August Awakening

This is comfortable.

At first, he didn't feel like moving. He felt as though he'd been imprinted upon the soft bed he awoke in, and that neither him nor the bed was willing to let go. His eyes remained closed as he took stock of the situation. He could vaguely feel all four of his limbs attached; that was a good start. He forced himself to move his fingers ever so slightly - good, there were still ten of those. His breathing came easy, his chest rising and falling in a slow rhythm as his body worked the remnants of sleep from his system. His entire body was completely relaxed, as if he'd just woken from a long and luxurious nap and the sun was smiling down on him. Even the sheets and blankets he was wrapped in were warm and fuzzy.

Once his thoughts turned away from himself, he could feel something warm to his left, but not on his skin. It was more of an emotional presence, like knowing someone was there without having to look. Curiosity finally took over, and Harry Potter forced his eyes open, and then immediately slammed them shut against the light. He realized the room wasn't that bright (it had no windows), but it still took a few minutes of opening and closing to adjust to the light. It was during this time he realized his eyes probably hadn't been used in a long time, lying dormant with the rest of his body. Unbidden, the final battle came back to him like it was yesterday; as far as he knew, it was, but something about the way he felt told him he had been asleep for a long time. Scenes flashed before his eyes, ones of dueling the Dark Lord for the final time, trading blows without slowing for nearly an hour before exhaustion began to set in. After being disarmed for the third time, Harry had attempted to cast the Killing Curse wandlessly, throwing everything he possibly could behind it. The last thing he remembered was a blinding green slight and feeling as though he was under an amplified version of the Cruciatus.

Which was why he was surprised to be so comfortable now. He couldn't feel any pain, and although he felt unusually stiff, this was the best rested he'd been since the beginning of the war. Unfortunately, that wonderful feeling didn't extend to his vision. Even though he'd grown accustomed to the light, his sight was as blurry as ever without his glasses. Once he gave up on trying to see anything without moving his head, he heard the faint scratching of a quill on parchment in his left ear - someone was working hard, judging by the speed of the sounds.

He let his eyes fall shut again, searching for that presence he'd felt earlier. He found it quickly - there was nothing else like it in the room. The scratching of the quill subsided, and the presence flared slightly, then settled down. The quill began scratching again, softly. Curious, Harry slowly turned his head, the pillow caressing the back of his head gently. His eyes fluttered open, the blurry image taking a moment to register in his mind. The desk came first, as well as the person sitting at it. Only one person he knew had bushy brown hair and that hunched over, deep in concentration look that suggested she was nearing the invention of self-spelling wands. A smile quirked at the corners of his lips, but he found them quite reluctant to move.

"Hermione," Harry attempted to say, but he got nowhere close. His throat burned from disuse - the only sound he could get was a quiet rasping. The effect was profound nonetheless; he heard a clink and saw the inkpot Hermione was holding fall back to the table and nearly tip over, but she didn't notice. She was too busy jumping out of her chair and squeaking, whirling to look at Harry and immediately noticing his tilted head and emerald orbs gazing at her. His vision was extremely blurry, but he could tell something was very different about her, and not just the way her hand shot to her mouth to cover another squeal. She looked...older. It was all she could do to stare for a moment, frozen in place.

"Harry?"

Her voice was a strained whisper, as if willing herself not to get hopeful. Remembering his last effort at speaking, Harry settled for a slight nod of the head and a blink. Hermione nearly jumped to his bedside, obviously still in a state of shock. Even Harry could tell her eyes were as big as the Weasley's dinner plates. He waited for her to recover from her shock and offered her a slight smile.

"You...You're...awake?"

He nodded slightly again, this time moving his arm to allow his hand to brush against hers. It felt as though he'd been force-fed a crate of Skele-Gro and forced to regrow his entire skeletal system, but it was worth it when she grasped his hand tightly back. A huge smile flashed onto her features even as her eyes teared up. A moment later her arms were around his neck as she bent awkwardly to hug him, with Harry only wishing he could hug her back. She seemed to realize this and retreated, settling to hold his hand.

"How are you feeling?"

