A/N: This is a long time coming, I know. People seem to have a strong connection to this story and I do as well because it was the first story I ever wrote. I wanted to write something that would satisfy a four year wait and this will be a one-shot. I hope everyone likes it, as I've been trying to get my idea into writing for about two years now, on and off. For those of you who like it, please review it and for those of you who hate it feel free to review and tell me what a disappointment this is. This is the first time I was able to start writing and finish writing, as opposed to hundreds of scrapped ideas. Again, after four years, I doubt as many people will care, but this, to me, is something that is finally off my abnormally large chest. I hope you enjoy it, I truly do.
Also, I got into blogging, so if anyone wanted to visit it, or even ask me questions and such or want to talk about the stories as a group, here is the site: bighairbigmouth (dot) blogspot (dot) com.
OK, after much waiting:
About sixteen years later...
As soon as the sun came streaming through the window, it wakes me up. It is not an abrupt awakening, but a gradual one that persists until I squint and roll over onto my stomach, my face away from the window. I know that at any moment the little magical alarm is going to go off, barking our names in demand until I turn it off.
I let the sun warm the back of my neck, as my out of control hair sits on the top of my head. After the vicious winter we had, the warmer weather (as warm as it does get) is a wonderful, comforting feeling. It is certainly being welcomed. Just last night it was nice enough for the first time in months to sit out on the back porch and have dinner, which was wonderful, as the kids just got out of school for the summer.
I instinctively feel in front of me to the spot where Harry usually sleeps. It is empty, as I knew it would be. I give a somewhat sad sigh, knowing I will see him tonight, but missing him terribly. He has been gone on a work-related trip for most of the week, leaving me to hold down the fort until he returns. It hasn't been as bad I thought it was going to be, though trying to handle my brood is definitely more difficult without Harry here to help.
Last night alone, after coming home from a long day of work, I found the house looking as though a bad spell had occurred in the living room (which I now know is highly likely). The couches were scorched, the walls were scorched and the ceiling was scorched. One of my potted plants either died or committed suicide, while a few windows in the kitchen were shattered.
As I stepped out of the fireplace and let the full force of what I was seeing hit me I felt somewhat dumbfounded. Harry and I have always been pretty proud of our kids. They aren't stupid, we generally get along and we all like each other on a person-to-person basis besides basic family love. However, as I passed my wedding photo, which had a singe mark along the bottom, I found myself fighting all instincts to kill my children.
I let my bag fall down on the ground beside me, my cloak following suit as I tried to piece together what could have possibly happened. I let myself gather calming breaths before I called for my children. Losing my head and screaming without Harry to keep me focused or on task certainly wasn't going to help anything.
"Do I have any children left?" I called up the stairs. What whispering voices I heard prior to my question suddenly died and then there was slight movement above me. I nodded and said quietly to myself, "Well, I have at least one left."
Seconds later, I heard footsteps coming down the stairs until I was face to face with the Potter children.
They stood nervously in front of me, my oldest eyeing me up until I could take the silence no more.
"Would someone like to explain what happened here?" I ask impatiently, gesturing around my ruined living room.
Alexander and Jacob, my oldest children at seventeen, glanced at each other nervously before Alexander said, "We think Harrison may have done some magic. Right, Harrison?" He nudged my youngest child, who suddenly sprung to attention with an eager nod.
"Oh, yeah?" I asked. "Harrison, which spell did you use?"
He turned to his older brothers uncertain. He would be starting Hogwarts this September and had not yet received his wand or his letter. Though he certainly was capable of blowing up a house and had done other rather stupid things in his young life, Harry and I were about 65 percent positive he would be accepted into Hogwarts. We were optimistic. We were dreadfully hopeful.
