(Wed 1 Sep 1999)
Harry and Ginny sat down at the Head table, joining most of the other professors, and waited for the students to enter the Great Hall. It was not long until the older students entered, and then Professor Flitwick, who was shorter than all the incoming students, came in leading the first years. They watched the Sorting Ceremony with fond memories.
Headmistress McGonagall had barely told everyone to "Tuck in", when one of the oldest witches Harry knew entered the hall. The Headmistress hurried down to greet Head Examiner Griselda Marchbanks. Those who knew her were extremely curious as to why she was here in September. After a few moments, the two witches went up to the Head table, with Professor Marchbanks taking the first empty chair she could find.
Harry leaned over to his wife. "Got any idea why she's here?"
Actually, Ginny had an excellent idea, but she was not sure if she wanted to tell her husband. "I'm sure we'll find out, Minerva has been very good about telling us everything we've asked about in the staff meetings." Harry grunted and continued eating, while also keeping an eye on the Gryffindor table.
"It was good to see Luna this afternoon, wasn't it?" Ginny commented while they ate dessert.
"Yes it was," Harry agreed. "We almost had a normal conversation, even if all her sentences were short."
Ginny sighed. "Normal for fifth year, but she's not the old Luna who talked about fun animals. Nor is she the Luna who could make such insightful comments at the most embarrassing times," she said with a smile.
"True, but at least she has a chance at a semi-normal life thanks to Healer MacDonald."
The Headmistress stood and dismissed the students at the end of the Feast, then she leaned over to her Defense teacher on her right. "Harry, would you and your wife please join me in my office?"
Harry raised an eyebrow in question, but Minerva gave her classic twitch of a smile before she walked over to Professor Marchbanks to escort her through the halls. He turned to his wife and told her, "We'll find out in a few minutes why she's here, we're supposed to follow Minerva to her office."
Ginny nodded and got up to walk with her husband. She was quite sure this meeting had nothing to do with the positions she now held in her first year on staff, and for which she had been introduced to the students less than an hour ago. No, this had nothing to do with her being the new Flying instructor now that Madam Hooch had left, nor with her being the DADA teacher for those in first or second year, nor with her being the professor for Charms for the first through third years. It was almost certainly in regards to the letter she had sent the Head Examiner -- a letter she had hoped she would get a reply to in similar manner, not with a personal visit. She just hoped Harry was not too displeased with her.
The four of them entered the Headmistress' office and made themselves comfortable. While the Headmistress started, it was obvious she was deferring to the Head Examiner. "Professor Marchbanks, you said you had some interesting news for us?"
"Yes, I do, Minerva. First, Professor Potter, or perhaps I should say Professor Mrs. Potter, welcome to the world of education."
"Thank you, Professor Marchbanks," the young woman told her.
"You sent me a question, and I am afraid I can not answer it." Minerva and Harry looked at the old witch wondering what that was about, Ginny just looked down. "Or perhaps I should say I can not officially answer it, hence, why I did not write you back. But I will answer your question as it pertains to the real reason I'm here," she said with a smile.
Ginny joined the other two in looking at Marchbanks.
"Your husband scored one hundred and twenty-eight percent on his test, while you scored one hundred and twelve percent. Ignoring the bonus questions, he made a perfect score on his test, while you missed one question. I found it interesting that it was on werewolves. Do you not have a friend who is one? A former Professor Lupin?" The old woman continued to smile.
Ginny was not sure what to say and looked at her husband. "I'm sorry Harry, I didn't mean to hurt your feelings on this, I just wanted to know how I did in comparison to you."
Harry smiled and reached out to grabbed her hand. "It's all right Ginny, I'm not bothered at all. And if you had done better, I'd still be happy for you."
"You would?" Ginny started to brighten. She had been so afraid he would be so upset with her for trying to outdo him on the Defense test.
"Sure, you're my wife and I always want you to do your best. Of course, I think our next conversation with Remus is going to be very fun," he told her with a grin.
"No, Harry, you wouldn't. Would you?" she was embarrassed by her missed question.