He had no idea how to even begin answering that question, even if he had his voice in proper working order. Instead, his eyes broke from her face and looked over at the desk, attempting to visualize one of the empty sheets of parchment. He took a moment to concentrate, that warm and fuzzy feeling springing to life inside of him.

Accio Parchment!

Unfortunately, the spell didn't turn out as planned. Even non-verbal and wandless, the parchment zoomed over and hit him in the face, nearly wrapping around him like a paper bag. Harry had spent absurd amounts of time working on wandless magic after the tragic events of his sixth year at Hogwarts, with no luck until about two weeks before the end. He finally made a discovery, claiming that he'd found his "magical core", and that learning to tap into it would be the key to wandless magic, instead of a wand having to do it before him. He'd been working through third-year spells when Voldemort fianlly caught him and forced a duel. The wandless Killing Curse had been a desperate last resort, a spontaneous decision, a final attempt to protect those he loved. If Hermione was any indication, he'd at least succeeded on that count.

After the parchment slid down off his face and onto his chest, he couldn't help but notice Hermione's unsuccessful attempt to hold back a snort of laughter. Her mirth was replaced with wonder when green ink began appearing on the page, forming itself into Harry's distinct scrawl. She knew that writing like the back of her hand - she still read the last letter he'd prepared for her often.

Think that's funny, do you?

She smiled again, nodding. "I think a lot of things are going to be funny from now on, Harry." At the look on his face, she explained further. "I don't think any of us ever gave up on you - it was too painful to let go - but we were terrified you'd never wake up. We tried to get on with everything because we knew that's what you would have wanted, but we couldn't just let you go entirely." There was a note of apology in her voice, but it was surrounded by happiness, so Harry let it go.

How long have I been out?

She bit her lip, obviously unwilling to respond. Her eyes flicked unconsciously to a space behind him; that didn't bode well, if they needed a counter. Harry squeezed her hand rather tightly, causing her to sigh heavily and relent. "Thirty-four years, nine months, and eleven days."

His eyes were wiped clean of emotion. He almost wanted to ask her again, but something about his body told him it was true. It certainly explained a lot, but if he'd been out that long, then why hadn't he just died? He should have - everything had gone black after the duel, and there were still Killing Curses flying everywhere.

Do you have my glasses?

She laughed, though it was more to release tension than anything else. Harry could tell he had a long road ahead of him - everything could change in a year, let alone thirty. He felt something slide onto his face and his vision cleared, his eyes focusing on his best friend. She was, simply put, beautiful. She looked nothing like her age, if he'd really been out three decades. It was obvious a lot of time had passed since her girlish innocence was gone, but it was replaced by a mature womanhood that still radiated youthful vitality. Harry would have guessed she was thirty, not the respectable fifty-five she was. Harry did the math in his head silently while he searched for something to say.

Not bad for fifty-five.

She didn't notice the parchment for a moment, but when she did, she turned away after Harry caught a glimpse of the shy smile on her lips. "How do you do that? You don't have a wand, do you?"

Harry almost laughed. Asking about something she didn't understand to change the subject was so typical of Hermione. Wandless magic. You know writing charms are some of the easiest to work.

She nodded halfway before her eyes widened, her hand reaching out and pulling the parchment away from him as if it would stop him. "Harry! You're not supposed to be doing magic! I need to run and get Katie!" She turned on her heel, but large green letters on the parchment caught her attention.

Why not? I feel fine, and I can feel my core is as rested as ever. I'll go crazy if I can't let it out somehow.

She turned slowly back to him, looking very confused. "How can you know that? The Healers have to use a spell to even guess at your magical condition, and even then it's not very accurate."

Harry shrugged, though painfully. He winced, but at the look on Hermione's face he hid it as best as possible.

It's the same as wandless magic. I can just feel it inside of me, and right now, it's begging to get out. Even this simple writing spell feels good.

"Conjuring ink isn't easy for most of us, Harry."

I'm not. I'm just borrowing some of yours.

Her eyes moved up to his face, noticing the easy smile that had taken hold of him. She couldn't help but smile back - it had been so long since she'd seen him happy. The war hadn't been especially conducive to such feelings; the last time she could remember seeing that smile was before Dumbledore's death.

"Right. Well, I'm going to see about Katie, and you, er, stay out of trouble."