I know in my heart of hearts that by the time Harrison came about I was already working full time, so most of the day-to-day parenting wasn't really parenting, but a made up word verb I like to call sibling-ing. Which is not to say I was completely absent or anything, but if there was a fight I wasn't always available to go in and immediately break it up. The kids were mostly left to deal with problems on their own. Harry and I thought we were so smart, even bragging to Ron and Hermione about our smart parenting. And for a while, it seemed to work. Our children actually communicated with each other and talk to each other without fighting. Harry and I thought we struck gold. That is, until, our little "angels" started using it against us. For instance, if something got broken in the house Harry and I were not the first to know. The child who broke it, would inform the others and they would all make up an excuse so as not to get in trouble. When they were younger it was much easier to spot. I think my favorite pre-teen lie was when pirates burst into the living room and knocked over my grandmother's vase.
Basically, my kids stick together through almost anything. There are times when no one wants to get involved and then the offending person is on their own. When I was growing up, my family was the exact same way. If I broke something, I went to Ron immediately in order to come up with a valid excuse or at least a script of what to say when Mum started screaming.
And, as I now look at each other my children in turn, I can see they are hiding something and protecting someone. I narrow my eyes and try and sniff out the weak one.
"Harrison," I repeat, "which spell did you use?"
"I don't know really," he replied with a small shrug. "A bunch."
"Ah," I say, nodding as though I am following along with him. "And whose wand did you use?"
"Huh?" he seems thrown.
"You don't have a wand yet, so you must have used someone's wand," I said, folding my arms. "So whose was it?"
"Mine!" Jacob supplied. "I didn't know he took it until I heard all the crashing."
"Right…" I said, nodding again. "Daphne, Cecelia, would you like to add anything?" I ask my daughters. Cecelia instantly shakes her head. Daphne does so a second later, though she refuses to look me in the eye, which tells me everything I need to know.
Daphne is the most reluctant of the five to go along with something like this. She much rather stay out of it, and I won't lie, I don't blame her in the least. She rarely gets in trouble and has to deal with four crazy people who are constantly dragging her into lies and fantastical ruses such as this.
Of the five Potters, Daphne was the only one who inherited the Weasley red hair. The other four have black hair, while Alexander and Jacob were the only ones to inherit Harry's green eyes. I take the briefest of seconds to admire the fact that my children look so unalike and so alike at the same time. Alexander and Jacob are pretty much indiscernible, except for the slightest of scars right above Alexander's left eyebrow from a bad pirate fight when he and Jacob were younger. Another slight way to tell them apart is the way in which they hold themselves. Alexander stands tall and proud, as though on display, while Jacob has a slight slouch to him that comes from years of hunched over a book under his covers after dark. Alexander plays on the Gryffindor Quidditch team and has done so since his second year. Jacob did so for two years, before resigning from the team in favor of Potions class, which threw us as he seemed to hate Potions. He discovered he had a real knack for it, something that was his own that he could nourish and grow.
Daphne, my oldest daughter at fifteen, is incredibly shy and quiet, though with a cracking wit and sarcasm. She tends to stay quiet and make comments quietly to her friends or sister. Most people assume because she is so quiet that she doesn't have anything to say, until they get to know her and realize she has plenty to say. Daphne has sleek red hair and big brown eyes. Though she inherited the fiery red hair, she did not get the Weasley freckles. Her skin is porcelain smooth with, up to this point, no hint of a blemish. She seems not to notice that she is quite beautiful, and this not coming from a partial mother. She is slight and skinny, standing well under her brother's heights.
This is, as it always seems to be, a stark contrast to Cecelia, my youngest daughter. She is quite tall and will probably land about 5'7 or 5'8, while Daphne stands in at maybe 5'2. With wild, curly black hair, a small smattering of freckles on the bridge of her nose and a smile that lights up her entire face and seems to make her brown eyes sparkle, Harry and I have had our hands full with Cecelia. She was boy crazy from the moment of birth, kissing boys by age one, chasing after them by age four. Friends and family used to joke that we would have to watch out for her when she got to be a teenager. Harry and I would laugh and laugh…until she turned thirteen last year and all of a sudden it wasn't funny anymore. Her letters were filled with the names of boys named Mark, David, and Devon in September, and by the time Christmas break came around she was gushing about a boy name Peter. And, unlike Daphne who is quiet and sarcastic, Cecelia is liked by everyone immediately. She has a wonderful personality that people generally connect with, and there is not a mean bone in her body. I know that kids can sometimes act one way in front of parents and another way in front of their friends, I am not that naïve, but Cecelia has always been a kind soul.
