Chapter Ten: Remember When…
Later that evening
"I thought Mum was staying at Grandmum's…not us," Sirius remarked as he watched his father pack his and Lily's overnight bag.
"She is, but tonight she's going to come home and the four of you will stay the night at Grandmum's. Then, I'll come get you in the morning and we'll all go to Diagon Alley to get your supplies for school."
Harry watched as his children's faces lit up with excitement and he had to stifle a laugh. Clearing his throat, he continued, "But…" their expressions dropped, "if you put one toe out of line, there'll be no trip to Diagon Alley…at all. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir," they nodded quickly.
"Good," he smirked. "Now, finish packing these clothes that I've laid out for the two of you. And don't even think about bringing anything else other than what is on the bed." Harry walked to the door before turning back to look at them. "I'm going to get Molly's and Nate's things. I'll be back in just a moment and then we'll leave for the Burrow."
Thirty minutes later, Molly was welcoming her grandchildren and Harry with warm hugs. She never got tired of her them--she'd admitted that to her daughter and son-in-law on countless occasions.
"You're sure it's okay for them to stay, Mum?" Harry whispered. He didn't want Ginny to know, just yet, that the children would be staying here tonight.
Mrs. Weasley scoffed. "Of course it's all right! Are you sure that you don't want to let them stay for longer than a night?"
"I'm sure. We're going to spend tomorrow together. I just wanted Ginny and I to have some time alone."
"I understand, dear," she said, patting him on the cheek. He watched his wife draw nearer as his mother-in-law gathered her grandchildren, undoubtedly ready to spoil them, yet again.
"It's half past six. You made me wait thirty more minutes," Ginny said, glaring at him.
"Yes…yes I did…and I didn't do it because I was trying to get four kids ready. I did it just to aggravate you even more," Harry mocked.
"You're a mean little sod."
"I know…but you're the one that made me this way."
Ginny narrowed her eyes even more. "Oh…very funny, you are."
He leaned down to give her a kiss before anyone had a chance to interrupt them, but she snatched her head back quickly.
"Excuse me? What makes you think that you deserve a kiss after the way you've just acted?" she said smartly.
"Come on, Gin," he begged, growing impatient. "Please don't deny your husband the kiss that he's been longing for all day." In hopes of winning her favor, he gave a pathetic pout. "Just one."
When she didn't protest, he closed the gap between them, pressing his moist lips against hers for a kiss that definitely promised more. However, Harry realised that pulling away from her sweet lips was proving to be harder than he thought and Ginny chuckled as she pushed him away slowly.
"I told you that you would miss me," she smiled up at him.
"Of course I did. What husband in his right mind wouldn't miss his amazing, beautiful, sexy wife?" Harry cocked his head and smirked at her as a blush crept onto her cheeks. She swatted his arm when he chuckled lightly and her breath hitched as he leaned into her again, this time bringing his voice to just above a whisper.
"You just wait. Tonight, I'll make your entire body blush." He pulled back, noticing the redness in her cheeks deepen and her eyes brighten with want.
"Alright you two, none of that in front of the kiddies," announced George.
"Yeah…Ron isn't quite mature enough to see that," Fred added jokingly. Lily burst forth with a fit of giggles as Fred gave Sirius a high-five and everyone else began laughing along—all except for Ron, that is.
He stuck out his jaw in protest. "You foul sods! I ought to curse you both to bits," Ron said, brandishing his wand and aiming it at his brothers. Sirius and Lily both stopped moving as their eyes widened with excitement; they were actually going to see a real duel.
"Come now, ickle Ronnie. You know that we would be able to block your curse before anything happened."
"Yeah…that and the fact that you wouldn't be able to do it without Hermione's help."
Fred and George let out hearty chortles while Ron stood there like a blubbering fool, searching for some kind of smart remark…until an all too familiar voice sounded.
"Alright boys," Mrs. Weasley stepped in, "that's enough. You're certainly setting a very bad example for your nieces and nephews…and I'll not have any of it. Do I make myself clear?"
Ron dropped his head, muttering, "Yes, Mum," as his brothers started laughing again. Mrs. Weasley shot them a disgusted look and their laughter promptly died. Giving Ginny and Harry a cheeky grin, Fred and George suppressed their hysteria and promised their mother that they would stop giving Ron a hard time.
"Fred, go outside and tell Bill and Charlie to come in. George, round up the lot from the sitting room and Ronald, you go upstairs and tell Hermione we're about to have dinner. Your father should be here shortly and we want everything perfect for him." Mrs. Weasley smiled as she took in the sight around her. Unfortunately, the pleased look on her face was short lived as she noticed that someone else was missing. "And for Merlin's sake, would someone please get Percy out of the study?"
After dinner, Ginny and Hermione began helping Mrs. Weasley clean up while everyone else finished their butterbeer and pumpkin juice as they chatted the evening away.
"I want my wand," Sirius pouted as he watched Fred piddle around, showing him a few first year charms.
Ginny overheard her son's comment and spoke before her brother could say anything about giving him one of their fake wands. "You know you can't have your wand until your Hogwarts letter comes."
"Your Mum's right," George said, surprising Ginny and causing her head to snap in his direction. "No real wand until then." She rolled her eyes knowing that hidden smile and underlying meaning, that subliminal message that George was trying to work into her son's mind.
"But," Sirius interjected, "we did get our Hogwarts letters. They came this morning."
"Sirius, what have I told you about lying? That's not going to help you get your wand any sooner," his mother reprimanded him. Harry had to bite his lip—he hadn't told her yet. He was trying to wait until they could get the chance to be alone, but that wasn't going to happen now.