Harry nodded his agreement, his eyes dancing with glee. It was just hitting him that he could finally live without the shadow of Voldemort, even though somewhere in his brain he realized it had been that way for over three decades. He thought about what might have happened since then, and how everyone might have changed, which brought his thoughts to Ginny. For the first time since waking, he felt ice grip his heart. He knew, deep down, that things would never be the same, that he wouldn't be able to pick up where he left off, even with what he'd had with her. His heart tried to tell him that nothing was different, that everything would be all right, but Hermione's face burned in his vision. She looked much older, and that alone impressed upon him how much time had passed. He'd been asleep for almost twice as long as he'd lived, and there was nothing that would bring that time back. In the end, Harry decided that he would be happy for everybody, but that he wouldn't try to force his way back into his old life. He would have to find a new life now, just as they had to find life without him.

"Got your beauty sleep, eh Potter?"

He knew that voice. It was older, richer, but he knew it. He couldn't place it exactly, but when his eyes found her, he lit up in recognition. Unfortunately, when he tried to reply, all that came out was a rasp that sounded something in the vicinity of "Katie!" The sound was followed by a hacking cough that made the ex-chaser snigger, never mind the burning in his throat.

"Easy there, Harry. Drink this." She handed him a glass of water, which felt like heaven on his parched throat. He wondered vaguely if it wasn't laced with something else, but her senior healer's badge set him at ease. Hermione laid the parchment on his chest again, to a confused look from the Healer, but her face quickly turned to astonishment as the green ink appeared again.

So you're the poor Healer who has to sit and watch me sleep all day?

She glanced from the parchment to his smile, then back to the parchment before rolling her eyes and pulling out her wand. Harry's gaze flicked to it nervously, but she ignored him as she began a series of what Harry supposed were diagnostic spells. Hermione watched intently for the results, none of which caused her smile to falter, so Harry assumed that was good.

"So you're feeling well, I take it?" Katie's wand disappeared.

Better than ever.

Hermione furrowed her brow at that. "What's got you in such a good mood?"

You mean besides having a beautiful chaser check me out in every way possible?

Katie flushed a slight pink, but she threw Hermione a significant glance. They both knew she hadn't chased in over thirty years - they hoped that it wouldn't be too hard to bring Harry back to the real world. Fortunately, she was used to dealing with flirtatious patients and met his playful grin with a wicked one. "Don't get used to it, Potter. Remember I'm the one who decides when you get out of here."

Harry rolled his eyes. I'll just have to break myself out then. Hermione gave him a sharp look, then looked back at the parchment as he hastily continued. It's my magic. I've never felt it so energized. I reckon I'd be a bit bouncy if I could move.

Katie laughed again. "Sounds like he's a bit too happy to be Harry." Hermione shook her head in dismissal, but looked thoughtful all the same. Harry wondered what she was thinking, but he assumed she was going into research mode. He didn't feel particularly like being barraged with questions, but that warm, fuzzy feeling running through him kept him from opposing the idea outright.

"As much as you might like writing, I think it would be best if you tried to talk now and then. You'll have to get used to using your voice again, but we don't want you to be a mute for the rest of your life, would we?"

Harry didn't have time to respond before Hermione cut in. "That might not be such a bad thing."

Hmpf.

Both girls laughed, but they were interrupted by a knock on the door. Hermione glanced down at her watch (a muggle one, Harry was amused to note), and let out a squeak. Katie looked a little calmer, but she shared the same alarm as Hermione. They both looked at Harry, but he was no help as his confusion was reaching an all time high. Hermione gave a deflated sigh as the knock came again, and smiled weakly at Katie's sympathetic expression as she walked toward the door.

"I think there's someone outside who would like very much to meet you," Hermione said cryptically as she pulled the door open. A man stepped through the door, one that Harry felt a cold shiver down his spine upon seeing. It was like looking into a distorted mirror - the same black hair was there, the same soft smile, but the eyes and face were all wrong. The eyes were a chocolate brown, filled with compassion that Harry was sure he'd never had, and his face reminded him more of Bill than anyone else. But there was no mistaking the hair, or even the body, which was covered in a moderately expensive looking black robe lined with silver. Obviously, no one had prepared him for Harry's awakening, because those eyes widened and shock and he took a step back, his jaw dropping a few miles before he regained his composure enough to snap it shut.