Finally, there is Harrison. Once Harry and I got pregnant for the second time (with Daphne) we made a little joke with each other. Would this be Ginny's daughter or Harry's son? We would ask ourselves in a joking manner. Twice in a row it was 'Ginny's daughter' who was born and by the third time, we had almost assumed it would be a girl. The pregnancy felt very similar to that of Daphne and Cecelia. So, as our fifth child came into the world, we only had a girl's name prepared. For a few days Harrison went unnamed and we jokingly kept calling him Harry's son, until it finally just morphed into Harrison, which is how Alexander and Jacob would pronounce it anyways. And, for the most part, he is Harry's son, with knobby knees and wild, out of control hair. From the moment he was born, he was almost a terror. One of the nicknames he was bestowed with, which makes him beam with pride (and tells you a great deal about his personality), is DCH, which stands for Demon Child from Hell. There have been times when he would kick a ball up at the glass door just to "see what would happen."
It is now obvious why most of the messes, especially this one, are blamed on Harrison. The kids know I'll go somewhat softer on my baby than on them, especially the older kids. Alexander and Jacob should know better than to cause something to explode in my living room, but apparently do not.
"Ok, children," I said, "this is the story we're sticking to? Harrison grabbed Jacob's wand and performed a bunch of nameless spells which caused my living room to look like this?"
"Uh…yeah," Alexander replied. "That sounds about right."
"Ok, then," I saied. "You're all grounded for a week."
There was a sudden outburst from the four older children while Harrison seems mildly surprised that a mess of this size has only gotten a week's worth of punishment.
"Shut it, all of you!" I snapped. "And you're all going to be up at the crack of dawn to clean this living room. And you're going to explain to your father what happened and see if you lie to him like you're lying to me!"
I bent down to grab my bag, ignoring the protests from my children and bent straight again. I closed my eyes and sucked in a calming breath through my nose. I was about to say something, when I took another sharp sniff of the room and my eyes fly open. I sniffed again and looked around at the mess. There was something oddly familiar about the odor of the room which, up until now, I hadn't really noticed. It smelled like…brimstone. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Jacob lean to his left slightly and nudge Alexander.
I sniffed one last time and stare at each of my children in turn before saying, "Oh for heavens sake, you didn't…Please tell me you didn't…Where is it?"
"Where's what?" Alexander asked innocently.
"Do not play dumb with me!" I snapped angrily. "Where is that dragon?"
A dumfounded silence is followed by my question. Finally, Jacob and Alexander laughed at the same time and Jacob said, "A dragon, Mum? Really? Do you think we're stupid enough to bring a dragon into the house?"
"Really, Mum," Alexander said, "we'd never bring a dragon into the house."
"I am going upstairs to change," I said, trying to steady the anger in my voice, "and when I come back downstairs you five better have a good explanation for this. And so help me if I find that dragon. I mean it."
I grabbed my cloak off the ground and hurried up the stairs. As I got to the top stair, I heard a squelching sound on the carpet and realized the entire upper floor was soaking wet. I let out a cry of annoyance and slammed my bedroom door.
I unzipped my skirt and yanked it down. My stockings and shirt followed suit as I threw on an old shirt and a pair of jeans. I shoved my feet into trainers and opened the door. I noticed the walls of the hallway were also covered with scorch marks and I felt anger bubble inside of me again.
I hurried back down the stairs and my children were no longer in the living room. I sighed heavily and went into the kitchen to grab something to drink. In all honesty, I had no idea how to proceed. All of their other misbehaving was suddenly put into glaring perspective. From now on it will always be, "Well at least I didn't bring a dragon into the house."