"Of course I would, unless you can persuade me not to," he told her with a large grin.
Ginny instantly understood what he was saying. A quick glance to the two older women showed her very interested smiles. "Uh..."
"We can talk about this later, we shouldn't bore Professors McGonagall and Marchbanks with that conversation." Harry kept the grin on his face.
Ginny knew boredom would not describe that conversation. The reason not to have it now was to prevent either of the two older witches from having a heart attack or a stroke, though she suspected the two older professors knew exactly what Harry was alluding to, as they had been young once. On the other hand, this situation was not necessarily bad. The last time she had something like this to hold over Harry, she had gotten several wonderful dates and a weekend in Dublin out of it. "Of course, dear. You mentioned you had other news for us, Professor Marchbanks?"
Griselda Marchbanks seemed to chuckle under her breath. "Because we have had a perfect score, and the near perfect score would have caused this too, it seems that the understanding of Defense Against the Dark Arts is advancing. Another data point is that the average score on this test is now an Exceed Expectations. That tells us we need to revise the test to keep up with the current state of the art, as it were. The test needs to get harder. Since you two are now professors in the subject, and you two are the ones who made the high scores, we would like your input and help in devising the new test. We would have followed our policy to do this last year, but we, as a board, decided to wait one extra year as we wanted to see what score Mrs. Potter made, in order to compare it to you, Mr. Potter."
"Seriously?" Harry asked. The examiner nodded. "If I can ask, since it's a policy to update the test, when was the last time it was updated?"
"We make very slight changes to it every year, so the questions cannot be memorized by the students and given to the next year, but the last major revision and change happened approximately one hundred and forty years ago. That was triggered by a near-perfect score by one Albus Dumbledore," she informed them with a smile.
Harry chuckled at that, while Ginny and Minerva had huge smiles on their faces. "That's fitting, I suppose," he said when he could. "How soon do you need this done, Professor?"
Marchbanks pulled a small but thick sheaf of papers out of her robes and handed it over to the young man, which he enlarged to normal size. "This is a copy of the master of the test, with its many optional parts that we switch around from year to year. We would like a new version of this by the beginning of the next term, which I believe is on the 3rd of January."
"It is," McGonagall agreed.
"Very well, we can do that. I assume you'll take our input and then make whatever changes you feel appropriate?" Harry asked.
"Yes, we will," the head examiner agreed. "Please guard that most carefully. Even though it will be replaced, much of the subject does not change and I would not be surprised to see a good portion of the new version to be like the old version. However, please feel free to change and add what you like. We will take it all as a strong recommendation."
"I understand," Harry said. Ginny agreed too.
"Very well then. Please contact me when you have something for the Examination Board. If you don't mind, I'd like to have a few minutes with Minerva here," Marchbanks pleasantly told them.
"Thank you for answering my question," Ginny told the old witch as she stood. Harry gave a small bow and the couple left.
As they walked back to their quarters, Ginny told Harry with a chuckle, "You know what Ron would have given year before last to hold that stack of papers you have in your hand, before he had to take his NEWTs?"
"Plenty. But imagine what what Hermione would say if she knew you and I were making the new test?" Harry laughed at that.
"We should invite them over for dinner and tease them with it," Ginny suggested.
"I doubt they're free. They just got back from their honeymoon, and Ron is about to start his second season for the Cannons. You know, we really do need to get some tickets from him for one of his games."
Ginny looked at her husband. "Are you serious? It's the Cannons. We want tickets for two good teams."
"Yeah, but how about when the Cannons play a good team. It will be a short game, but then we'll have time to go out afterward with them." Harry looked ahead and saw a prefect standing at their door, looking for him, obviously.
"What do you need, Mr. Tuttle?" Harry called out. The prefect stopped knocking at the door to find his Head of House walking up behind him, a professor who was only four years older than he was.
It took Harry only a few minutes to answer the questions before the prefect went back to the Tower to straighten things out. He looked at his wife as she sat on the couch thumbing through the huge copy of the Defense test Professor Marchbanks had given them. "Ginny, I know that in some sense we have nearly one hundred and fifty kids with all those in Gryffindor Tower, but what do you think about having a few with the last name of Potter in a few years?"