"Evan?"

If seeing him awake wasn't enough, calling him by name must have been what pushed him over the edge. Harry's voice was raspy and still sounded burnt, but the name was crystal clear to everyone in the room. The man froze, staring at Harry for a long moment. Both Katie and Hermione didn't want to interrupt this moment and stayed quiet - it could be crucial to both of the men's lives.

"How...How do you know my name?"

Harry smiled slightly, his eyes glancing down at the parchment as he wrote. You have your Mum's eyes.

Evan blinked, then took a step forward. This was the first time Harry noticed the children at the door; they couldn't have been older than ten, but they hid behind the door frame from his gaze. Evan slowly made his way to Harry's bedside, his eyes holding his father's gaze.

"Dad?"

If his magic made him feel warm and fuzzy inside, it was nothing to this. Harry grinned in spite of the pain, none of which showed in his eyes, which were alight with some unseen joy. That joy gave him the strength to lift his arm, wincing as his bones cracked but he held his hand out all the same. Evan shook it gingerly, a lopsided grin that Harry had only seen in a mirror splashing across his face.

"You're going to give Mum a heart attack."

Harry laughed outright at that, then coughed a bit and looked pained before glancing back at the parchment. Again, he wondered what Ginny would be doing these days. He hoped she had found happiness in whatever she did, and he hoped she had found someone to share that happiness with, even if it wasn't him. He decided to not share his feelings about that just yet – he didn't want this conversation becoming too serious.

I can count on one hand the number of times I've managed to surprise her. It should be a good show.

Evan nodded, peering curiously at the green ink but restraining from asking the obvious question. Instead, he went to the heart of the matter. "It's unbelievable to finally meet you. I mean, Mum brought me here every day for the longest time, and I still come as often as I can, but I must have been bad company because you slept through it all."

Harry decided then and there that his son was the coolest person on the planet. Er...sorry about that. You know, had to make the world safe for you to be born in and all that. I promised your Mum.

Evan nodded, believing every word. "So...you knew she was pregnant before...?" His question trailed off, but Harry didn't seem to mind.

No...I mean...umm. The ink faltered as Harry's brow creased in thought. I knew it was possible, and likely, but I didn't know until I saw you. We spent the longest time talking about what to name you because she wanted me to have something to look forward to when I won the war. Did she ever tell you why we named you Evan James?

The younger Potter shook his head, still a little shaken by his father's knowledge, but that was to be expected. Honestly, he'd have been a little disappointed if he'd been any different. "I know James was your Dad's name, but I didn't know anything else. I don't remember hearing about anyone named Evan in our family before."

Our family. If possible, Harry smiled even bigger at the idea. My mother's maiden name was Evans.

Evan blinked, the grin frozen on his face as if he didn't know what to do with that information, so he did both of his current thoughts. He laughed gently and wrapped his father in a hug that was returned with one shaky arm. Harry noticed the smiles on the two women in the room and decided they had the right of it - this was better than he could have ever imagined.

"You know she's going to go spare when she finds out you're awake," Evan said after he pulled back. "You couldn't have picked a better day though. Your timing is bloody brilliant."

"Evan!"

"Sorry Herms."

The older witch shot him a withering glare. "Don't even go there with me young man. Just because your Uncle Ron does it doesn't mean it's all right. In fact, it means it probably isn't."

Evan rolled his eyes down at his father, who was trying not to laugh, both because it was painful and he was afraid of what Hermione might say. Where is the prat, anyway?

Surprisingly, Evan laughed again. "Probably baiting some poor Muggle into a chess game with him. I don't know why he does it, but I think he's on a mission to beat as many people at the game as possible." If anything, Hermione looked even more annoyed with this idea, but she kept her mouth shut.

Still playing that blasted game, is he? You'd think he'd have got tired of it by now.

Evan stared for a moment, then realization set in. "Er, Dad? Uncle Ron is a professional chess player now. He reckons he's the best in the world, but he's clearly only in the top 50 or so." He glanced at Hermione, who smiled as if it was some inside joke.