As I sipped my drink and heard movement in the basement, I tried to think of which child would probably be responsible for such a thing. The year Alexander and Jacob turned eight I kept finding small animals in their room. There was the hamster in the shoebox that was living off carrot sticks; the white bunny rabbit that had been magicked out of a birthday magic kit; the stray cat that came around every morning for milk that somehow found its way into Jacob's bed. That stray cat is now called Jimmy and he's been living with us for about ten years now. I didn't have the heart to throw the cat out. The bunny and hamster could kiss my ass.
Though Daphne was always begging for another pet a dragon was something I do not think she had in mind. Cecelia either. She and Daphne had been begging for another cat for a while, but Jimmy doesn't play well with others due to years of fending for himself. As a test run, we brought Ron and Hermione's kitten over to see how he would react. Bottom line: it was not fun to explain to Hermione why her kitten was on our ceiling fan and no, we couldn't get him down.
The only other person I could really think about was Harrison. His birthday was last week and one of the things he had asked for was a dragon. Harry and I had obviously thought he was kidding, and had obviously said no. Harrison was obsessed with dragons and already informed me he was going to be a dragon tamer just like his uncle Charlie. I told him that was completely fine with me. This is the same boy who wanted to play Quidditch professionally, until, that is, we put him on a broom, he fell off and bruised his arm. Then all of a sudden Quidditch was out.
I placed my cup down on the counter and glanced down to see two envelopes sitting on the counter. They were from the Ministry of Magic, and the magic seal had been broken on the back. I shook my head and opened the letter and began reading. By the time I got to the end of it, I was feeling a dull pounding in the back of my head. I grabbed the other letter and began to read mostly the same thing. Apparently, once the dragon that "wasn't here" started lighting stuff on fire, Daphne and Cecelia had gone around trying to put it out. They were each cited for two illegal uses of Aguamenti each, which was just fucking wonderful.
I poured myself another drink and glanced at the clock. It was past eight o'clock and the pounding in my head was just getting worse. As I heard a crash from below my feet I vaguely wondered if this was something I would look back on and laugh. I supposed it would be someday, probably once the dragon was found and removed from my house and Harry was home to help dole out punishment.
After downing my third drink and working up enough patience, I went to the basement door and called, "Get that fucking dragon out of my house, right now!"
There was some scuffling and then, "What dragon, Mum?" Alexander called up.
I slammed the basement door as hard as I could and went to the couch and plopped down. As soon as I did, I heard a squelching sound, and felt a sudden damp feeling on my bottom. I nodded, as this was no longer surprising me. Nothing surprised me anymore at that point in the night.
I began to think about the two hours previous where I was working overtime to get my column submitted and how I felt like such an awful mother for not being able to make dinner for my children. My wonderful children. Now I wasn't feeling guilty as much as homicidal. And the first person I would kill would be the next person to act dumb about the dragon.
I heard someone rush past me and up the stairs. I turned sharply to see a whisp of red hair and called, "Daphne! Come here right now!"
"Um, one second, Mum!" she replied and I heard a door shut over. A second later she came running back down the stairs. She stood in front of me, nervously twisting her hands. "Yes, Mum?"
"You tell your brothers to get that dragon out of the house this instant," I snapped angrily. "Or heaven help all of you. Do you understand me?"
Daphne nodded and then said, "It wasn't my idea." She looked torn between helping me and staying loyal to her siblings. I knew that feeling well, as Fred and George had dragged me into trouble hundreds of times.
"Daphne, you don't have to get your brothers and sister into trouble," I said calmly. "You don't have to say anything at all. Just blink once for no, twice for yes, alright?" Two blinks. "Is there a dragon in that basement?" One blink and I felt anger boiling inside of me. "Damn it, Daphne!" I snapped.
