Harry groaned and rolled smoothly out of bed and onto his feet. Going by rote more than anything else - he certainly wasn't awake and his well-loved and sated body was bitterly protesting any movement at all - he dragged on his glasses, slippers and a dressing gown, heading to the nursery to shush the crying baby.
Edwina sniffled at him and he slid his hands beneath her, lifting her to his shoulder and humming under his breath as one hand checked her nappy and the other held her securely to his chest. She was still dry and he rocked on the spot, squinting blearily at his sons, who were still asleep. His partner had dragged him up to bed last night - once they'd recovered from his little distraction on the dining room chair and they'd spent a long time on bed play, just touching and tasting to their hearts content. Fatherhood had cut their sex lives dramatically, and there were times Harry wished he could shag Ron stupid all weekend and not have to worry about any other responsibility.
Then one of his children would smile or coo at him and his heart would melt, berating him for his selfish wishes. Edwina's little hands were clutching his dressing gown and she calmed a little. Of the three, she seemed to want the most attention from her fathers. He just knew that she was responsible for the most of the kicking he'd experienced while carrying them, as her arms and legs wind milled quite wildly when she was first put down.
"Winnie?" Ron's sleep blurred voice sounded in the doorway and Harry grunted an affirmative. His partner came up behind him and slid his arms around his waist, rocking in time with them. The sun had only just come up, so it was about their usual waking time. Training would not begin with the Aurors until the children were six months old, and the Department of Accidental Magic Reversal was happy to call on them only in an emergency until the Auror training was done.
"You might want to start their morning bottles," Harry said reluctantly, enjoying the cuddle as much as his daughter was, "The boys will be awake soon."
Ron sighed but kissed his neck and let go obediently. He reached around and took Edwina from Harry's arms, settling her with the same practiced pat the green-eyed man had seen his mother-in-law use. It always brought a grin to Harry's face to see his spouse use the same gestures and routines that his mother had doubtless used on him.
"I'll take her down with me - why don't you use the time to clean up and dress. We can trade off on the feeding and be ready to go to Mum's for breakfast," Ron smiled and leaned in for a good-morning-lover kiss. They were accustomed to trading off on the chores so they could tend their needs as well as the children's, and Harry was glad that the friendship that they'd bargained over in school was standing them in good stead now.
Half an hour later Harry was shaved, washed and dressed and heading in to pick up Lawrence who had just announced his return from the land of nod. One nappy change later, Harry was walking quickly down the stairs to where Ron was singing to Edwina while he fed her the morning bottle.
"Do we need to send the Christmas presents on?" Ron stopped singing, holding up his free arm for his son. Harry deposited the baby and Summoned a bottle for his partner, smiling at the very domestic scene. The house wards announced that Timothy was also waking, and he was thankful their children had woken one at a time this morning. When all three woke at once, it tended to be a bit of a scramble.
"I did that last night, before we shagged each other stupid," Harry grinned and leaned over for a quick peck on the lips, "Merry Christmas, Ron."
"Merry Christmas, Harry," Ron smiled, "Now get back upstairs - our son is waiting."
Harry chuckled and jogged lightly up the stairs again. If anyone had said to him that this would be his life - bickering with a spouse over children and household at the age of eighteen - he'd have sent them to the secure ward of St Mungo's for prolonged rest and observation. Now, he wouldn't swap it for all the gold in the world.
An hour later Ron and the babies were washed and dressed, ready to travel to the Burrow for the traditional Christmas breakfast. Harry had offered to have the whole family at the Field for Christmas, thinking that the babies would be less bother to his in-laws with the Nursery on hand. Molly had been horrified at the idea that he would have to cater for her 'great galumphing horde' as well as cater for Christmas day, and had insisted that they come home. Harry had agreed on the condition that he be allowed to send on some puddings, jars of their own preserved fruit and some of his weekly baking to ease her burden, knowing full well that she would want to spend as much time with her grandchildren as possible.