Harry's jaw dropped. He knew Ron was really good, but not that good. It certainly made him feel a bit better about being trounced on a daily basis in the Gryffindor common room. He was about to ask more, but a small voice came from the door.

"Daddy?"

Evan turned, but Harry caught the guilty look on his face before he did so. "Come on in, Jess. You too Michael. I've got someone you should meet."

A small girl who couldn't have been Hogwarts age yet was the first to come into the room, casting a shy look at the bed before snuggling up to her father's side. It hit Harry that he was a grandfather now. God, he'd missed so much. The first pangs of loss were running through him when he saw her eyes. She was a blonde (where did that come from?), but Harry's eyes had definitely skipped a generation. They were the brightest green he'd ever seen, even in his own. Her pale hands clasped her father's left one, that emerald stare never leaving Harry's. He almost didn't notice the smaller boy come into the room, sporting his father's hair and what one could only assume were his mother's eyes. He seemed a little more confident, but it could just be he was following his sister and nothing had happened to her.

"Jessica, Michael? This is your grandfather, Harry. He's finally decided to wake up."

From the looks in their eyes, Harry could tell they were no stranger to his appearance, making him wonder how often his family (what a weird concept) came to visit him. He smiled at each of his grandchildren in turn, still reeling from the prospect of fatherhood, much less being a grandfather. Something deep down was telling him he was still a scared nineteen year old teenager who just wanted to be with the love of his life, but something else told him that all of this was right, that he belonged here.

"Hello."

They jumped slightly at his voice, but Katie gave him an approving nod. It was getting better, though no less painful. Harry decided he would use the parchment for long sentences, but for one or two words, he would use his voice.

"Did you really save the world?"

Harry blinked down at Michael, who bravely returned his gaze. Evan looked as though he was going to chastise his son, but the parchment began filling almost immediately.

Maybe, but I just wanted you to be safe. Your grandmother was very special to me, and I wanted a world where she and her family could live in peace, and I did what I had to for that to happen.

He seemed to accept his answer, his face glowing as if meeting the famous Harry Potter was nothing short of his wildest dreams. Even Evan seemed to like this answer before it cleared and Harry began writing again. Though, I couldn't have done it without your Aunt Hermione. She's a hero just as much as I am.

Hermione couldn't see what was on the parchment as Michael had taken to holding it, but the adoring look she got from her great-nephew was nothing short of priceless. She had no doubt of what he'd said, and though she wanted to play it off as nothing, the twin gazes of her best friend and grand-nephew was too much. She simply smiled in response as Evan looked down at his daughter.

"Jess...you're awful quiet."

If anything, she seemed to get shyer. She attempted to hide behind her father's leg, but he would have none of it. He pushed her out into the lights, which had slowly been brightening since Katie had arrived. Harry thanked her for it - his eyes hadn't even noticed the adjustment until now, when he was under an inspection from his granddaughter.

"How do you do that? You don't have a wand, do you?"

Ron might have rubbed off on Evan, but Harry had a sneaking suspicion that Hermione might have rubbed off on Jessica a bit. Michael reluctantly gave up the parchment (which was getting a disproportionate amount of attention) to his sister, who held it very carefully. Instead of answering, Harry's eyes fluttered shut, then his forehead screwed up in concentration. Katie jumped up to see what was wrong, but Harry's arm was moving in the air, his index finger pointed in the general direction of his grandchildren, drawing fiery lines in the air.

Magic.

Everyone in the room gasped, including Evan. They all knew Harry Potter was probably the most powerful wizard in the world, but they (besides Hermione) had never heard that he could do wandless magic, or write words in the air with his finger. Harry could barely contain his amusement; the spell wasn't hard, and his magic seemed to want to play. He never remembered feeling this powerful, and if it brought smiles to everyone in the room, he didn't mind a little showing off. Of course, just like Madam Pomfrey in his Hogwarts days, the Healer had to bring a crashing halt to it all.

"That's quite enough, Mr. Potter. You shouldn't strain yourself so soon after waking." Katie was as professional as she could be, but even she couldn't help the slight smile that quirked as she sat back down. Harry left his usual penchant for ignoring Healer's advice behind and turned his efforts back to the parchment.