I stood up abruptly and hurried to the basement. I threw open the door and hurried down the stairs, Daphne hot on my heels. As I got to the bottom, my other four children were huddled around something. I strode over to them, nudged my way through and looked. It was a newt.
"See, I told you we didn't have a dragon down here!" Alexander replied.
I sucked in a deep breath and turned on him. He had quite a few inches on me, but I believe that my ability to tower under people helped in situations such as this. I thrust my shoulders back and started yelling. I must have yelled for close to fifteen minutes, until all of my children were nervously twisting their hands and giving each other side glances. Not a one of them had seen me this angry.
Harry and I were pretty laid back parents when it came to our children. If we would compare ourselves to any other parents, a good example would be that of Ron and Hermione. Had any of their children brought a dragon into their house, they would be dead. Hermione would have killed them instantly. They were stricter with their kids, even Ron, which was a real surprise. His personality was slightly altered as his kids got older. He stayed the same loveable Ron, but he realized he needed to back Hermione up and parent when he needed to, and he did.
Harry and I have always been on the same page with parenthood: do not sweat the small stuff. And we haven't. We've let some stuff slide, allowed ourselves to laugh certain things off, because they weren't worth freaking out over.
However, this supposed dragon was worse than all the hidden pets, worse than the time Alexander wouldn't remove the word 'cunt' from his vocabulary. It was worse than the time Jacob skipped Potions ten days in a row to sneak into Charms to hang out with a girl from Ravenclaw he liked. Worse than when Daphne chopped off all of her hair because she was sick of brushing it. She was seven and by the time I was able to get to her, her hair was around her ears…and not much else. This was worse then the time Cecelia took Harry's broom out for a ride over the lake, even though she had been forbidden to and, oh yeah, couldn't swim. Worse then the time I found sixteen cents, mostly knuts, in Harrison's poop. Or the time Harrison leapt off the roof into Ron and Hermione's pool. Worse than the time Harrison replaced the Floo powder with itching powder. Like I said, DCH.
This was worse. Especially because all of those times I had Harry to back me up. I had Harry with me to yell and act angry, but behind the closed bedroom door we would dissolve into giggles together. There was no one here to take me aside and snap this back into perspective. It made me desperately miss my husband, my partner.
"And lastly, "I snapped, finishing my rant at the children, "I am so disappointed in you for doing this when your father was not here. For leaving this burden on me."
I could have whooped for joy when I saw all five shoulders hunch and a united look of despair cross their faces as they realized what they had truly done. I let my words settle on their shoulders, hoping it weighed them down considerably and snapped, "I'm going to bed. When I wake up in the morning that dragon better be gone and that living room better be spotless! We'll discuss your punishment when your father gets home."
And with that I had slammed up the stairs, grabbed the bottle of wine and some left over chicken and headed into my bedroom which was, thankfully, untouched. I knew I should have punished them then and there, but Harry could be really creative when he wanted to be, and I wanted his input on how I punished our children. Plus, I wanted them to think I had gone to bed when, instead, I waited for them to shamefully creep into their rooms before I tore the house apart looking for the dragon. I came up empty.
And now, as I lay in bed and enjoy the brief peace that will occur today, I find myself missing him even more. Since we've been married we've only been apart one night in almost eighteen years. But this trip was inevitable and it wasn't as though it happened all the time. The only consolation was that Ron had had to go as well, so Hermione was also alone this week.
We had gotten together three days ago and sipped wine out in the backyard as the sun set, each home abnormally early for our jobs. The kids chattered loudly in the house, the nine of them incredibly loud once together. Amelia, Ron and Hermione's oldest child, had graduated Hogwarts and immediately took a job in the Ministry. Aidan and Olivia were going into their Sixth Year while Charlotte was going into her Fourth Year with Cecelia.
So, I am able to pacify my need for my husband with the thought that at least Hermione is feeling the same pain. Though, she didn't come home last night to dragon scorches in her living room. At least, I don't think she did.