She looked at him in surprise. "What brought that thought on, dear?"
"Don't know," he said. "Maybe I'm just growing up and getting old enough to care."
Ginny snorted. "Right. You just turned nineteen, Harry."
"I'm not saying I want you pregnant right now, so please keep on the potion. But I'm starting to warm to the idea. You know, maybe in two or three years," he suggested.
She stood and walked over to him and put her arms around him. "Is that the price of your silence to Moony?"
"No way! For that, I'm thinking you need to plan a long weekend on the French Rivera for us over Christmas. I think four or five days in the warm sun at that time of the year would probably keep me silent, at least as long as I see the plans for the trip in the next week," he told her with a smirk.
"Uh, huh," she drawled.
"Yeah, I want some time to just lie in the sun, but also don't forget to plan some fun things too. Feel free to make it a whole week if you want," Harry told her.
Ginny pulled herself up and kissed him. "The things I do for you. So, how many kids to do you want, Harry? I know you once told me you wanted enough to make sure the Potter name didn't die out, but how many is that really?"
"Don't know Gin, how about we just figure it out when we get there? When we get tired of having new babies in the house, we'll stop."
"Harry, you know I've always wanted a large family. Are you sure about that?" she asked.
"I think so, but we have time to discuss it. Like I said, I'm not ready for you to get pregnant tonight, although..." Harry reached down and grabbed her behind the legs and back; she shrieked as he picked her up and then started walking towards the bedroom. "We could practice a little tonight..."
(Mon 24 Dec 2012)
Ginny was gently pushing Emily back and forth in her rolling bassinet as she watched her husband pull more presents out of a bag and enlarge them before he put them under the Christmas tree. Harry was almost acting like a little kid as he laid out all the presents and arranged them. Perhaps part of the reason was the sheer number of presents he was taking care of. Ginny had not bothered to count, but there were probably over fifty of them.
"Harry," she softly called to him from the couch.
"Yes, love," he answered as he expanded a training broom for one of their children, she was not sure which.
"I think I'm ready to stop."
"Stop what, dear?"
"I'm ready to stop having new babies for Christmas. I think Emily should be the last one."
Harry quit pulling presents out and dropped the bag in his hand. He walked over to her and knelt before her. "Really? Are you sure? We can have more if you want."
She nodded. "Really. I think anyone would call twelve children a large family. I mean, we even had to have two other suites attached to our quarters to have enough bedrooms, and as Headmaster, you have the largest quarters in the whole castle. You have seven boys to carry on the family name, as well as five girls to dote over; and you have a fat wife now."
He smiled at her. "I'll agree with everything you said except for the last part. Yes, you still have a little baby weight, but you've always gone back down to almost your original size. In fact, I don't know how you do it."
A sigh escaped her. "I work hard at it, but it also gets harder each time. I don't know that I'm going to get much smaller than this," she said with a pout.
Her husband pulled her into a hug. "And if you never lose another pound, I'll still be happy with you and think you're the prettiest woman I could have. So you're one size bigger all over..."
"Try three, Harry..." she retorted with some exasperation.
"OK, three. You carry it well, and some of it looks good on your too." He started to slide his hands up her body.
"Ut, uh, Harry. Don't touch those or I'll start leaking. It's almost time to feed Emily. Besides, all that weight didn't go to just that one spot."
Harry sighed. "Look Ginny, give it a little more time and I'm sure you'll be fine, but I meant what said. I'll happily love you just the way you are." She did not say anything. "Maybe we just need to get you out of our quarters more. Are you ready to go back to teaching Defense? Maybe that would help some."
"Yes, I suppose I'm ready to start teaching again. You're right that dueling with the students will keep me on my toes."
"It will, and look what it did to Hermione while she and I covered for you. I think she said she lost some weight. I guess Ron will have to start chasing her around the castle now."