He made sure the babies were warm and snug in the basket they used whenever they were Apparating with them and picked up several of the bags that always travelled with them. Nappies and bottles and toys and changes of clothes and favourite blankets… Harry shook his head, remembering the time when he and Ron travelled with only the contents of their pockets.
Ron smiled down at his children, so proud and happy that Harry had to blink to clear his vision. His partner took the other bags and put his hands on the handle, overlapping their fingers. They had learned to Apparate the children together, using the bond to ensure the five of them got where they were going safely.
"Ready?" Harry grinned, and Ron nodded, leaning in for a quick kiss. The bond hummed and they were gone.
Ron reached over and opened the kitchen door, ushering his spouse and children in quickly. The crisp air in the Burrow's yard was refreshing, but he didn't want to deal with three colds because he'd tarried outside. He heard his mother welcome them and stepped into the warmth, shutting the door and gladly dropping his selection of bags by the nearest cupboard, waiting until the basket Harry carried was empty before relieving the green eyed man of his burdens as well. The twins each had a nephew, and Ginny had her niece, leaving his parents and older brothers free to welcome him and Harry.
Percy introduced his girlfriend rather stiffly to them both, even though they both remembered the former Ravenclaw Prefect, Penelope Clearwater. Ron was impressed that she'd put up with his stuffy older brother for so long, and caught a similar look on Harry's face. Charlie and Bill thumped them both soundly on the back and put in their bids for equal time with the babies, finally vowing to have their 'turn' after breakfast.
"You two must be starving, sit down!" his mother shooed them towards the table and Ron settled beside George, with Harry next to Ginny. They'd split up in order to be near their children - just in case - and he caught his father's approving smile. Ron had worried that he'd drive Harry nuts with his protective urges, but had soon discovered that Harry was also a bit overprotective. His spouse had joked that by their fifth or sixth child they'd probably have calmed down a little.
"Now, they're not your babies at all today," Molly settled beside her husband, "We all agreed last night that you two would have a bit of a rest today and we'd take care of your children."
"Only on the condition that you let me help you cook," Harry said immediately and Ron smothered a grin. His Harry was a devious sod, he'd give him that. Molly looked like she was going to protest, but Arthur gave her a swift look and she gave in reluctantly.
"Can you cook, Harry?" Fred asked lightly, and Harry beamed at him in a fashion that had Ron cringing a little in reaction. That was a very naughty look.
"You'll see," he promised in a sinister voice that had the table laughing in seconds. In fact, Harry was an excellent cook, and Ron had learned to stay out of his kitchen. Breakfast was a lively affair, though the twins and Ginny had a hard time eating with only one hand. The triplets were very energetic this morning, probably in response to the atmosphere around them.
Once the meal was finished the twins and Ginny were sent off to do the washing up, and Bill and Charlie had their 'turn' with Edwina and Lawrence, while Penelope played with Timothy. Percy had yet to pick up any of his nephews or niece, and hadn't even come to visit when they were born. Arthur had said to Ron privately that his brother was still upset over the whole thing with Fudge, and rather embarrassed as well. His older brother had sent a very nice set of storybooks three days after the birth, but had begged off the formal introduction of the triplets to the Weasley clan. Ron could see that Harry was still a little upset over all this, and made a mental note to reassure his partner that the rejection was not caused by anything Harry had done.
Edwina had begun to fuss by the time the family moved to the front room and Harry curled up in what Ron was rapidly coming to view as their 'spot' on the floor with her in his lap. They made such a beautiful sight that Ron felt his face break into yet another sappy grin before he settled beside his spouse and first-born child. He snaked an arm around a supple waist and added his voice to Harry's humming the lullaby - a Muggle song in point of fact - that soothed her the best.
There was a flash and Ron blinked to clear away the after images. His father simply grinned and Harry chuckled a little under his breath. The camera had been in evidence a lot more at family gatherings as Molly and Arthur started on their collection of grandchildren pictures. The family book that Harry had given Ron for Valentines day had also been added to - the first pictures of the children being held by each father in there, and three new albums started to keep a record of the Trio as they grew. Molly sat on the couch and Arthur joined her with the family tin. He shook it and she stuck her hand in as they did every year for as long as Ron could remember, pulling out a card decorated with brooms and snitches.