So, I lay here for a few moments more, a peaceful, content woman…with a dragon in her house. I have looked in vain for that dragon and have come up empty, which is incredibly disturbing. This means my own children have found a place within my own house where something as big as a dragon and I am unaware of it. I'll let Harry deal with it when he gets home.
My eyes flutter closed and the next thing I am aware of is a soft touch on the back of my neck. I shift slightly, unsure of whether or not to come out of my dream. The touch is more persistent and I realize it isn't a touch, but a kiss. I roll over quickly and come face to face with the husband I have been thinking so much about.
When our eyes meet Harry gives me a huge smile that I eagerly return. We stay in comfortable silence that is overwhelmingly happy on my part. The missing part of me has returned and the mere sight of him makes me happier than I can properly say.
"I thought you weren't coming home until tonight," I say groggily.
"I cut out early," Harry replies. He kicks his bag onto the floor and kicks his shoes off, coming under the covers with me. "I wanted to get home to my lady." He kisses me. "I missed you."
"I missed you, too," I say and I truly mean it more than he could possibly know.
"Do I really have to ask?" he says, a playful smile on his lips.
"What do you mean?" I ask.
He suddenly has a slightly concerned look on his face. "Are you unaware of the living room?"
"Oh, yes, that," I say, rolling my eyes. "It isn't cleaned up yet?"
"What the hell happened?" Harry asks.
"From what I could gather," I say, "there seems to be a dragon in our house."
Harry raises his eyebrows. "A dragon?"
"A dragon," I confirm. I glance over at the clock and see it is just barely six o'clock. It is almost as though my subconscious knew he would be coming home early to see me. Perhaps I did as it is something he would do.
"A dragon," he muses again. "I'm going to…kill those kids," he says, shaking his head wearily. "Makes me long for the psychopath we were chasing."
"Caught," he confirms. "Which is good, because I get to come home early to my wife and children. Though, not so much for the children anymore. Do we have the culprit? Harrison or Alexander?"
I sigh, wiping some sleep from my eyes. "I want to say Harrison, but there is no way he could have gotten one in the house without some help. I mean…Where would he have even gotten one?"
"I don't know. But lets not talk about the kids anymore," Harry suggests.
"Perfectly fine with me," I say, giving him a smile. "I've missed you."
"How much?" Harry asks.
"Well…come here and let me show you," I suggest pulling him closer.
Harry and I make our way into the living room an hour later. The couch is no longer scorched, though it is now a deep navy blue as opposed to cream. I frown at it and make a mental note to yell about it later. As I round the corner into the kitchen, I hear Alexander and Daphne bickering.
"Wave your arm like this!" Daphne snaps angrily.
"If you're so smart, why don't you do it?" Alexander replies angrily.
"You dump prat!" she snaps. "I can't! I'll get expelled."
"Oh yeah…Right. Okay, show it to me again."
I peek at the two of them and see Daphne guiding Alexander's hand in a flowy motion. The broken glass on the floor collects itself and rises in an odd shape until it jams back into the window, filling the holes. There is still a faint crack that I can see from my place at the doorway, but I again let it slide with a mental note.
As I make my way into the living room I see Harry leading a fearful looking Cecelia up from the basement with a bewildered look on his face.
"Go wait for me in the living room," he snaps at her and she hurries as she is told. "Daphne and Alexander, get in the living room this instant!"
Both kids jump at the sound of his voice. They exchange a fearful glance and hurry into the living room, brushing past me with their heads bent in the right amount of shame. I purse my lips and head into the living room after them. Harrison is standing by the fireplace, Daphne and Cecelia are sharing a burnt couch while Alexander stand off to the side and Jacob occupies an arm chair.
