11th August 2000

It is Ginny's nineteenth birthday. The orchard behind The Burrow is full of Weasleys and assorted friends. An impromptu Quidditch match has just finished, and the losing team – Charlie's – are enduring good-natured ribbing from Harry's victorious players.

Victoire, cuddled in her grandmother's arms, manages to sleep through it all. The party is breaking up. People are draining their wine glasses, snatching a last piece of birthday cake, calling goodbyes.

Bill, coming to reclaim his daughter, has a sudden vision of his mother cradling another baby girl a long time ago. She is sitting up in a hospital bed, and the baby is smaller and has redder hair than Victoire, but the blanket wrapping the tiny body is pink. Definitely a girl. But – and this makes no sense at all – it cannot be Ginny. He himself is too small; his father is holding Charlie, who cannot be more than two years old; none of the others are there. He shakes his head to get rid of the image, deciding that he has had too much to drink, that he is imagining things.

He smiles at his mother. "Can we have our daughter back?"

Molly kisses the sleeping baby, and hands her over reluctantly. "I was thinking I might keep her…"

Bill laughs. "Not a chance!"

He is preoccupied as he and Fleur gather up the baby paraphernalia that accompanies them everywhere these days, and Disapparate back to Shell Cottage. He cannot get the image of his mother and the other baby girl out of his mind.

He resolves to ask his father about it.