"But…" Lily echoed, "Sirius isn't lying. We did get our letters today. Dad, tell Mum…please."
She looked at her father, begging him to tell her mother that they weren't lying.
"It's true, Mummy…" Nathan said, now tugging at his mother's skirt. "Sirius got one and…Lily got one…"
Her gaze shifted from the innocent child over to her husband. "Harry? Is it true? Did the kids get their letters today?"
"Well…er, actually…yeah, they did," he said, fumbling over his words until he finally gave in.
"Why in heaven's name didn't you tell me before?" He knew that she was more than a little upset with him for keeping this from her and he understood why. He should've at least told her about the twins' letters coming.
He swallowed roughly. "The letters didn't come until after your Floo call this morning. I was going to tell you about it later."
Before Ginny could move much closer to Harry than she already had, Nathan tugged on her skirt again. "You and Daddy got a letter, too."
She looked down at her son's honest face with confusion, thinking she hadn't heard him correctly. "What?" she shook her head. "It must've been a different letter that came for us, dear. Mummy and Daddy don't get letters from Hogwarts anymore," Ginny explained.
"Nuh uh—" he added without argument. "It came from Hogwarts."
Her brow furrowed in question as she looked up into Harry's eyes, realising that Nathan was telling the truth.
"Nate, honey," Ginny's voice flowed sweetly as she patted his head. "Your Daddy and I need a minute to talk." She glanced at Harry, nodding her head in the direction of the door and Nathan let go of her hem.
Harry rose from his seat at the table and followed in her direction, hearing his son's voice just before walking outside.
"Dad…" sniggered Sirius, "you're in trouble."
"Ha…very amusing," he said, stopping in the doorway. "Keep it up and the closest thing you'll get to a wand is one that beats you over the head." Sirius's grin immediately fell from his face and he sunk back into his chair, sulking quietly.
When Harry stepped out into the garden his skin was met by the warm night breeze, but as he caught Ginny's calculating stare, he felt nothing but sudden chills crawl up his spine. Boy was Sirius right, I am in trouble, he thought.
"Hi, honey," he said smiling, trying to pass it off as if nothing happened.
"Don't 'hi honey' me, Harry," she pursed her lips in annoyance. Watching her husband's smile deflate, she gave a long sigh. "So? Do you care to tell me what's going on or are you going to make me guess?"
Harry blinked for a moment, slightly stunned at her immediate directness. "Er…I- er, don't really know where to start," he frowned to himself.
"Well, how about explaining to me why in Merlin's name we actually got a letter from Hogwarts. Are the kids so bad that they're already in trouble before they've even begun their first term?" Ginny said sarcastically. He gave a small chuckle but stopped when he noticed that she wasn't laughing with him.
"No…it's not about the kids," he swallowed. His eyes fell to study his hands as they fumbled about, wringing each finger one by one. It had become a bad habit of his, Ginny knew. Any time he'd be overtly worried or nervous about something, his habit would pick up without him even noticing.
"Harry…" she called to him with a calm voice. "What is it?" Finally putting an end to her sulking, she let her genuine concern for him show. She knew that whatever he was going to tell her, it wasn't going to be an easy task for him to discuss.
His hands stopped fumbling when he realized what he was doing. "Oh…erm, sorry."
"It's all right…just, tell me what's going on." She waited for a moment as they both remained silent in their own element, until he finally spoke.
"Let's go for a walk, okay?" His sharp emerald eyes looked back upon her figure as the moon illuminated them with a soft light.
"Er…" she muttered, a little thrown off her guard. "Yeah…sure."
Harry walked lightly across the dewy grass, closing the gap between he and Ginny. Extending his hand, she allowed her husband of nearly thirteen years to gently take hers and walk her down the small path to the pond.
She listened to him clear his throat, reminding her of his nervous quirks that she'd discovered during her fifth year. At first, she didn't really think much about them, it was all very…Harry. But that was all before she realised that he'd fallen for her.
"I miss this," he said sweetly, lifting her hand to his mouth and letting his lips graze against the back of it.
Ginny smiled and sighed at the tenderness that he always had. "I miss it too, Harry. Sometimes you just don't realise how busy life has become until you start to miss the little moments."
Harry drew a deep breath as they continued walking along. "That's, erm…sort of what I wanted to talk to you about." He paused briefly, watching her brow furrow a little in confusion.
"You know that a long time before I took the job, I'd always thought about becoming an Auror." She nodded her head slowly in understanding. "And I've had the great opportunity to be one now for fourteen years." He saw her give a small nod once more.
"I enjoy what I do—it's not dull and at least I'm still helping to keep the wizarding world a safer place, but…we both know far too well that being an Auror is very time consuming and it often keeps me from spending as much time with you and the kids as I'd like."
Ginny hadn't even noticed that they'd already reached the pond until Harry stopped walking and turned to face her. He grabbed her other hand, watching their bodies connect, seemingly flowing together as one.
"I'm not sure how to…what I mean to say is…" he huffed in frustration. With a deep breath, he steadied himself. "I've been thinking, for some time now mind you…about resigning from my post as Auror." He didn't look into her eyes. Instead, his attention remained fixed on their joined hands. Harry was afraid that if he looked up, he'd only see disappointment on her face.
After working herself into a tizzy, thinking it was far more serious than it was, she gave a great sigh of relief once he'd finally explained what was going on.
She dipped her head low, her ginger hair hanging in the night air as she attempted to see his face, but he refused to move.