This, to me, is a somewhat odd sight. We do not usually have family meetings. We have dinners together every night that we can, which I have made mandatory. Every now and again it is more than alright to eat out with friends or be absent from dinner, but at least five times a week everyone has to be present for dinner. However, aside from that and a stray family outing or two, we haven't really been together as a family in a very long time. Every summer Sunday there is lunch at Mum and Dad's which brings together all the cousins and siblings. With all the kids at school Harry and I, as well as the other Weasley's go to Sunday lunch without their kids. Really, what I'm trying to say is that despite my anger, it is nice to see the family together, even if it is for a ridiculous reason.
"Now," Harry says. He has finally looked up from having his face in his hands as he tried to gather himself. He is wearing a pair or cargo shorts and a button up flannel shirt that is a little too big on him. Harry basically found a style of clothing that he liked at age ten (which is odd, seeing as he was wearing the hand me downs of a morbidly obese ten year old), and has never ascribed to any other style. Collared shirt make him feel as though he is being choked and anything that fits in the slightest makes him antsy.
I make a quick sweep of the room to make sure that everyone looks somewhat nervous. When I see that they do, I return my attention to Harry.
"I'm only going to ask once," he says evenly. "Where is the dragon?"
"Harrison," Cecelia says after a second's silence. "Come on."
Harrison looks doubtfully at Harry and then says, "Perhaps I had a dragon. How much trouble would I be in?"
Harry and I both groan. "A lot," Harry says, "but if you don't go get it right now I'm going to find it and cook it and make you eat it."
Alexander looks slightly amused at Harry's statement, but quickly hides his smirk as soon as we make eye contact. I'm pretty sure fire is going to shoot from my eyes at any moment. I turn back to Harrison and say, "Harrison, dear, just get the dragon."
"Ok…" Harrison says and pushes himself off the wall with his foot. He goes up the stairs and is gone for five minutes.
In the meantime I look at my other four children. I shake my head and say, "You are all grounded. For a month. One week for lying to us, one week for hiding a dragon in our house and one week for the mess you're going to spend the rest of the day cleaning up!"
"I thought you said a month," Jacob says, "that was only three weeks."
"And a week for thinking you were going to get away with it," I snap. "I was getting to that." I glare at my son as Harrison rejoins us in the living room. He is dragging a huge wooden crate with him. He places it in the middle of the living room, next to the coffee table and it shakes menacingly. Suddenly, a burst of fire comes out of a crack and Harry jumps out of the way, as the fire hits the chair Jacob is sitting in. It singes the fabric and I clench my fists.
"Ok then," Harry says calmly. "I assume your room is a…"
"There's a little soot," Harrison admits and Harry and I nod.
"Of course," I reply.
"Please don't be mad at him," Harrison suddenly bursts out, looking generally concerned.
"Listen, Harrison, you're in real trouble," Harry says.
"No, Dad, he's not talking about him," Daphne says quietly.
"Who are you talking about then?" I demand.
Harrison hangs his head and doesn't answer. Alexander comes to his rescue. "He's worried you're going to get mad at Uncle Hagrid."
"Why would we get mad at…" I begin but then stop. Harry and I turn to each other and say, at the same time, "Uncle Hagrid."
"Of course," Harry says. "Uncle Hagrid gave you the dragon."
Harrison nods. "Just don't be mad at him, okay?"
Harry and I exchange a look and I already know what he's thinking. "Will you kids excuse us for a second?" I say, tugging at Harry's arm. We go through the kitchen and out the French doors onto the patio. As soon as the door is closed over we burst into laughter. I lean against the side of the house and hold my sides as tears pour down my face.
"They were worried about Hagrid," I say through my laughter.
Harry nods and laughs harder. I believe we're thinking the same thing. Poor Hagrid thinking he was doing Harrison the ultimate favor by getting him a dragon, and our children thinking they were helping Hagrid out by hiding his secret. They must not have realized that Harry and I couldn't be mad at Hagrid, not when it was clear his heart was in the right place.
Soon, we calm ourselves as we realize the kids will probably be looking for us.
"Okay," I say, "remember: Act angry."
"Right," Harry says. "Furious."