Maybe later, eh?

The shy smile he got in return was worth it. The grandchildren turned out to be absolutely delightful to have around, and Evan was a better man than Harry could have ever asked for in a son. Occasionally he showed Ron's influence in his life, but Hermione's comments aside, Harry didn't think that was such a bad thing at all. Evan certainly had a great sense of humor, and in Harry's estimation, that was priceless.

--

Today was not a good day at all. Today was her birthday, but it seemed to make no difference to anyone, up to and including her life's work. Of course it didn't - in her line of work she doubted anyone even knew when her birthday was, but that didn't help with her frustration. She slammed her book shut, cursing the lack of information and the writers in general. Not that she should have been able to find anything; Ginny Weasley was the leading authority on magical cores, something she herself discovered nearly twenty years ago. The vast majority of the wizarding community knew nothing of her discovery or her research; the knowledge she worked with could revolutionize the magical world, but it was also very dangerous and the things she knew for fact were very few. She could theorize all she wanted, but there were a great many things she couldn't understand. This was why all over her work was locked down by the Department of Mysteries, and that she could count the number of people on one hand that knew what she researched. She was her own research department and that suited her just fine.

After cleaning up her workspace and locking her office/library down tighter than Azkaban, Ginny headed to the Department's special apparition point, arriving at home a split second later. There was no one there to greet her - not that she expected anyone. She was happy living alone; she had an amazing family when she needed company, but on the whole, she enjoyed her solitary existence. A lot had changed about her since the war, and this was one of them. Initially the Weasley clan had worried about her and tried to spark the life in her again, but she hadn't responded well. Over time, that fire had come back, but only with her family and close friends. There was, of course, a man who could complete her life, that felt like the missing piece of the puzzle, but he'd been asleep for a very long time despite her efforts to help him. She had collaborated with Katie to develop the spell that allowed the Healer to check a patient's magical core, but only one man had received this test, and that was the man she was about to go see.

She liked to believe she'd moved on in life, and that she'd made the best of it without him, but there was always that tiny voice in the back of her head taunting her and keeping her from letting him go. That was why she still saw him every day without fail, sometimes twice a day when she could manage, and why she still dressed up for him. It was silly, really, but she showered and pulled on a nice set of robes to watch him sleep. Today, she hoped being in his presence would calm her, that he could make everything better. Even unconscious, he had a habit of doing that - just being in the room with him felt like a perfect calming draught on her often frayed nerves.

She apparated at St. Mungo's long-term ward looking much better than she felt. Brightening her appearance had become a skill over the years, especially since she couldn't even tell her closest family about her work. It was easier for her if people just didn't know something was wrong.

Evan was already there when she arrived, though the kids were conspicuously absent. She stood for a moment at the door, watching her son as he worked on something or other at the desk Hermione had installed in the room. It really didn't matter what it was - he was spending time with his father, and that warmed Ginny's heart. She hadn't really expected him to continue coming after he moved away from home, but surprisingly, not only had he kept coming a few times a week, he had brought his wife and children on occasion. Her presence eventually caught his attention, causing him to look up and catch her eye with a smile.

"Hello Mum."

Ginny stepped into the room, her small frame contrasting to Evan's height. He'd gotten his wiry frame from his father, and apparently his godfather's height. She smiled back as she thought of Ron's influence on her son - Harry would have been proud.

"Rough day?"

He could always tell. She didn't bother hiding it; she only nodded in acknowledgement. Her gazed turned to Harry, who looked exactly the same as he had for the past three decades. His chest rose and fell steadily, his eyes shut and his body as still as ever. Age had been as kind to him as it had to her - he didn't look a day over forty, despite turning fifty-five less than two weeks ago. She knew he was a very powerful wizard, but she still couldn't help but marvel at how time had aged him like a fine wine. Even comatose, she was very much attracted to him; she spent many a night running her hand through that wild black hair and snuggling against him when no one was watching.

"You should talk to him about it." Evan's voice roused her from her thoughts, and she realized she hadn't said a word since she entered. "I'm sure wherever he is, he's listening."