"Harry," she said, squeezing his hand lightly. "Look at me." Where he'd expected to see her regretful look, he instead found caring, kindness and perhaps even understanding shining from her eyes.
"Why didn't you tell me before?" she asked him.
He answered sullenly. "I thought I might let you down for even thinking about quitting."
She observed his sad eyes and sighed with a hint of a smile. "You could never let me down…especially not for wanting to resign from your post," Ginny reassured him.
She let go of his hand to cup his face compassionately, tracing her thumb along his tense jaw.
"If you really want to," she looked deeply into his eyes, "you should resign. Believe me, we miss spending time with you. This week has been the first time that the kids have really gotten a chance to do things with you. And even though I haven't had my fair share of alone time with you yet, it's still been more than it has in a long while."
Ginny could tell he was about to interject with a million apologies but she continued before he could get the chance.
"It makes no difference to me what you decide to do. Work all of the time, part of the time, Auror, whatever…just do what makes you happy. And no matter the decision, I'll back you wholeheartedly."
Harry paused for a moment, his breath catching as he studied his wife's eyes once more.
"You might wish that you hadn't said that…" Reaching into the back pocket of his trousers, he pulled out the letter that came from Hogwarts. On the outside, Ginny could vaguely read 'Mr. Harry and Mrs. Ginny Potter'.
He stood there, hesitantly shuffling the wrinkled parchment from one hand to the other until she reached out and stilled his movements. Without a second thought, she eased the letter from his hands, frowning briefly before unfolding it.
Harry remained silent as she opened the letter and began reading. The night air echoed sweetly with sharp melodies and soothing buzzes as it flowed softly amidst the gentle breeze. It was absolutely beautiful and he was quite sure she'd enjoy it more had her mind not suddenly been overcome with surprise as her voice called out with shock.
"What?!" she asked shrilly, before even reading the letter in its entirety.
He pressed his lips together tightly and muttered. "Mmhmm."
"But…teaching? How did this come about?"
"Well, you remember back before Sirius and Lily was born, Professor McGonagall owled, asking if I might be interested in coming to teach. Seeing as I was already working as an Auror and the children were due soon, I let her know how much I appreciated the opportunity that she was giving me, but that I couldn't accept it. I, er…also told her that if she ever needed to call on me again, my answer may not always remain the same," he finished.
"So," Ginny said dazedly, "you're considering it now?" She saw him give a slow nod and stood there for a few more moments without speaking another word.
He could tell that she was trying to wrap her mind around the situation and no doubt around everything that would come with the change.
"I'd be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts," Harry said, trying to reassure her as best he could.
"But…" she added with a frown, "you'd be gone for so long." She shook her head slightly, clearing her mind of the thoughts that were beginning to frustrate her. "I mean…don't get me wrong, if you want to do this, then I'll support you. But, here you were just talking about resigning from your post as Auror because it wasn't allowing you to spend much time at home and now you're talking about going away for months at a time? How can this be better?"
He sighed with a small laugh, realising that she hadn't made it very far through the letter before overreacting.
"Erm…Gin," Harry couldn't help but chuckle lightly at her state. "They're willing to accommodate us… All of us."
"What?!" Ginny asked as her eyes grew wide, immediately beginning to read the letter again.
Harry, however, decided that it would just be best if he just explained things to her so that she wouldn't go over the top again when she found out the rest of the news that she clearly hadn't read.
He reached out and took the parchment from her. Sitting down on the bank of the pond, he watched her scowl at him as he stretched his legs out and patted the ground in front of him.
"Come on, sit down," he gestured with a smile.
She huffed, continuing to frown more. "I was reading that!" She put her hands on her hips and set her jaw in defiance, yet again reminding him of his mother-in-law.
He rolled his eyes at her and sighed heavily. "Sit down," he said with an easing distinction. "Please."
Seeing that there wasn't a need for the two of them to end up having a row over something that needed to be taken with seriousness, she let her hands fall to her side as she casually knelt down.
Once she finally found a comfortable place resting against him, he started before she could have a chance.
"Now, just hear me out, okay?" Harry tilted his head to see her reaction. Reluctantly, she glanced at him out of the corner of her eye and nodded.
"Okay," he muttered, taking a deep breath. "Like I said, Professor McGonagall wants me to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts…and since they know I've got a family that I won't want to be without, they've said that there is a cottage on the outskirts of Hogsmeade that we can stay in during the school year. It has three bedrooms, plenty of room and they'll fully furnish it for us. We'll keep our house here and maybe go back on a few weekends during the term, over the Christmas break and for the summer.
"At least this way, with us having you and the kids stay at the cottage, I'll be able to come home for the day, after classes are over. And if they should need me at the school for some urgent reason, I'll be on call easily." He paused for a moment, observing the state of silence that she was still in and decided to press on.
"There's just…one more thing," she heard him say with hesitance.
Cutting her eyes at him, Ginny finally spoke. "And what's that?"
"They've asked something of you, love…" She raised her brow in question, wondering what the school would possibly want of her. "They asked if you would…come and teach Flying for first years and referee a few of the Quidditch matches. Apparently Madam Hooch has decided to retire after all these years."
"But…that'll take both of us away from the children then," came her high pitched voice.
"Wait…wait. What happened to hearing me out?"
She huffed at him and folded her arms, waiting for him to continue his attempts to convince her that this was indeed a good idea.
"Since there's not many classes that you'd need to teach, you'd only have to be there two days out of the week. As far as Quidditch goes, it'll be on the weekends and either we can take the kids to see a few of the matches or I can stay home with them. It's not a half bad idea…and you'll finally have the chance to get out of the house."