"Yes," I reply. "And we'll have to just tell Hagrid next time we see him: No dragons."
"No dragons. Let's go."
Harry and I go back into the living room and finish doling out punishment, which our kids take with somber nods. As Harry shows Jacob and Alexander the proper spells to use around the living room I write up a brief letter to Hagrid, first asking him to dinner and second asking him to take the dragon back.
"Now, while you kids clean this mess up, your mother and I will be out on the patio enjoying the morning," Harry announces to everyone.
The kids let us go without much grumbling. We leave the French doors open to let the warm summer air in as Harry and I settle onto two lounge chairs.
"Hey, do you remember that day that I asked you to marry me?" Harry asks.
A slight smile plays on my lips. "Vaguely," I reply coyly, "Why?" This is the private little game we've played with each other for a while now, as long as I can remember. It's called "Regret it yet?" and the answer is always no. Never. Not in a million years. No matter who is asking, that is the same answer.
"Do you remember the day I married you?" he asks.
"I have some recollection," I reply.
"And remember the day we decided to try for a baby?"
"I do," I say.
"Even after those said babies singed my signed Canon poster and broke the side window and probably started the very beginnings of a bad mold problem under the upstairs carpet, I don't regret a single one of those days." He turns to me, a smile on his face. "And I can't hate those kids."
I sigh. "I know. Annoying, isn't it?"
From within the house I can hear the slight warbling voice of Daphne as she begins to sing a song. Soon, she is joined by Cecelia. Alone, their voices have the ability to wish you deaf, but together they were so bad it was almost funny. Luckily, they knew how awful their voices were, which was a private little joke just for the Potters. Daphne attempts to reach a high note, just as Alexander's earlier spell on the windows wears off and some of the glass falls to the ground.
Harry and I exchange a look and begin to laugh again.
"That is a coincidence!" Cecelia calls, poking her head out the door. "Alexander is shit at Charms."
I remember when the kids were young between the ages of eight and two and on warm summer nights Harry and I would sit in these exact chairs as Harry charmed water to shoot out of his wand. The kids would jump through the falling streams as they screamed and laughed. Back then there were days where five kids in six years seemed almost unbearable, where I would pull out chunks of my hair in frustration. I used to close my eyes and imagine my life in ten years time. I used to imagine that everything would be more sort out and settled. For the most part it has. Despite the odd hiccup, life was pretty much settled. It was such a comforting thought.
Harrison comes out onto the patio and places two glasses of lemonade on the little in between Harry and I. I accept mine in silence, but raise an eyebrow at him, a little joke to show him I am not as angry as before.
"Hey, Gin," Harry says.
"Remember the day we first met?" Harry says.
"Now this I do remember quite clearly," I say.
"What would you have said if someone came up to you on that day and said, 'Ginny, no matter what happens you're going to marry Harry Potter and have five beautiful children who will one day set a dragon loose in your house'?"
"I would say, 'What a minute…Do you mean to tell me I'll have boobs big enough to breast feed five children?'" I say, smiling over at him.
Harry laughs and then says, "Ah yes, your boobs. Remember those?"
"Regret it yet?"
I smile over at him. "No. Never. Not in a million years."
There is a crash behind us and I hear, "Damn it, Harrison! You knocked the dragon crate over!" Jacob snaps. "Alex, use a stunning spell!"
There is a great deal of commotion, a few crashes, the sound of screaming. Harry and I sit, sipping our lemonade until there is silence again.
"Regret it yet?" I ask.
Harry sighs. "You know, I wish I could."
"My sentiments exactly." We clink our glasses together and then go in to inspect the mess.
To be quite honest, if someone would have come up to me on the first day I saw Harry and told me I was going to marry him, I would have smiled at them. Because I always knew, from the very moment I met Harry I knew I was going to marry him and he would be the father of my children.
A/N: This is most likely only a one shot. And probably one of the last things I write for a very long time. I hope everyone enjoyed. As always, please read and review.