trickled down one eye. Damn that bitch, she thought. Harry and I may have married anyway, and under vastly different circumstances. Thinking about what he told her and knowing how badly that had to have hurt him, tears welled up. She put a hand between her cheek and his chest, hoping that it would keep him from knowing she was crying. But if that bitch hadn't died…I'd kill you myself, she told Cho's spirit. And I hope that's the last your name ever crosses our lips or minds!

It was awhile before she was able to fall asleep, and too soon after that Joshua awoke for his midnight feeding. Morning found her bleary-eyed and her eyes drifted shut whilst she rocked and nursed her youngest. Harry slept through most of the morning feeding, stumbling into the nursery after Joshua was more than half done. He pressed a kiss on Ginny's head, unusual for him, and another onto the infant's before dropping heavily into the other rocker.

"Have you changed him yet?" he asked drowsily.

Ginny was fully awake by this time and with amusement in her voice said, "No, he likes your attention and decided to await your presence for the occasion."

Eyes still closed, Harry smirked. "Nice of him. Daddy likes to give him attention but not necessarily that kind." He reached over and picked up her hand. "Thank you for last night…for the sex, of course, but also for… allowing me to spill my guts."

"Thank you for both, too, Harry."

They sat in amicable silence until Joshua finished suckling. Harry picked him out of his mother's arms, burped him, and carried him to the changer where he wiped the traces of milk from the baby's pouting lips and made short work of the soiled diaper. Customarily, Ginny left the two in the nursery and went to wash up and change.

In the family room Bibby was watching over the older boys and her own son and daughter. Ginny circled the table, giving each of the youngsters a hug and her boys a kiss before taking her place. She told Jamie and Jace that they would be working on their maths after breakfast. Fixing a look on Mark, she told him he was going to begin working on his letters. Mark grimaced, but before he could whinge about it she glanced swiftly out the window and promised that after the three boys were finished with their school work they would all go outside. A breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, tomato slices, and toast appeared in front of her and she began to eat, listening to her sons as they talked about what they would do when they finally got to go outside.

Harry entered the dining room and followed Ginny's path around the table, repeating her actions with each of his sons and Jingles' and Bibby's offspring. She thought he would sit then, but he continued on to kiss her mouth. She paused infinitesimally; Harry never gave her any affection outside of their bedroom. She gave him a warm smile around the chewing she doing, and he smiled back.

The noise from the boys increased with the presence of their Daddy, each clamoring for his attention, and he answered them patiently whilst he ate a breakfast identical to Ginny's. After eating, Harry took Jamie and Jace up to the bedroom they insisted on sharing and got them dressed whilst Ginny dressed Mark and Michael. She took them into the nursery long enough to collect a still-sleeping Joshua and they met up with their Daddy and the twins in the school room, converted from the master bedroom on the first floor. Joshua was placed in the cot in that room.

Most of the morning was taken up with lessons. Ginny took Jason and Jamie to a small table and set out the addition problems they would be working on. Mickey played at Ginny's feet. At another table Harry was helping Mark as he recited the alphabet and painstakingly drew the first three letters. Whilst her students were preoccupied with their maths, Ginny glanced over at Mark and had to smile lovingly when she saw his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth. Noticing that the twins were finished with their addition, she looked over their papers. Finding no mistakes, she produced a page of subtraction for them to do. She watched approvingly when Jamie used his fingers on one of the problems.

Twice whilst the boys worked Ginny wandered over to see how Mark was doing. Both times Harry stood to put his arms around her, warmly kissing her. Once, whilst he held her close, he whispered, "I meant what I said last night – I love you." Now that Harry had been open with her about the reason he'd married Cho and what he felt for her, the mother of his children, he seemed as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

By eleven o'clock school work was finished. Ginny had had to excuse herself half an hour earlier when Joshua began fussing. When the baby was done nursing and was burped, changed, and dressed, she put him on her shoulder and walked through the house. Jingle noticed her and piped up helpfully, "Master Harry and the little ones are outside." She thanked him, drew on a jumper, wrapped Joshua in a heavier blanket, and headed outside, too.