Ginny laughed. Hermione seemed to prefer the more sedentary life that teaching Transfiguration allowed, while Ron seemed to like the outdoors that Care of Magical Creatures required. He had taken over Hagrid's position after a Quidditch injury, and when the half-giant had wanted to move to France and get married. She was still not sure how her best friend had convinced her brother to stop at two children, though Hermione adored every one of Ginny's.
"You know, maybe I'll start going back to the Manor for an hour every morning. We still have all that exercise equipment there," she thought out loud.
"I don't see why not. I could come join you if you like. Working out could help me too." Harry slapped his stomach a couple of times.
Ginny giggled. Harry was still as thin as ever at thirty-five and he still had most of his build from when he was eighteen. She suspected he snuck off to the Room of Requirement and worked out there still, but she was not sure. "I think not, Harry, at least not at first. Let me get to be just one size too big, then you can join me."
"All right," he agreed. "Why don't you feed Emily while I finish with the presents? When you're done, we can go to bed and work on the brother Emily will never have," he told her with a teasing grin and a quick kiss.
"Har-ry! You're incorrigible," she told him.
"Perhaps, but the real problem is that I find you irresistible."
Ginny's heart beat wildly as she considered what a wonderful husband she had. She would show him what she could still do as soon as her daughter was fed and put to bed.
(Tue 25 May 2083)
James Harry Potter watched the large Potter clan leave the master bedroom of Potter Manor. They had been able to fit in only because everyone had stood very close together. As the room emptied, only his mother, who was sitting in a chair beside the bed, himself, his first son Remus, his first grandson Bill, and his first great-grandson Ian were left behind.
With a slow but still strong voice, Harry James Potter told his grandson, "Remus, get the things out of my study and bring them in here, the cot first please."
"Harry, are you sure you really should do this?" his frail but still spry wife asked.
"For the hundredth time, yes dear. I'm dying from whatever I have that even Hermione can't figure out, and I want to do this before I can't do magic anymore. Plus you know I'll wait for you on the other side. Bill, you and Ian come help me up." The two youngest men helped the patriarch of the family up and over to the cot Remus had set up, before Remus went back to the study for more things.
As Harry was laid on the cot, he watched Remus set it all up. He had picked Remus specifically for this. He was one of the smartest of his offspring and was in line to become Headmaster of Hogwarts soon. Harry loved his son James, but James had never excelled in magic. He knew people and had great heart, which had made him an excellent Minister for Magic for over twenty years, but for Harry's last act of magic, he needed someone like Remus. His grandson was well named for Harry's long gone friend. Harry was saddened as he considered his closest friends, most of them departed after various accidents over the years. They had always been an active lot.
Harry now had a little table on each side of him, with a piece of granite two feet on a side and two inches thick on one table, and a pedestal of granite three feet high on the other table. Harry opened his shirt up and took the platinum key the size of his hand from Remus and laid it on his bare chest.
Before he could do anything else, Ginny came over and hugged him. "I love you Harry, and you can not truly leave me."
"I love you too Ginny, with all my heart. You don't have to do it, you know, I'll wait for as long as I have to."
She whispered into his ear for him alone, "It can not be any other way, Harry. As you must be true to yourself, so must I." Ginny tenderly kissed him and then stepped back to her chair and sat again.
James was not sure what to make of that conversation, especially as he had not heard his mum's whispers, but he could tell it had been significant by the look on his father's face.
"Remus? You have the book?"
"Yes Grandfather, I have The Book of Potter." He opened the book with all the family spells to the last page.
Harry had created it years ago. It had also been the cause of one of the biggest fights between he and Ginny over their relatively happy marriage of eighty-six years. He had charmed the book to only be openable and readable only by male Potters, so it would be kept in the family. To end the dispute, Harry had finally relented and made it readable by any Potter, but only a male could add to it. It would be passed down from first-born male to first-born male. Hence, the current occupants in the room; plus Ginny, whom he wanted there anyway.
"If this works, Remus, all of you, it can not ever be shared. The magic is too powerful," Harry instructed them.
Remus chuckled. "That's not a problem, grandfather. I don't know of anyone else who's powerful and skilled enough to do this magic."