"But Harry, who's going to take care of the children? I mean…the Quidditch matches can be easily taken care of but what are we going to do while I'm teaching class? You can't come home, you'll be teaching, too," she said worriedly. It seemed like the both of them teaching would be a good idea but now they were hitting this wall and Ginny wasn't quite sure if they'd be able to get past it.
Harry studied his wife, trying to determine if she'd curse him for even making the suggestion.
"Well," said he, "I was thinking that this would be a good opportunity for your Mother." He paused briefly, making sure that he was treading as lightly as possible. "I was thinking that maybe, just for those two days, she could Floo over to watch Nate and Molly. At least this way, she'll get to spend plenty of time with them and she wouldn't be constantly bugging us about being so far away from her grandchildren."
Ginny sat quietly, thinking about the suggestion that her husband had just made. It did seem like a rather good idea. It would definitely keep her Mother from whining about not getting to see the little ones…and it meant that she would finally get a chance to do something new. She hadn't had a job in twelve years and this would be a welcome change.
"And…" Harry added, "I think this would be a good opportunity for both of us to keep an eye on Sirius and Lily. Keep them out of trouble, you know."
She looked at him briefly and thought, he's definitely got a point. If they keep up at the rate they're going now, they'll be worse than Fred and George ever were. Bad grades, detentions, possible suspensions…Oh no. I will not have that.
"Between the two days that you're there, you'll not only get to see them, but also keep a close eye on them. I'll be there the entire time, with the exception of nights and weekends, allowing me to monitor their behaviour…to an extent. At least this way," he shrugged, "maybe they'll stay out of trouble since they'll know we'll be around."
They both sat quietly thinking to themselves until Ginny's voice rang with laughter. "Forget Howlers. They'll get a personal visit from me if they ever misbehave."
Harry let out a hearty chortle. "Just make sure that you save me a seat for that show. I think Sirius and Lily might just get a taste of their own potion."
Finally letting their laughter subside, he glanced at her, knowing that she was still soaking in the load of news that she'd just learned. He knew that she'd carefully weigh out their options.
"So…what do you think?" he posed.
She opened her mouth slightly, taking a deep breath and steadying herself before responding. "Well…at first I didn't see how this was going to be any better than if you'd stayed on as an Auror. But, I think you're right…we'd still get to spend more time together and I really wouldn't mind having the job." With a sigh, she continued. "It'll be a nice change from being a stay at home Mum for twelve years."
Turning to get a better look at him, she observed his silence briefly. "I think you'd like this. I think this is something that you would really enjoy doing, wouldn't you?"
Harry nodded slightly. "I think I'll enjoy teaching. After all, you know how much I liked having the DA during my fifth year."
Ginny smiled to herself, remembering how it had taken him a little while to warm up to the idea but he'd finally come around. She let her eyes drift back up to meet his as he sat patiently waiting for her answer.
"Yeah," she breathed, giving him a nod of approval. "Yeah, let's do it."
Flashing him a bright smile, her face lit up with excitement. "Yes, really."
He was too stunned to move for a moment, as if he hadn't heard her correctly. "Yeah?"
She rolled her eyes at him and gave a small chuckle. "Yeah," she replied once more.
Harry's emerald eyes brightened as a grin formed on his face. Kissing her cheek and squeezing her tightly, she could hear the enthusiasm in his voice. "Terrific!"
He had been concerned. For a moment, he thought that she might say no…that she might not want to temporarily uproot their family to Hogsmeade. But, to his surprise, she amazed him yet again.
They sat there for a few more minutes, resting against each other, just listening to the fading echoes of birds calling, the wind sweeping through the nearby trees and enjoying the sound of their breaths finding steady rhythm together.
"You know," he said interrupting the sweet silence, "there is something else that I'm going to like about being back at Hogwarts."
"Oh?" Ginny said intrigued. "And what would that be, Professor Potter?"
He teased the exposed skin on her forearm and finally answered. "I'm going to take great pleasure in snogging you in every corner of the castle." She feigned sudden surprise and excitement as Harry flashed her a wicked grin and leaned in for a passionate kiss that was long overdue.
"Mmm…" she moaned into his mouth, making his heart race with excitement as if he was sixteen again. He reached his hand out to cup her face, gently slipping his hand behind her neck and then into her silky strands.
Before he knew it, she turned to face him, longing to deepen their kiss and running her hands up to meet his raven locks. She twisted a few short tresses, pulling them lightly between her fingers and making him moan in return.
To his dismay, Harry felt the warmth of her lips leave his and whimpered in their absence.
"I think," she said, watching the heavy lids of his eyes drift open. "I'm definitely starting to like that snogging idea of yours. But correct me if I'm wrong, haven't we done that before? Snogged in every corner of Hogwarts, I mean."
"I don't quite think that it was every corner, love," Harry chuckled as he peppered her glowing face with tiny kisses.
She sighed, smiling at the loving way that he adored her. Even after thirteen years of marriage, it always felt new and exciting to them.
"Let's…get…out…of here," he muttered between kisses.
Ginny giggled lightly at his tempting. "As wonderful as that sounds, darling…we have four children waiting for us inside. We can't just leave them here."
"Sure we can."
"Harry James Potter!" She pulled away from his kisses, astounded. "I can't believe that you'd even think that we could do that."
"Dearest," he said, trying to suppress his laughter. "I thought about that this morning…which is why I asked your Mum if she would mind keeping the children for the night."
In an instant, she was prepared to prance and he immediately took notice, stopping her abruptly.
"Now don't start with me," Harry warned her. "I know what you're thinking."