She tore her eyes away from Harry to look back at her son. He was smiling and she couldn't help get another flutter of warmth. Harry might not have been there to comfort her, but his son did a wonderful job of filling his shoes. He'd always been that way, even since he was little. Their mother-son relationship was extremely tight - as long as either of them could remember, it had been the two of them against the world, and they'd won. Evan had a family of his own now, and Ginny certainly had people that loved her, but there would always be that special bond between them that meant the world to her.

Finally, she stepped over to Harry's bed and crawled in next to him, wrapping her arms around his body and snuggling close. Evan had walked in on her like this enough times that she didn't feel uncomfortable, though she silently thanked him as he heard the door shut.

"I really wish you were here, Harry. Long days like this are when I miss you the most. You know I can't talk about it, but I know you'd understand and make me feel better anyway. It's been forever, but you were always like that, ever since the first time you held me. I felt like nothing in the world could hurt me."

She paused for a moment, fighting back the tears. She though she felt a slightly movement, but she'd felt that so many times over the years she didn't think anything of it. "This is how it should have been, Harry. The three of us. We...I love you so much." She squeezed him tight, burying her face into his chest and letting the first tears fall. She felt a hand on her back, rubbing gently, but it had to be Evan - she knew he would comfort her whether he knew what she was feeling or not. He was like his father that way.

But the next feeling made her bolt up right and stare down at him. She felt an arm wrap around her, but it wasn't Evan's. The arm came from under her and coiled around her side, sliding gently against it as the hand rubbed her back soothingly. His face was still impassive, but that didn't last long. The slightest quirk of his lips threw her into shock, her eyes widening like saucers. She whirled around to look at Evan, and upon seeing that lopsided grin on his face, whirled back to see an identical expression on Harry's lips. Her jaw dropped and locked in the down position as a hand came up to her mouth, her eyes finally meeting his emerald ones. She never thought she'd see them again, and now that she could, she was driven speechless.

"Happy birthday Gin."

His voice was raspy and sounded like it hurt to talk, but she didn't care. It was Harry's voice. Harry's voice. Ginny was torn between wanting to squeal and wanting to kill Evan for not calling her the second he woke. She settled for the squeal, and then leaning down to embrace him in a much tighter hug. He grunted at her vice-like grip, causing her to pull back and rest her hands gently on his chest.

"Oh! I...I'm sorry! Are you all right?"

Harry smiled and nodded once. His eyes shifted out of focus as his hand came up to clasp hers (it still hurt a bit to move, but after an hour with Katie, it was no longer impossible), and then he looked up at her again.

"I'm fine." He paused, as if speaking was hard for him. "I'm sorry for leaving you."

Ginny's eyes widened more, if that was possible. She couldn't think of anything to say to that, so she did the only thing that seemed to shut him up before - she kissed him full on the lips and wound her hand into his hair, tugging gently and throwing one leg over his body.

"Mum!"

Ginny broke the kiss, breathing a little harder and smiling inwardly at the comforted look in Harry's eyes. She never even looked at her son as she spoke. "Don't even go there with me, Evan. I haven't snogged your father properly since before you were born, and I think I bloody well deserve it."

The younger Potter seemed to have nothing to say to that (though Harry was sure Ron wasn't the only place he got his mouth), so Ginny kissed Harry again before pulling back and sitting on his stomach. Evan walked over with a piece of parchment, which Ginny looked at curiously before black words began to write themselves on the page (Hermione had taken the green ink with her).

I love you too, Ginny.

She smiled and wiped a tear from her eye, though it was nothing like the tears that had been falling just a minute before. "I never thought you'd wake up. I...I don't know what to say."

Then kick Evan out and give me a good snogging?

The idea wasn't so new to him - in his perspective, they'd been sneaking into empty broom closets just yesterday - but it was music to Ginny's ears. She laughed and swatted his arm, but their son looked good and ready to leave at the request. Ginny brought him back with a look and smiled. "We'll get our time later, Evan. I want all three of us to be together right now."

Evan, much to her surprise, snorted. "I've already had a few hours with this lazy git. Won't get his arse out of bed."