"Harry, dear, you're Santa," Molly smiled and Harry kissed his daughter on the forehead before passing her over to her grandmother. Ron hitched his knees up and grinned as the twins made Harry put on one of their trick hats from the store, one that flashed and sang 'Jingle Bells' in a high pitched and annoying voice. Harry's patience had been tried and tested by the twins from the moment they'd met him, and Ron hoped that the practice both partners had with Fred and George would last when faced with the Trio's pranks and japes.
"Did you see Shacklebolt's face?" Ron crowed as Harry Disapparated beside him, "I thought he was going to wet himself!"
"Well, he did think that he had you in a dead lock there, what with me being busy on the other side of the room with those four friends of his," Harry chuckled and leaned in to peck his proud man on the lips. Ron was finding the Auror training highly stimulating. The Aurors had a hard time understanding that just because one of them was terribly busy with something else didn't mean the bond wasn't there to support the other. Harry had been working on the protegah charm with four of the Aurors assigned to their task force, and Shacklebolt had been duelling with Ron. Harry had been repelling hexes to demonstrate the shield while Tonks cast for him, and talking the other two through the use of the spell, as Ron had lost his wand to the expelliarmus charm. The bond had snapped to life and Ron had recovered his wand, taken Shacklebolt's and warded off several quick hexes in the space of seconds. Harry hadn't even faltered in his instructions.
"That ought to show him," Ron leaned in for a deeper kiss, and his eyes promised Harry a lot more once they'd recovered the children from their grandmother and gone home. Harry chuckled again and reached out, knocking lightly on the door - a habit he had yet to break - before opening it and stepping inside.
"We're in the front room Harry dear!" Molly called, and he heard Ron snort in amusement. None of her other children - even the ones who had left home - bothered to knock when they came home. Harry moved quickly through the kitchen and around the huge hearth, smiling when Edwina greeted him with a squeal. At five months, the Trio were crawling already, and had a habit of pouncing on their father's feet the moment they spotted them after a day apart.
"Hello Winnie," Harry scooped her up and kissed her on the cheek, handing her to Ron and turning to smile at Molly, "Did you have a good day, mum?"
"I did, they were as wonderful as always," Molly beamed and Harry grinned, bending to scoop Lawrence up for a quick hello kiss. Edwina was on the floor again already, crawling back towards the ball she'd been chasing when they'd arrived. Timothy was their slowest mover, which meant that he'd be the biggest troublemaker according to Fred. Harry had asked if he was speaking from personal experience and left the twin laughing.
"We really appreciate this you know," Harry went to kiss her hello as well, and she smiled at him fondly, "We're lucky to have you."
"I'm lucky that you're happy to let me take them for you instead of hiring a nanny or something," she replied, "I'm well aware that you could afford to."
"My children will be raised by family, not strangers," Harry said firmly, and Ron added his support to that sentiment, watching their Trio dispute ownership of the soft felt ball that Edwina had now retrieved. They had made firm plans for the babies should anything happen to destroy the partners. The Trio would not go to Muggles to be raised, no matter what happened.
"Harry," Molly pulled an envelope out of her apron and tapped it nervously on her fingers, "Professor McGonagal sent this on from Hogwarts for you this morning. I think it's from your cousin, the Muggle."
"Oh?" Ron walked over to retrieve the letter, opening it and pulling the paper inside out, moving with the assured knowledge that what he was doing had Harry's blessing. Harry didn't have any secrets from Ron - not when it came to the everyday things. He could still manage to surprise his spouse when he wanted to.
"She sent it here so that…" Molly trailed off and Harry smiled. Minerva McGonagal had been a strictly fair teacher, one that he would respect and admire for the rest of his life, but under the strict exterior was a very warm and caring woman, one who watched over the welfare of her students with a very intelligent eye. He knew that she had sent the letter here so that Harry had family with him while he opened it.
"It's ok, mum," Harry reassured her, "So I guess Dudley sent the letter care of the school through Muggle post?"