Ginny narrowed her eyes at him and raised a brow at his presumptuousness. "What makes you think I was going to start anything?"
"I know you far too well, love. And I know that being away from your children for the past two days was hard enough. At least then, they were with me…not to say that your Mum doesn't know how to raise children; obviously she does if she could manage you lot. But, you're just going to have to get used to the both of us being away from them." Harry dipped his head trying to read her expression. "You might as well get the practice in now. Term will be starting soon and we don't want you to end up being a basket case on your first day as Madam Potter."
He sat observing his wife, falling silent as her stern look softened.
Even though she hated to admit it, he was right. It'll be easier if I get used to it now, she thought.
"Besides," he said, cutting through her thoughts, "didn't I just hear you say that you hadn't had your fair share of time alone with me?" She bit her tongue, refraining herself from replying with a smart remark. He already had one up on her and she wasn't about to give him the opportunity to take another.
Ginny pulled a coy grin on her face, remaining silent and letting him form his own assumptions as to what was going through her mind.
"Uh huh," he hummed. "I knew that I was right."
She huffed and rolled her eyes with a slight annoyance. "Yes…yes, you were right. But if you insist on keeping this Mr. Know-It-All attitude up, I'll be staying here with the kids while you go home…alone."
"Point taken," he said with a short nod.
Harry pushed himself off the ground and reached out his hand to help his wife up, pulling her into his embrace to steady her.
Ginny giggled lightly, letting her happiness fill the air as he watched her with sincerity.
"I love you," he breathed, pushing a few stray strands of hair behind her ear. His soft gaze drifted across the top of her head, tracing her flowing fiery red locks until his eyes drifted down to meet hers.
She sighed sweetly in response, leaning into his hand that was now caressing her cheek.
"I love you, too," came her gentle voice just before his lips fell upon hers, passionately taking them into the night.
Ginny awoke the next morning to the bright sunlight that was pouring across their bedroom. Relaxing in the warmth of her bed, she reached to her right, expecting to find her slumbering husband lying next to her. Instead, she frowned when her hand met nothing but empty sheets.
She turned over hoping to at least see him somewhere in the room, but she was met with disappointment when she found no sign of him. However, lying on his pillow next to her was a single red rose.
A loving smile quickly filled her face as she bit her lower lip, her mind full of thoughts from the wonderful evening they'd spent together. It was certainly a welcome pleasure having Harry entirely to herself and she definitely made sure to show him just how thankful she was.
Deciding that she'd better get out of bed and find where he'd gone to, Ginny threw the inviting covers off of her and strolled across the room, spotting Harry's pyjama shirt lying across a chair. She quickly slipped it on, fastening all but a few of the buttons and let it fall gracefully just a few inches above her knees.
Picking up the rose from his pillow, she drew it near her, reveling in its sweet fragrance before heading downstairs.
The beautiful morning seemed to be spilling throughout the entire house, she thought as she rounded the corner into the kitchen to find Harry sitting at the table, playing with Molly.
Their youngest was giggling excitedly as Harry lifted her into the air, high above his head, and then brought her back down swiftly to tickle her neck with his kisses.
The voices of her other children floated into the room from outside. It sounded as if Sirius and Lily were playing but weren't including Nathan, the poor darling.
Ginny watched Harry stop playing with Molly and sit her on his lap as he tilted his head back towards the door.
"You two cut that out and let your brother play with you or I'm going to make all three of you come inside." He rolled his eyes and turned back to Molly. As his gaze drifted back to her, something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention.
"Gin…" Harry said, finally noticing that she was in the room. "I didn't hear you come in. When did you get up?"
"Just a few minutes ago…when I noticed that you weren't in bed with me," she stretched lazily.
"I'm sorry, love. I went to the Burrow to pick up the children. I thought it might be a nice surprise for you…to see them here when you woke up."
"It is. Thank you," she yawned.
"Tired are we?" the question hung from the smug grin that was written on his face.
Ginny released a short breath after stretching her body as far as it would allow her. "You wore me out last night."
"Mighty proud of yourself, aren't you?" she said with a light chortle as she watched him stand up, placing Molly in his left arm and snuggling her close to his body.
Harry walked across the room to where his wife was standing and closed the small gap that was now between them.
Pulling her flush against his body, he held her tightly. "You keep wearing my pyjama shirt like that and I'll have to Floo your Mum and ask her to keep the kids until the start of term."
Ginny gave a girlish giggle and swatted his arm playfully just before he leaned down to kiss her tenderly.
She hummed lightly against his lips as she stood on the tips of her toes. "Good morning."
"Good Morning to you, too," he said, giving her another kiss.
"Mummy!" Nathan called excitedly, interrupting their last free moment together. They both turned around to see the bounding boy running into the kitchen, heading straight towards his mother.
She stepped forward and knelt down opening her arms to welcome her son, engulfing him in a loving embrace.
"Hello sweetheart," she said with a small peck on his cheek. "Did you miss me?" He nodded his head vigorously when she pulled away from him. "Well…I missed you, too."
"Mum's awake," Sirius yelled back to his sister, who was already following him back into the house. "Dad, can we go now?"
"Please, Dad. Please?" Lily echoed the sentiment as the twins came running over to their parents.
"Good heavens, you two. Give your Mum some time to really wake up. You can wait a bit longer," Harry stated matter-of-factly.
Ginny frowned at the dissatisfied sighs of her two oldest children. "Go where?"
"I promised them we'd go to Diagon Alley today to get their school supplies, but they can manage a little longer. Besides, you haven't even had breakfast."