Joining Harry, she was about to hand Joshua to him, but he pulled up the lawn chair she wanted automatically. He turned his head in response to a call from Jace and didn't see the eyebrow Ginny lifted at his action. Harry headed off to look at what Jace thought might be a "browntrukkie." Ginny chuckled softly, but Harry only gently corrected the boy and congratulated him on his sharp eyes.

When he rejoined her several minutes later, he summoned a second lawn chair and sat. "The boys need a dog."

A smile played around Ginny's mouth and she answered, "Oh, the boys do? What are you going to do about it?"

He looked at her briefly before turning his attention back to their sons. They both knew that the twins in particular could be up to something within a moment's inattentiveness. "I shall go by a pet store and get one for them."

"As long as it's not a boarhound or a three-headed dog. Or anything similar," she tacked on. "Oh, and as long as the boys are taught by you to take care of it. I've got enough boys to take care of as it is." She smiled to soften the words.

"I've made a note of it," he replied, then called out, "That's far enough up the tree, Jamie. Climb back down now."

Jamie looked at his Daddy with a pout on his face, but when Harry didn't back down, Jamie did.

Soon it was time for lunch so the family trouped inside. It had been on the cool side outdoors, so Winky served up piping hot chicken noodle soup, and after judiciously blowing on the bowlfuls in front of them, the boys tucked in.

At one-thirty Mark and Mickey went down for naps and Jamie and Jace were sent to their room for some quiet time. They knew the drill, knew they had to remain in the room until one of their parents came for them, and went willingly. Uncle Ron had shown them how to play Wizard's chess and they would practice until then.

Harry took his wife's hand and led her to their bedroom. They knew Joshua would be waking in two short hours, or less, and Harry didn't want to waste any time.

Saturday of the following week Harry took the four older boys to Inverness to look for a puppy, though he didn't tell them that was what they were ultimately going to do. He just asked them if they wanted to go for a drive. A ride in the car was a rare enough event that all four boys jumped up and down at the prospect, yelling, "Me, Daddy, take me!"

Harry kissed Ginny goodbye after the boys had done so, telling her with a grin to get some rest because she would need it that night. Before she could follow his advice, Joshua needed nursing and changed, and whilst she rocked the infant she thought about Harry, his confession earlier the previous week, and how he had changed in the telling. He was much more affectionate with her than previously, as evidenced by the warm kiss he bestowed on her before sliding behind the wheel with a wink and driving off. He kissed her hello in the mornings, often kissed her as they passed each other in the house, and touched her much more often, particularly caressing her hair. The change in their lovemaking, for that is truly what Ginny thought of it now, was less defined but still felt. He was much more open with her, too, seeking her out and talking with her at odd times during the day. She found herself falling in love with him all over again – and she enjoyed the feeling. After almost six years of marriage, it was about time.

The boys awoke her when they returned several hours later. There must have been an argument over who would carry the pup because Mickey was toddling into the bedroom whilst Harry had the newest family member in his arms. The dog was black with white markings and very fluffy.

"It's a boy," Harry told her, smiling, "because we only have boys in our family." Before she could protest, he added, "Not including Mummy, who is a girl but a grown-up girl."

"Ah," she replied.

They had not yet picked out a name for the puppy, but each of the boys would suggest a name and there would be a vote. If there wasn't a clear winner, the names would go in a hat and the one that came out of it would be the name of the puppy. Jace piped up that 'Mummy and Daddy aren't allowed to vote,' and Jamie clarified that they couldn't suggest a name, either.

Ginny replied with "Oh," hiding her grin. Somehow the pup ended up being named Padfoot. Ginny shot Harry a sly look whilst he tried to appear innocent.

"What?" he asked. "I just mentioned in the car that I once knew an amazing dog named Padfoot," and she laughed.

Joshua was almost three when the newest son, their sixth, David Andrew was born on third May. Ginny's parents and brothers had begun to think the Potter family was complete when she and Harry announced her pregnancy and were surprised. As soon as Ginny began nursing dark-haired David, Harry thanked her for their newest son and all of their sons.