"That's right, dear. The owl post has an arrangement with the Muggle post for the Muggle borns and the businesses that work in both worlds," Molly confirmed and Ron shook his head, handing the letter over to Harry and plopping himself on the floor to play with his children. Harry came to sit next to his mother-in-law, tilting the letter so that she could read it too. When he was done he folded the letter away and smiled at Ron. The redhead was on his back with the babies climbing unsteadily all over him, jabbering away in their own version of speech. He and Ron understood them perfectly, though the rest of the family were often stumped.
"This is going to be interesting. They don't even know I'm gay, let alone married with children," Harry told him, "I really don't see the five of us popping in to visit them as Dudley suggests."
"So write him a letter," Ron fished Lawrence's hand out of his mouth, kissed it and caught Timothy as the baby slid off his shoulder. Edwina was trying to climb up on his leg, pushing herself so she was almost standing. The protective robes that they wore when training with the Aurors were similar in style to their Quidditch uniforms and just as brightly coloured, hence the children's fascinated grip on him. The uniform had the added bonus of protecting the wearer with several cushioning spells, so Timothy's unfortunate slip on Ron's stomach didn't do more than make him grin.
"The thing is, if Aunt Petunia honestly wants to see me…" Harry sighed, "I know they won't approve, and I know they won't understand, but I at least owe them the courtesy of listening to whatever they have to say."
"Ok," Ron heaved a sigh, which delighted Lawrence, who stuck his hand back in his father's mouth. Ron choked, fished it out and Harry bent down to take his son away, pulling him into his lap and jiggling a knee gently. The baby laughed and clapped his hands, earning the smiles of the adults around him in response.
"But I'm coming with you, and no arguments," Ron's tone was no nonsense and Harry nodded, bending to tickle Lawrence lightly, hiding his trepidation from his spouse.
In the end, Harry had walked to a Muggle phone box - Dudley had sent their number in the letter - and called his cousin, making arrangements to see them in London. Ron had argued that the babies should stay at the Burrow, Harry had argued that he wasn't ashamed of his children and they should see the only members of his family at least once in their lives; preferably now when they'd be unlikely to remember any unpleasantness. Ron's mother had backed Harry up and Ron had given in reluctantly.
Directions had been given to the Muggle Street that housed the Leaky Cauldron, and Harry had appointed a Muggle café as their meeting place. Ron had let his partner kiss the temper off his face before they left and had made a personal vow to be nothing but supportive and quiet during this meeting.
Petunia Dursley had gained some needed weight in the Muggle hospice, and Dudley had lost some as well. Their babies were too big to be carried in a basket now, and Ron had Lawrence and Edwina in the twins' old double pram, while Harry carried Timothy on his hip. Timothy did not ride well in prams - he had a tendency to fuss and cry constantly, which meant that one of his fathers carried him in turn about. Edwina and Lawrence loved riding, and the motion often sent them to sleep.
"Harry!" Dudley smiled, waved them over to the table, his eyes widening as he caught sight of the babies and Ron. Ron had argued that if Harry was going to tell the Muggles everything then they might as well see the children up front, and if things were looking skanky then Ron could take their children away. Harry had agreed, and Ron was relieved, as he watched the Muggle woman that had raised Harry take in the children and realise right away what was going on. The expression on her face was not particularly welcoming.
"Who's this?" Dudley asked, reaching out a hand to Timothy. Ron bristled and Harry put his hand protectively over Timothy's back to prevent the touch. Dudley's hand dropped, sadness washing over his face. His mother tugged him to sit down again at the table, and Ron and Harry took a moment to get the pram situated safely before sitting down as well. Timothy was clutching Harry's leather jacket with one hand, looking over at the strangers with big eyes.
"My son, Timothy Potter," Harry answered the question steadily, "His brother Lawrence and his sister Edwina."
"You got married?" Dudley asked innocently and Ron leaned over to take Harry's hand, making sure that the rings caught the other mans eye.
"We did," Ron confirmed, "And the children are ours, naturally."