"Well, neither have the children. So, I'll just make something quickly and then we can go," Ginny added with a smile.
"The kids ate at the Burrow. They were in the middle of their meal when I Apparated over."
"Really?" she said surprised.
"What? You thought your Mum was going to let them go without breakfast?" Harry asked, rather amused at her reaction.
"No," she shook her head. "I'm surprised that the kids were up that early."
They both chuckled at the observation until Sirius interjected determinedly. "So…can we go then?"
"Sirius, I told you that you can wait a moment more. Your Mum hasn't had anything to eat yet and you've had a full meal," said Harry, who was growing frustrated with his son's persistence.
"It's okay," Ginny patted her husband on the arm. "I'll just go up and get ready. Then we'll be off."
"Don't you want something to tide you over until we eat lunch?"
"I'll just grab an apple on our way out." She turned to head back upstairs, stopping before she ascended the staircase. "Give me ten minutes," she told the children, "and I'll be ready to go."
Both Sirius and Lily erupted with cheers and Ginny smiled at their elation as she climbed up to her room to get ready for a day of shopping in Diagon Alley.
It was half past nine before the Potter family arrived home from Diagon Alley. Ginny certainly hadn't planned on being there the entire day, but one thing led to another and now here it was, far past the children's bed time and they were all exhausted beyond measure. Not that the trip wasn't fun, it had just been a very long day and containing Sirius's and Lily's excitement about finally getting their school supplies had proved to be nearly impossible.
Naturally, the majority of their time was spent getting new robes, books, not to mention their stop at Ollivander's. At first, Ginny had begun to think that they'd never find wands for the twins. The fact that they were having such a difficult time finding a match clearly started to worry her children, but when she and Harry told them how long it had taken before they found their wands, it helped settle them.
After what felt like an hour, Sirius and Lily finally found themselves proud owners of new wands. Sirius, whose wand was 11", was made of Poplar wood with dragon's heartstring. Lily's wand, on the other hand, was 10 ¼", made of Ivy and held unicorn hair at its center.
Ginny couldn't recall ever seeing their children so happy. And as the afternoon steadied on, the smiles on their faces only grew bigger.
Somewhere around five that evening, they were all in the cauldron shop picking out the needed Pewter cauldrons that their supply list called for, when they bumped into Ron and Hermione.
As Ginny and Hermione finished buying their purchases, the children stood outside with Harry and Ron, recalling every single thing that they got so far. When the two women came out of the shop chatting idly, Ginny overheard "Wheezes" come from one of her children's mouth.
Without having to hear the complete statement, she flatly refused. Despite their profuse amount of begging, she insisted that they would not be buying anything from her brothers' shop anytime in the near future because of her children's recent stunts. However, Ginny did allow them to go and visit Fred and George briefly before the eight of them, Ron and Hermione included, headed to The Leaky Cauldron to have dinner together.
Now, here they were a few hours later, finally arriving home. She sat some of their things on the floor, and heard the Knight Bus shoot off with a loud pop as Sirius and Lily led the way into their home, followed by Harry who was not only carrying Molly but Nathan as well.
Ginny smiled sadly at the sight of him carrying their two young ones who were both fast asleep. (They'd really worn the two of them out today.)
"Do you need some help with them?" she asked.
"No, I'm just going to go upstairs and get them ready for bed," Harry smiled back with a tired expression as he stopped and kissed her on the cheek before heading up the flight of stairs.
"All right you two," she turned to the twins, "time for bed. Go on up, get changed and I'll be up to tuck you in shortly." Ginny collapsed into a chair next to the kitchen table, too knackered to move at the moment.
"Can't we stay up for just a bit longer?" Lily asked with her brother pleading alongside her.
Their mother sighed heavily in response. "No, Lil. It's too far past your bedtime as it is. Go on now."
She heard them whimper in disappointment before starting to trudge up to their rooms and chuckled lightly to herself. She knew that they were still full of excitement from the rush of the day's activities, but she also knew that if they didn't get into bed now, she'd never be able to wake them up in the morning.
"Mum?" Sirius called out, stopping halfway up the stairs.
Ginny took a deep breath, expecting to hear him beg one last time. "Hmmm?"
"Thanks for today," he said with a sincere smile.
She smiled in return and spoke with a soft voice, just before he turned to leave. "You're welcome."
Getting his sleeping children into their pyjamas was normally no big deal. However, what usually took five minutes to do was taking fifteen tonight because he was yawning every thirty seconds. Between last night's activities with Ginny, waking early to pick the kids up from the Burrow and then spending all day at Diagon Alley, Harry was not ashamed to admit that he was tired at such an early hour.
After finally managing to get them changed, he tucked Molly into her crib and Nathan into his bed, giving them both a kiss on the forehead before putting out the lantern and closing the door softly behind him.
He walked quietly down the hall to his and Ginny's room, expecting to find her there, until he heard her gentle voice coming from the twins' room just down the hall. Sneaking over to the door, Harry stood watching the three of them talk sleepily.
Ginny was piled in the middle of Lily's bed with both Sirius and Lily lying next to her with their arms wrapped tightly around her waist as they snuggled close.
"…and the Sorting Hat always sings a song before it sorts you into your Houses…" he heard her telling them. They must've asked her a dozen questions as their anxiousness was getting the better of them.
"How was your first year at Hogwarts, Mummy?" asked Sirius. "Did you have loads of fun?"
Harry and Ginny both sucked in a deep breath when their son asked the question and he wondered how she would answer him.
"Well…" she started, "my first year wasn't all that fun, but I think it's just because I had a rough start of things. I'll tell you something that did happen in my first year that was really funny.