Harry smiled. "Everyone, stand back." Harry reached out and grabbed the slab of granite with his left hand, and a corner of the pedestal's top with his right hand.
Everyone present listened to Harry Potter start to chant. Remus followed along in the book. His grandfather made no mistakes. He could not understand how his grandfather did this. Not only did the spell take a lot of magic, but it was done wandlessly. And how he had figured out the process and the spell mystified the younger man. After nearly two minutes, Harry spoke the final words of the spell and there was a great flash of light that blinded everyone in the room, before all that light and energy was sucked back towards the key so there was complete darkness for a split second.
When he could see again, Remus looked over to see his mother kneeling beside his father's body -- a body that had its arms hanging limply and was not breathing. Ignoring his emotions for the moment, Remus walked over and moved the granite slab to the floor, he shrunk the pedestal so it fit into his pocket and then picked up the platinum key off of his grandfather's chest. The once plain key now had an emerald stone in the big round handled end.
Pulling out the original Potter Family key, he touched his wand to it and left for the Potter vault in Gringotts. There, he enlarged the new pedestal and set it down in the vault next to the other pedestal that looked just like it. Putting the original key into his pocket, he touched his wand to the key that had come from his grandfather's magic. A second later, he was standing on the slab of granite in the master bedroom of Potter Manor. Testing again, he was back in the vault in front of the new pedestal, then back to Potter Manor.
"It works as expected, Dad," Remus said. "Grandfather has recovered the lost knowledge and given us a second key by infusing all of his magic into the device." The man put the two keys down, motioned to his son and grandson, and the three walked out to find their families.
"Mum..." their oldest sadly called.
"Leave me. I want to be alone with my husband."
"James! Don't make me hex you out that door. I will if I have to," she told him with teary and fiery eyes.
Her son looked at his mum, who had no wand on her, but that would not stop her from doing magic. She was one hundred and two, but he knew better than to go against her when she had that look on her face. He had seen it too many times as he grew up, as she handled twelve rambunctious children, which included two sets of twins. "Very well, I'll come back later and help you downstairs then."
As James turned to leave, he heard her start to sob. The last thing he saw before he closed the door was his mother putting her arm over his father's chest and sob, "Wait for me dearest..."
When he arrived downstairs, he saw his Aunt Hermione, the last of her generation along with his mother. "I'm sorry, Auntie, he passed on just a few minutes ago."
"I know, Remus told me. What is in this overly large crate over here?" she asked in her usual no-nonsense tone and brisk manner. She still had her "Professor Tone" and James instantly answered her.
"That crate has the coffin Mum ordered. It arrived only a couple of hours ago. I don't know why it was brought in here," the man answered.
"For the family viewing, of course. It is custom."
"Of course, Auntie. Shall I go up and bring Mum down so you can talk to her?"
"You left her alone?" Hermione looked amazed.
"Yes, she asked to be alone for a few minutes."
Hermione stood back up from her chair. "When is the family viewing and the funeral to be?"
"We'll have Dad's funeral day after tomorrow at three. The viewing will be in the morning. It will be here so we can avoid all the reporters and any crowds."
"As he would like it. Very well, I'll come back then for both of their funerals," Hermione told him.
"Really now, James. Look at the size of this coffin. Did you not notice it was twice the normal width? And why did you think she sent you away at the end? I don't think those two have been apart for more than a few hours at any one time for the last fifty years. She's not going to start now." She cast her disapproving look normally reserved for dim students as she harrumphed, "Really."
James watched his aunt leave the living room to go back to her house. As everything settled into his brain, he turned and ran up the stairs. Opening the door to the master bedroom, he found his mother draped over his father, and she was paler than she should be. His aunt was right, as usual. It would be a double funeral, but James Harry Potter could tell by the happy look on her face, his mother was where she wanted to be, and that was how fate had meant it to be.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the story if you've made it this far. :-) As you can tell, I will not be adding any more onto the end of this story. However, I have others out there you are welcome to read; and I have at least four more coming, though two of them are only in "notes form" at this time. If you add me as a "favorite author" (see link at the top of this page), you'll receive an email notificatoin when those come out. -- kb