Ginny looked horrified, though possibly faintly amused. "You watch your language - just because your father woke up and made this the best day of my life doesn't mean I can't still hex your mouth shut. And you want to explain why didn't you owl me when he woke up?"

Harry sniggered from under her at the exchange, glad to see the Ginny he knew back. The way she'd entered the room and crawled next to him had scared him - she'd seemed so lost that he didn't know what to do.

"As if you would have gotten it. I swear, every time I send Snow down there, she comes back annoyed at me because she can't deliver your mail."

Ginny rolled her eyes and looked back at Harry, who had somehow perched the parchment on his chest. Who's Snow? And that's my fault Gin. I wanted to surprise you, and when Evan told me what day it was, I knew exactly how what I wanted to say first..

Her hands flattened against his stomach, her thumbs idly playing with the bottom of his shirt. "You definitely did that. I don't think I'll ever be able to match this present."

Evan (feeling a little weird and like he was invading his parents' personal time) answered Harry's other question. "Snow is the family owl. She's a great snowy white that's a bit too smart for her own good."

Harry's heart plummeted - if thirty-four years had passed, there was no way his owl was still around, but he had to know. What happened to Hedwig?

Ginny sighed and compassion filled her eyes. "If it helps, she died peacefully. I think she knew she was going, because she came here to see you and wouldn't stop trying until we let her perch on your arm one last time."

Harry's eyes watered a little, thinking about how Hedwig had been a constant companion, and while appreciated a little less than she should have been, he'd always held a quiet love for her.

At least she was happy, Harry wrote, a wistful look on his face. But I think the thing that surprises me the most is that you waited for me.

He'd obviously wanted to talk about that since before she came in. Ginny sighed again, leaning down and wrapping her arms around his neck as she laid her head on his chest above the parchment. "Harry, I would never have left you. Maybe if I knew you were gone forever I would have moved on, but I couldn't, not when there was a chance that you might wake up. I had Evan to keep me from being lonely, and he did a wonderful job of it."

Harry glanced over at his son (who was looking away in a small embarrassment) and mouthed a small thank you. The room was quiet for a moment before Ginny suddenly giggled and sat up.

"You know I never dated another guy but you, right?"

Harry wasn't sure what to make of that, so he adopted a confused expression, since that was the closest thing to what he was feeling.

"Well, I tried once, but that lasted all of ten minutes. I couldn't stop thinking I was betraying you the whole time. Bill tried to set it up too."

That didn't help much for Harry's confusion, but he nodded anyway. "Er...I don't know what to say."

She grinned and leaned down to give him a brief peck on the lips. "You don't have to, I just wanted you to know. And I've got the the mark to prove it." This seemed to be incredibly funny to her, but Harry had no idea what she was talking about. He looked over to Evan for help, but the younger man was rolling his eyes and sighing too much to notice. Ginny, however, turned her shoulder so he could see the back of it and slid her robes down her arm, and then pushed aside the shirt that was under them. A not-so-small dark red lightning bolt stood out against her skin - it was decorated a little, but Harry knew exactly what it symbolized. He sucked in a breath and looked back up into her smiling chocolate eyes, feeling a bit panicked.

"You didn't."

She nodded and pulled her shirt back up. "I did. I wanted to get it on my forehead, but Mum talked me out of it." She sniggered and kissed him again. "Just so you know you're always mine, Potter." She got about two seconds into a passionate kiss before Evan protested.

"Aww, come on Mum. I don't want to see that."

She turned her head and grinned wickedly at her son. "Then you better find another room, because your father and I have some catching up to do."

He left the room almost as fast as if he'd apparated, and after the door shut, Harry suddenly found a familiar tongue in his mouth. She kissed him like she hadn't been able to for decades, and neither of them would even attempt to speak for a long while. When they finally broke for air and she saw the amazing smile on her lover's lips, Ginny Weasley decided that today was a good day after all.

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A/N: Just a bit of fluff for the kids - do let me know how you liked it even though I know it's cliché. I considered making a mini-series of it, but I have another plot bunny demanding my attention at the moment and I wanted to get this finished before I delve into that. For those of you following my other story, that should be wrapped up by the end of the weekend and I'll be free to let my muse run (or fly, as the case may be).