To her surprise the twins seemed almost bored with the news that they had another brother, and Jace asked if they were ever going to have a sister. Harry, hearing the comment, told them that he and their Mum never specified what the baby would be when they asked for another and was told by Jamie, "Well, you should." Both of his parents laughed and Harry said he would take it "under advisement."

When David was ten months old Ginny realized she was again pregnant. Her brothers wondered aloud whether she and Harry knew what caused babies.

"I'm pretty sure we do," she retorted.

Harry gave his brothers-in-law a sly smile. "What can I say? She's insatiable," and the six brothers mimed gagging and retching. When they calmed down Ginny stuck out her tongue at Harry. "Later, Sweetheart," he commented, which set her siblings off again.

Five months before their tenth anniversary, Harry found Ginny in the room she had claimed as her "get-away room." When she was there Harry seldom joined her unless there was a problem with one or another of their sons, so at first she was concerned.

"Everyone's fine," he told her, allaying her fears. "I was just thinking, though … October is our tenth anniversary. Would you like to renew our vows?"

She blinked, not knowing why he would ask. "We are legally married, right?"

"Yes," he nodded, "but … I wasn't in a very good place when we originally said our vows. I think I'd like to do it over, do it the way it should be done. I love you, Ginny."

She stared at him a long moment, gobsmacked that he would want to do this, before standing up and hurrying into his embrace. "Yes, I would like that," she confessed after giving him a hot kiss. "I love you, too, Harry. I always have."

Harry hauled her back in for another, longer, but just as heated kiss. "Shall we meet in the master's sanctuary after the little monsters are in bed?" He wiggled his eyebrows at her.

She giggled. "That would be wonderful."

When they discussed the idea more fully the next morning, they agreed to write their own vows, and Harry told her that since he went first when they married she should go first at the renewal.

They renewed their vows the same place they originally exchanged them, but outside in order to accommodate everyone. Fortunately, it was a lovely day; there was a marquee to stand in, and the generous use of warming charms kept everyone warm enough that only the youngest needed jackets, and that because they kept running in and out of the tent. Besides Ginny's expanded family, their own children, Neville, his wife Hannah, and their three children, Andromeda Tonks and Teddy, they invited Professor McGonagall, Hagrid, Professor Flitwick, Seamus and Lavender, Dean and Padma, Parvati Patel, Oliver and Katie, Darcy, and a few others from St. Mungo's with whom Ginny had kept in touch.

Though she would have loved to wear the gown in which she was married, being seven months pregnant made that impossible. Instead she wore an elegant maternity gown that reached to her ankles and 'sensible' shoes whilst eschewing a tiara and veil. As before, she carried a bouquet of white peonies and dahlias. Harry was dressed as at their wedding in a white shirt, red and gold striped tie, and black trousers beneath ebony formal robes. Her breath caught when she joined him at the front of the marquee; at thirty he had only grown more attractive and sexier. When he looked at her she could see the love warm in his eyes as well as desire for her. He took her hand in his and squeezed gently.

Kingsley Shacklebolt, the Minister of Magic, presided at the renewal of vows since it wasn't an actual wedding. He welcomed the guests on Harry and Ginny's behalf, starting the ceremony with a prayer over them. Then he said, "Ginny?"

Harry took her other hand in his, too, as they faced each other.

"Harry, I have loved you for a very long time. When you asked me to marry you ten years ago, it was like a dream come true. You've always treated me with respect and kindness and most of all love. You've given me six beautiful sons and been a much better, more loving father than you realize. We have created a family, a home, and a life together, and I believe in this marriage now more than ever.

"I love you with every breath I take and wouldn't trade a single one of those years for all the gold in Gringotts. I will love you until my dying day and through eternity – for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. Thank you for asking me to be your wife. Thank you for suggesting we renew our vows." Having finished, Ginny looked at Kingsley to let him know.

"Harry?" Kingsley prompted.

"Ginny, when we married ten years ago, I was not in a good place. You knew it, but that didn't stop you from marrying me. You have dealt with my nightmares, and treated me with more respect than I deserved. You have borne me six wonderful sons, are pregnant with our seventh child, and have been the best mother for all these little boys. You have loved me for better or for worse, in sickness or in health' when I didn't think anyone could or would." He let go of one of her hands to wipe away a tear sliding down her cheek even though she was smiling. "I love you more than I could ever imagine loving anyone, and each night before I fall asleep I find to my surprise that I love you even more than I did when I awoke that morning.