Petunia Dursley looked as if someone had just dumped a load of rancid dragon dung in her lap, and Ron was proud to watch Harry meet her eyes with pride and a little defiance. Dudley gaped, picking up the meaning of the world 'naturally' straight away. His term at Hogwarts had taught him a little more about the world that Harry lived in and the power behind it. That experience might actually make things easier for Harry now, or so Ron was hoping.
"I… didn't know that was possible," was the neutral comment, and Ron nodded. Timothy crowed and waved a hand for attention, sensing that his father was upset. Harry glanced at his watch and reached for the bag with the bottles on the back.
"Uh… may I help you?" Dudley's offer was surprising, and Ron left the decision to his spouse. If he felt that Dudley could be trusted with one of their children then Ron would allow it, though the bond would be on standby from the first moment he touched their child.
"That's ok, they're a little fussy around strangers," Harry smiled easily, and they were interrupted by the waiter. A quick glance around, and Ron ordered tea and sandwiches for the two of them, waited while Petunia and Dursley placed their order and then fished Edwina out of the pram for her bottle. Lawrence was still asleep, and that gave them a little breathing room when it came to feeding the Trio.
"Well," Petunia's tone was waspish to say the least, and Harry tensed. Ron hit the woman with a glare of his own and watched it bounce right off her, like a spell off their shield, "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that you turned out as unnatural as your mother."
Ron felt his gut clench in dread and opened his mouth to shoot her down, hesitating and glancing down at his daughter. That moment of hesitation allowed Harry to speak instead, his voice low and calm, pleasant to listen to though the words were not.
"I finally figured you out, Aunt. Your sister and you must have competed pretty fiercely when you were children - the little that I've been able to learn about my mother tells me that she was a competitive person. And when she got her letter to go to school she had finally managed to out compete you in an area that you would never be able to catch up. I don't know why it is that grandmother and grandfather allowed this to continue, but… never mind," Harry shook his head and smiled at the woman sitting opposite while Ron smiled at him in pride. His Harry was finally taking a stand, something that would have been impossible two years ago.
"Then I was delivered to your front door step, and you not only learn that your sister has been killed, but that you are expected to raise her son. I can only imagine your triumph. You finally had the perfect means to get your revenge by making sure that I had no way to compete with your own son - until of course, you realised that one day, I too would go to a school that would teach me to do things that Dudley would never be able to manage. Hence the hate that you poured all over me that last summer we spent together. The irony of it is, that if I had been treated well, and accustomed to spending the holidays at home with you there may have been something I could do for you when you were attacked."
Petunia went a nasty shade of white and Dudley bit his lip. Ron could see that the Muggle teen clearly regretted his own part in Harry's mistreatment, though that regret would never begin to satisfy Ron. His partner had endured abuse at the hands of those that should have treated him fairly at the very least.
"Now, I don't want to hear whatever hateful things you have to say about me and mine," Harry said softly, persuasively, "I came to see you because you requested it. But if you think that I am for one moment interested in listening to another outburst of your prejudice and lies then you may as well leave now."
"I suppose you think I should apologise," Petunia snarled through stiff lips and Harry smiled, shaking his head as he burped Timothy. Ron put Edwina in the pram and took Timothy from his spouse as Lawrence woke and cooed for attention. Harry picked the boy up and fished out another bottle, warming it with a quick charm muttered under his breath.
"I do," Ron confirmed, startling the Muggles, who blinked at him as if he had just appeared out of thin air, "But I know that's too much to hope for. You won't apologise because you don't think you did anything wrong. He doesn't want an apology, though, because he's soft in the head."
"Thanks, pet," green eyes crackled at him across the head of their child, and Ron shrugged. Harry sighed, but before he could speak again, Dudley spoke up.
"I'm sorry," his voice was soft, but clear, "I'm sorry that I treated you the way I did. I should have treated you better, no matter what mum and dad thought of you."
Ron smiled, pleased that at least one of them was willing to own up to their mistakes. The waiter arrived with their food and Petunia stood up, glowering at her son and stalking out of the café wordlessly. Dudley sighed and got up too. The waiter watched with fascinated eyes until Ron cleared his throat, recalling the man to his task of placing the food on the table.