"Your Dad and your Uncle Ron got into some big trouble before they even made it to the castle that year. They were in second year while I was in my first. Anyway, they missed the train and your Uncle Ron decided that the only way to make it to the castle was to take your Granddad's flying car. And then when they finally made it there, they landed in the Womping Willow. Boy,your Grandmum was furious with your Uncle Ron. She was so upset, in fact, that she sent him a Howler, one day. I don't think I've seen him so embarrassed." Ginny stopped, thinking about what she'd just said, "…Well, maybe I can think of a few other more embarrassing moments, but that's for me to tell you some other time."
Ginny felt their lazy giggles flow through her skin and she closed her eyes, smiling and enjoying the happy moment.
Harry, who was still standing in the doorway, quietly observing the three most important people in his life and he couldn't help but smile at the warmth and love that filled his heart.
"Mummy?" Lily muttered against her stomach.
"When did you and Daddy first meet?"
"Ah," she breathed with a grin pulling at the corners of her mouth. "Well…we first met at the train station, the year that your Dad started Hogwarts. I wanted to go and meet him properly so very badly, but your Grandmum wouldn't let me. After that, I didn't get to see him until the summer before my first year, when your uncles rescued him from his dreadful Aunt and Uncle that he had to live with."
Ginny heard them both hum a light chuckle against her and realized that they were both falling asleep. "Okay," she whispered, trying to move easily. "Time to get into your bed, Sirius."
He moaned in disappointment but didn't argue as she helped him off the bed and over to his side of the room. Once she had him tucked in and gave him a kiss goodnight, she went back to scoot Lily away from the edge, so that she wouldn't fall in the middle of the night.
As Ginny started tucking her in, Lily looked into her mother's eyes. "When did you first know that you loved Daddy?"
Harry suppressed a chuckle as he continued listening at the door. He watched his wife kneel down beside their daughter's bed and drop her gaze for a few moments before looking up at the innocent eyes of a child that reminded her so much of herself.
With a deep breath, Ginny said, "I think, somewhere deep inside me, I knew I loved him from the first day that I met him. But many would tell you, and I might on some occasions, that it was just a crush." She heard her daughter giggle and realized that Lily was more awake than what she thought. Ginny couldn't help but laugh to herself as other memories began to resurface.
"I was an absolute mess every time your father was around. I fumbled all over the place, I was nervous…I could barely even say a single word to him. But during those first few years, I knew that he only ever saw me as his best mate's sister." Harry frowned. "It wasn't until five years later, and after I got over my little school girl crush, that we both started going together." She smiled at the bittersweet memories that came rushing to the surface.
"I'll never forget the first time he kissed me." Lily gave a nervous giggle, pulling the covers up to hide her curious grin. Ginny laughed.
"Well, one of our Professors gave your Dad detention during the championship Quidditch match, so I had to play Seeker in his place. After the match was over, which we won, I might add, we all went back to the Common Room to celebrate. Once your Dad finally arrived, I went running up to him and threw my arms around him in a big hug. But to my surprise, he kissed me…right in front of all our fellow Gryffindors." She heard her daughter giggle again. "That was the day that I knew your father was in love with me."
"But how did you know, Mummy? How did you know that you loved Daddy?" Lily yawned.
Harry watched Ginny as she chuckled lightly, patting the small girl's arm. As he stood there observing the two of them talking about what it was like to fall in love, his heart swelled with pride. There was no one that he loved more than his wife and every day his love for her only grew. Their life together hadn't always been an easy one. At one point, Harry wondered if they'd ever be able to make it as long as they had. But despite almost losing her, among other trials, they'd pulled through…together. And if anything, he loved her more now than he did the day that he married her. She is my world, he thought.
Harry turned his attention back to the bedroom as he heard Ginny speak.
"I don't really know, sweetie. There was just something I felt that made me realise that I loved him with all my heart. And I always will." Lily smiled proudly, suppressing another yawn. "But don't you worry about all of this right now. It'll happen for you one of these days when you least expect it.
"Besides, your only concern right now is getting to sleep."
"Oh…not yet, Mummy. Please? I promise, I'm not sleepy," Lily begged, causing Harry to chuckle at her familiar, determined nature.
He turned to leave as Ginny finished tucking the young red-haired witch into bed. Harry could faintly hear his wife insist that their daughter needed to get to sleep, followed by a reluctant whimper, as he walked into their bedroom just down the hall.
"I tell you, those children of yours just never stop with the questions." Ginny walked into their bedroom from the loo with steam slowly dissipating from the air. She noticed that Harry was resting comfortably on their bed, listening to the soft melodies coming from the Wireless.
"Oh," he said as she approached the bed. "So they're my children now, are they?"
Ginny chuckled. "Yes. They belong to you on their meddlesome days. On the good ones, they belong to me." He couldn't help but laugh at her statement and the smile that played on her lips.
"Ah…I see. Well just so long as I can account for Nate and Molly's good days…which should automatically put me several points ahead of you."
"Hey! I didn't agree to that."
"You didn't have to," Harry laughed again as he stretched lazily. "So…" he gave a coy grin, "what sort of questions did they keep you occupied with. love?"
"Well, at first it was strictly curiosity about school. How they get sorted into houses and that sort of thing. But it was Lily that perplexed me." Ginny shook her head at the thought of her daughter's questions. Crawling onto the bed, she lied down next to Harry, fitting her body to his and draping her arm across his waist.
"Oh?" He acted as if he didn't know what she was talking about. "What sort of questions?"