"I will love you until my dying day and through eternity – for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health. Thank you for taking a chance on me."

By the time Harry finished his vows tears were streaming from Ginny's eyes and her hands were shaking in his. He gently pulled her into his arms and tenderly kissed her, resting his forehead on hers afterward. Both of them jumped slightly when their guests applauded them. Ginny blushed a little while Harry grinned widely.

"If everyone would please move out from under the marquee," Kingsley instructed, "we will change the setting from a gallery to a dining area."

Winky and Bibby had spent a good deal of time at the Burrow the week prior, helping Molly prepare enough food for a buffet, and it included several crown roasts of lamb, roast beasts, and hams, potatoes prepared three different ways, asparagus, corn pudding, artichokes, cauliflower, yellow squash casserole, sweet potato casserole, and broccoli, a variety of breads, a three-tier cake, treacle tarts, sugar biscuits, apple pies, and rhubarb pies.

After everyone was finished eating, the tables were Banished, the chairs pushed to the sides of the marquee, and the Barking Banshees set up their instruments on a raised platform and began to play. Their first song, to Ginny's surprise, was a waltz; Harry led her onto the dance floor and into elegant circuits. He held her eyes the whole number, his hand caressing her back as he murmured to her of his love, devotion, and desire for her. She whispered the same in return. When the music came to an end, he kissed her again, leisurely, until Ron yelled out, "Oi! There are little eyes here!" Their guests laughed good-naturedly, and Harry escorted Ginny to seats that were designated for them.

From then until the evening was over the band played and sang songs popularized by The Weird Sisters, Norwegian Ridgebacks, Witches of Eastwood, and even Celestina Warbeck. Though their six sons were at the renewal ceremony, they were under the watchful eyes of Jingle and Bibby, allowing Harry and Ginny to relax, chat with guests, and dance when they wished. Most of the dances they enjoyed were ballads, enabling Harry to hold Ginny closely in his arms.

Andromeda Tonks had volunteered beforehand to keep the twins overnight; Bill and Fleur were taking Mark and Mickey, and Joshua and David were staying with their grandparents. The two youngest were settled in cots by eight o'clock and despite the noise of the band and guests fell asleep pretty quickly. As prearranged, Harry and Ginny slipped away at half eight for a romantic overnight getaway.

On thirty-first December, just before the calendar changed to the year 2012, Ginny gave birth to their seventh son, Stephen Matthew, their third redhead. Harry again was with her through her whole labor and delivery, Ginny sitting between his spread legs so she could lean on him, and he even cut the umbilical cord. He took the infant to the changing table and cleaned him up, put a nappy and sacque on him, and returned him to his mother so he could nurse.

Harry sat on the bed next to Ginny, his arm around her and his free hand absently playing with her still-long hair, wet and disheveled as it was, while he watched Stephen nurse. When the baby finished, he fetched Molly and Arthur, who visited the exhausted mother and sleeping infant for perhaps ten minutes. Then they went to their guest room and turned in so they could get up when the six other Potter children awoke on New Year's Day.

At nine years old, twins Jamie and Jace took their newest sibling in stride, telling their parents diffidently that they would help them – and grandparents – with their younger brothers. To Harry and Ginny's surprise, they did help, getting Joshie and David dressed in the morning and overseeing Mark and Mickey as they dressed themselves.

Mark and Mickey had seen enough baby brothers that they seemed unfazed by Stephen's arrival, but Josh and David were very excited to have a brother, or in Josh's case another, younger than them. It didn't take long for the family of eight to assimilate the ninth member.

When Stephen was five weeks old Ginny was given the okay to resume sexual relations, and as soon as she put the Contraceptive charm on herself that night they did.

Three months after Stephen's birth, whilst Harry held Ginny close after unhurried lovemaking, he brought up the size of their family.

"You know, when Josh was still practically a newborn, I told you I wouldn't ask for any more children, but here we are, with another. That's enough, yeah?"

"You don't want any more children?" she questioned.