"I'd better get after her," he hesitated, "Will you… I'd like to stay in touch… maybe we could write each other?"
"Sure," Harry nodded, looking a bit weary; "I'll send Hedwig to your address in a few weeks. She'll wait for your reply."
"Ok," Dudley nodded, put a few notes of Muggle money on the table and hurried after his mother. Ron reached over and caressed Harry's fingers.
/are you ok//
/I am/ Harry's smile confirmed that sentiment /it needed to be said, Ron, and I'm glad I did. If all that comes out of this is that Dudley and I get to know each other as people instead of enemies then I'm more than happy/
Ron nodded and looked at the people around them surreptitiously. There were one or two people looking at their joined hands curiously, but on the whole there was no real censure for their touch. He smiled and looked back at Harry.
/so here's the plan/ he told his partner with a smile /we finish our sandwiches, drop the Trio off at Mums for the afternoon and go home to release some… tension/
Harry's smouldering look more than indicated his approval of that idea.
The tingle of the house wards across his skin woke Harry and he lifted his head from his pillow cautiously. There was someone in the kitchen, though the house recognised that they had authority to be there. Ron was dead to the world and snoring happily in Harry's ear and his fingers caressed his partners to get him to let go. Harry put on his glasses, collected his wand and shoved his feet into slippers, padding quietly out to the top of the stairs. He sealed the hallway behind him, drawing a wall across the top of the stairs and protecting his family. Mad Eye Moody's refrain of 'constant vigilance' had never let him down yet - it was better to be safe than sorry.
Wand at the ready he moved silently down to the first floor and then sealed that behind him as well as he ghosted down the kitchen stairs. George sat slumped in the armchair they'd placed in the kitchen. Ron liked to read there while Harry cooked, and later it had become very useful to sit in whilst feeding a baby. Harry lit the candles in the kitchen with a wave of his wand and George jumped in surprise.
"Hello George," Harry said quietly. Satisfied that it was his brother-in-law and that there was no malevolent influence at work, Harry put the kettle on for tea and went to lean on the counter nearest his friend.
"Hullo Harry," George said dully. From the smell he'd been drinking heavily, and his hands were shaking badly as well, "Wassup? Can't sleep?"
"No," Harry shook his head, disguising his amusement easily, "I thought I'd have some tea. Would you like a cup?"
"Ssssure," George nodded. Harry got out the mugs and teapot, glancing back at the redhead. He was still nodding, his eyes staring vacantly ahead. Whatever had happened to him tonight had shaken him up a great deal. There was no blood, and none of the jangle that Harry had come to associate with the shield spells. He reached out with the bond lightly to touch the amulet at George's neck and felt no sense of past peril or pain. Harry brewed the tea, made sure that George's cup had an anti-spill spell on it - one that they'd learned to use for the Trio and their first attempts at feeding themselves - and handed George's over.
"So, what have you been up to lately?" Harry prodded gently, sitting on the kitchen floor and sipping his tea. George stopped nodding and tracked his eyes blearily to Harry's face.
"The shop is doing really well, Harry, really it is," George mumbled, "Did we ever thank you for the starter money? We could probably pay you back by now, it's doing that well, really."
"I don't want to be paid back," Harry reminded him. As far as he was concerned that was blood money, tainted by Cedric's death. He'd always thought that Cedric would approve of the use the prize money had been put to; the Hufflepuff Quidditch player had enjoyed Fred and George's pranks and larks.
"Are you sssure?" George squinted at him, "It would be no trouble www-what so ever…"
"I'm sure," Harry promised, "How's Fred?"
He'd decided to prod things along a little. It was very rare to see one twin without the other somewhere nearby, and if they'd had some kind of falling out, then it was always possible that George had decided to get out of the flat they shared for a while rather than continue the row. Fred was the feisty one, George had the cunning. Between them they made a remarkable pair, certainly not a team to go against, as Professor Umbridge discovered.