"She asked about us. You know, how we met, when we fell in love, how I knew when I fell in love with you." Ginny gave a soft chuckle as she moved to rest her head on Harry's chest. "I'm telling you, she's eleven going on twenty-six. As if these things were of major concern to her right now, anyway."
"Well, if I recall correctly, you had a very big crush on me at that age. Am I wrong?" he smirked.
Ginny lifted her head, propping it up on her hand. "All right, fine. I'll admit to that. And you can just wipe that lopsided grin right off your face, Potter!" She was irritated. She hated admitting that he was right and he knew it, yet he couldn't help laughing at her.
Harry watched her eyes drift away from his, realising her thoughts were starting to focus on more serious matters.
"Hey…" he brushed his thumb softly across her cheek. "What's on your mind?"
She glanced back up at him with chocolate eyes that seemed to sparkle in the light. "Oh, it's nothing. I was just thinking about the idea of us both teaching at Hogwarts." Ginny paused briefly, playing with the soft trail of hair on Harry's torso. "Are we doing the right thing for us? For the kids? …Are we making the right decision?"
Harry watched her sigh deeply as his fingers combed through her fiery red mane that cascaded across her back. "I think so. It'll definitely be a change…and something that we'll all have to adjust to. But I think this will be a good thing for all of us." He studied her for a moment longer before asking, "Are you having second thoughts?"
Immediately, her head shot up as her gaze held his. "No! It's- I'm not having second thoughts about our decision. I guess…I just needed a little reassurance that we're doing the right thing." She bit her lip out of nervous habit. "Do you think the kids will be okay with this?"
"Well," Harry admitted, "Sirius and Lily will probably have a difficult time with the idea at first, but I'm sure they'll get used to it. And as for Nate and Molly…it'll be an adventure for them."
Ginny remained silent, making Harry wonder what exactly was going through her mind. "Listen, if you change your mind about teaching, I'll be okay with it. And for that matter, if you don't want me to take the DADA class, I won't." He pulled her chin up slightly as her attentions began to drift. "I don't want to do anything without you being okay with it. You mean the world to me and I just want to make sure that you are happy for the rest of your life."
Her eyes softened on his face as she gave him a warm smile. There wasn't a single thing that he wouldn't do for her. It had always been that way. And not a day went by when she wasn't truly grateful for him being alive…for him being with her.
Ginny pushed herself forward far enough to meet him in a gentle kiss. Humming lightly as they parted, she opened her eyes to reveal her husband's content, yet concerned look.
"I'm okay with everything, I promise. I want you to teach Defense and I'll teach flying lessons, just as planned. If things change after a year's time and we realise that the situation is hurting us more than helping us, we'll reassess everything then."
"Yeah," she kissed him again. "I want you to be happy, too."
"Love, as long as I have you and the children, I am happy." His eyes smiled blissfully back at her, filling her heart with love.
Ginny laid her head back on Harry's chest and he felt her lips pulling into a smile. "Do you remember that afternoon that we spent underneath that beech tree?" she asked him as her fingers trailed up his body with her eyes following. "You know…the day that Madam Pince threw us out of the library because she caught us snogging in the back corner." She looked up at his face as he blushed crimson.
"Merlin, Gin. Of course I remember that day. I was never so embarrassed as I was when she started yelling at us in front of everyone. Plus, it didn't help that you had my robes in a bit of a mess."
Ginny snorted. "Your robes? As I recall, my robes were in just as much of a mess as yours were." Harry rolled his eyes at her. "Besides, you didn't seem to mind making a mess out of them later, when we were lying underneath the tree."
"Well, we didn't have to worry about being busted by any of the teachers then."
"All the same…that was still wonderful day in my book."
"Yeah, it was," Harry smiled in agreement.
She raised her brow with a wicked grin. "I wouldn't mind giving that another go for old time's sake."
"What? You wouldn't mind getting caught by Madam Pince again? Thank you very much, but…no." He shut his mouth tightly but failed to suppress the smirk that was playing at the corner of his mouth. "Oh…you mean snogging in a corner of the library?"
"Very funny, Harry." Ginny pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at him in annoyance. "Actually, it's always been a fantasy of mine to have my way with you in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom."
He was intrigued now. "Really? I didn't know that." Harry pulled her tighter to him with an ever growing dark look of desire burning in his eyes. "Gods, if I'd known that, I reckon I would've had to sneak us in for a little, er…excitement, sooner." The feisty witch couldn't help but snigger, causing both of them to burst forth in uproarious laughter.
After their joyous echoes slowly faded, Ginny looked back into the tender eyes of the raven-haired boy that she fell in love with as a young child.
"I love you, Harry," she said, touching his cheek gently.
"I love you, too, Gin."
"This will work. Going back to Hogwarts, it's a good thing." Harry sat there, simply soaking in the beauty of the woman before him. His wife. "And…it'll be nice to go back to the castle. It was always like a second home, anyway."
He gave a reminiscent smile at the thought of Hogwarts. And Ginny was right. It had always been his home…and it would always be the first one that he recalled as such. Even though his home was now wherever his wife and children were, Hogwarts would always hold a special place in his heart.
"Yes, it will be nice to go home."
A/N: cries Well, that's the end of my "baby". I've been working on this story for ten months now and even though I'm happy to finally be able to finish "Coming Home", I will miss writing it.
Thanks to all of my readers for continuing along this wonderful journey with me. I hope that I've been able to touch you in some way. And I certainly hope that you've enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
If you don't mind, drop me a line letting me know whether or not you've enjoyed reading this story. Give me hugs, I love them. hugs readers