"I don't want to ask any more of you," he responded, nuzzling her hair.

"That's not what I asked."

"Ginny, I love our family. It seems like asking for anything more would be greedy of me."

She just looked up at him.

Harry rolled his eyes. "Look, if somehow you become pregnant again, so be it. I'm just saying that I'm satisfied with our brood."

"Okay," she replied, settling back into his embrace.

Ginny really wanted a daughter, even knowing that she and her mother had butted heads throughout her growing years and were still butting heads on occasion. She had taken over responsibility for the casting of the Contraceptive charm, and when Stephen was nine months old, she stopped casting it without Harry's knowledge. On the night she was sure she'd ovulated she woke her husband several hours after having made love and seduced him. She was quite happy when the first episode of morning sickness hit her and felt sure that this baby would be a girl.

After four consecutive days of morning sickness, Harry waited until she was resting in their bed to ask, "Sweetheart, do you think you might be pregnant?"

"I hope so," she replied cheekily.

"You do?" He was quite surprised.

She shrugged. "I wouldn't mind having a daughter. Everyone else has one."

"If everyone else gave birth to a dragon would you want to?"

"No, silly," she answered laughing. "But I would like to have a daughter."

"All right." After a minute's pause he added, "But if your brothers say anything, I'm pinning the blame on you."

Ginny laughed and pulled Harry in for a kiss. "Admit it, we make beautiful babies."

He looked at her in puzzlement. "What's that got to do with it?"

She shrugged again. "Just thought I'd point it out."

At the end of her first trimester, Ginny and Harry were given the news that she was carrying her second set of twins. Ginny chewed on her bottom lip. "I sure hope they're girls, then. Hopefully that way they'll be less likely to be a matched set to Jamie and Jace."

It was Harry's turn to laugh. "How likely do you think that is?" He closed the distance between their mouths and claimed her lips again in a longer, more satisfying if arousing kiss whilst his hands roamed over her breasts. "They do feel larger," he admitted at the end of their kiss.

"And tender," she informed him.

"I'm sorry, Sweet, but you know it's not my fault."

"Maybe, maybe not, depends on whether we're considering your irresistible arse." They grinned at each other.

Their twin daughters arrived mid-day sixth June, a delicate set of redheads. They were named Lily Ginevra after their paternal grandmother and their mother, and Elizabeth Molly, after Arthur's mother and their maternal grandmother. Jace and Jamie were delighted to finally have "little sisters"; Mark, Mickey, and Josh weren't sure what all the fuss was about, and David and Stephen in particular were too young to care.

When Veronica left and Ginny was nursing the small twin girls, Harry leaned over to give his wife a closed-mouth, lingering kiss. "Thank you, Ginny. I never knew it could be so wonderful being the father of two little girls." He smiled his lopsided smile. "You were right."

"I always am," she replied cheekily if tiredly.

"Now that we have the girls, we're through, right?"

"I don't know. Didn't Trelawney predict you'd have a dozen children?"

Harry snorted. "She wasn't always right. In fact, she was only right twice that I know of."

"Well, we'll see."

In fact, they had three more boys. When the pregnancy resulting in Liam was announced, Jamie and Jace, now thirteen and attending Hogwarts, groaned. "Don't you two know what causes babies?" Jamie rashly asked.

Harry fixed a glare on his oldest son. "Yes, we do. That's why you and your twin were born in the first place." Then, to embarrass both boys, he added cheerfully, "It's a lot of fun making babies."

To their parents' amusement both of them looked mortified. "Oh, gross," Jamie commented sourly.

"Dad!" Jace complained, drawing out the name. At his mother's delighted laughter, he included her in his protest.

Liam Harry was born 10 September 2016, Alexander Blair born Valentine's Day, 2018, and Nicholas Wayne, born 8 July 2019. All three of them were surprises.

AN: And that's it for this story. Thank you so very much to my beta, Gryffindormischief, for her invaluable help in getting Just the Mother of His Children ready to be posted! Thanks also to all who reviewed, followed, and favorited. You all made this first experience as a 'published' author so much fun and exciting. And my thanks would be incomplete without thanking JK Rowling for her original story and allowing us to put our own spins on it.