"He's getting married," George gulped at the lukewarm tea in his mug and gagged a little on it. Harry got up and patted him on the back, taking the tea away and sitting on the arm of the chair. The house wards tingled again and he looked up in time to see Ron remove the barrier at the top of the stairs, squinting down them suspiciously. He frowned and then retreated into the shadows at Harry's gesture, giving his partner tacit permission to deal with this for now.
"Who's he marrying?" Harry asked, putting a hand on George's shoulder. The shoulder shrugged miserably, and its owner blew out a miserable sigh. There was a shift in the shadows as Ron jumped in surprise at their words.
"We've been d-dating this girl the last year or so - never introduced her to mum or dad. I thought that they w-w-w-were just friends - the three of us went out a lot," George swallowed a sob and bunched his fists in his lap, "Me and Fred, we've been t-t-together all our lives, and now he's dumping me for this g-g-girl."
"Oh George," Harry rubbed the bony shoulder his hand was resting on and wondered how to deal with this. Fred had obviously made his announcement and George had headed for the nearest pub. Someone Apparated upstairs and Harry saw Ron whisk away to find out who it was. George was sniffling a little and Harry looked to see if he could spot a hanky anywhere - they'd been doing the laundry this morning.
"George!" Fred's voice was unmistakable, and unfortunately too loud. The nursery wards announced that Edwina and Timothy had woken. Fred came roaring down the stairs and Harry got up, heading for the nursery, Ron a few steps ahead of him. There were a few shouts below, but Ron sealed the door with a silence spell and Harry picked up his daughter.
"Bloody hell," Ron muttered, and Harry nodded in agreement. He turned his attention to soothing the baby in his arms. They'd ensure the silence spell stayed on the door until they knew for a fact that the twins had finished their row.
There was no sign of damage to the kitchen Ron was relieved to see. The twins' rows were rare, but often spectacular. Harry would have been well miffed if the twins had left his kitchen a mess. Ron started preparing breakfast for the Trio and his partner while Harry got the triplets dressed and refilled the bags that would go to the Burrow.
There was a whoosh from the fireplace, and Ron turned, smiling at his mother when she stepped out of the hearth, brushing soot from her robes.
"Good morning, Mum," Ron went to kiss her cheek and she hugged him back enthusiastically, "What brings you here so early?"
"I want to talk to you and Harry," Molly informed him and Ron glanced up to the top of the stairs. Harry had the boys in his arms, smiling at the Witch in their kitchen in surprise.
"Good morning, Mum," Harry kissed her cheek to and handed over his burdens, "I'll just pop up and get Edwina."
"I'm staying for breakfast, dear," Molly assured him and Ron's partner smiled happily. There was nothing that Harry loved more than to have family drop in unannounced and let him feed them. Ron smothered a yawn and jiggled Timothy on his hip a little, waving his wand to direct the operations in the kitchen. Lawrence was snuggling into his grandmother's shoulder, and Edwina squealed happily when she saw their visitor.
"That's just like Ginny," Ron winced, "Of all the family traits you had to pick from couldn't you have chosen something quieter, Winnie?"
His daughter dimpled at him charmingly and blew kisses. Harry laughed and added his magic to Ron's, getting breakfast for all six of them on the table quickly. With a baby each, things were rather lively for a while, and Ron was glad that he'd learned the re-heat charm for his own breakfast.
"So, I guess you found out the twins had a row last night," Ron said to his mother when they were finished with the food, and lingering over the morning cup of tea. She nodded, patting Lawrence on the back gently while he played with the fringe of her shawl.
"I did," she confirmed, "George and Fred came to see us at dawn and arrange a time to introduce their fiancé."
"Their fiancé?" Harry frowned at his spouse, "I thought that George said it was Fred who was getting married."
"Well, I don't know what he said, of course," Molly beamed, "But the boys told me that Fred decided that he and George should marry this girl… who we haven't met at all yet… and George got the wrong end of the stick. George came here to see you, Fred followed him and you two let them sort it out."
"They woke the babies," Ron confirmed, "It took Harry an hour to get Winnie back to sleep."
He was rather miffed about this, as Harry still needed his sleep. Ron would fuss over his spouse until the day they died, and probably find a way to do it in the afterlife too.
"Well, after they sorted it out they went and proposed to her and she said yes, so of course, tonight we're having a celebration. You will be there, boys?" she asked. Unlike the Aurors, who were highly organised and efficient, the training schedule for the Department of Accidental Magic Reversal was a little haphazard and depended on accidents happening to allow it's members to practice.
"We'll try," Ron promised, "That's the best we can do. You know how it is, Mum. If we can't make it we'll let you know and the Trio will just have to fill in for us."
He could see that his mother was less than impressed with this answer, but it was the best they could do. He kissed her on the cheek as he ran upstairs to get ready, while Harry cleaned up the breakfast things and Summoned the Trio's bags down the stairs.
"Who do you think it is?" Harry asked Ron as they changed after work. Things had gone well today - they'd been able to get some work done for both Departments they worked for and Ron had been called to the Minister's office for a briefing. The new Minister for Magic was much more reasonable than Fudge, and insisted that the partners brief him once a month about their workload. Ron had taken that duty over, to give Harry a break from the stares that still followed him about whenever he went to the Minister's office.
"I don't know, but if they haven't had her in to meet the family before now…" Ron shrugged and Harry detected a note of trepidation in his voice. He moved to take his partner in his arms, rubbing his hip gently.
"Don't worry," Harry soothed, "It will be alright."
He was rewarded when Ron relaxed into his embrace and smiled in the red hair that his face was pressed to. Even after all this time, Ron still reacted well to hugs and cuddles. Harry felt that this little intimacy was as important as more explicit touching - it had been the first touch that he had instigated with his partner.
"We'd better get going," Ron sighed, "Come on."
Harry let go reluctantly and kissed Ron's nose on the way past. They Apparated to the Burrow, choosing to appear at the foot of the tree where they had consummated their wedding vows. Harry ignored the leer that Ron was giving him - they'd use a fertility spell next time, that way there would only be one baby to carry instead of the three or four that would likely result from copulating on a ley line - and headed for the house.
The Trio were in the pen that Arthur had made for them. Molly needed a break now and then to be able to prepare meals, or beds or any other chore that required two free hands and a bit of concentration. Harry went to his children straight away, bending to kiss them and say hello. They were almost nine months old now, and able to stand up. They had grown so independent of him now they were no longer inside his body, and he was proud of them all. Despite that he missed them terribly during the day.
Molly smiled at him in approval, so Harry knew there was at least one Weasley who didn't mind that he checked his children over first. He was determined not to smother them or deny them the chance to take the usual childhood risks, and he knew that he would be depending on Molly for advise and comfort as they got older.
"The twins will be here any minute," she kissed him hello, "You're right on time, dear."
"Have I told you how grateful I am that the Trio can come to you during the day?" Harry murmured and her smile got even wider. Arthur chuckled from behind Harry and he turned to look at his father-in-law.
"I'm pretty sure you said it this morning," Arthur told him easily and Harry grinned. He wasn't in the habit of taking people for granted. There had been so few people he could absolutely rely on as he grew up and it meant that he was wary of abusing another person's good will now.
"Ginny is going to be mad that she missed this," Ron remarked as he sat in a dining room chair, Edwina in his lap, "Pity that school is still on."
"She'll graduate this year," Harry realised and Molly chuckled. The fire in the hearth flared green and Fred stepped out, followed by a girl, followed by George. The girl looked familiar and Harry glanced over at Ron, who was staring at her with a gleam of recognition in his eyes.
"Angelina!" Ron exclaimed and the face fell into place for Harry. She'd changed her hair radically and gained about a stone of weight, altering her face and figure subtly, but his former Quidditch Captain was easily recognisable.
Harry grinned and settled back in his chair. Trust the twins to find the one person in the world that wouldn't mind dating them both at the same time. Life was about to get very interesting.
The End! (Yes, I'm serious!)