Happy New Year! I'm now checking off one resolution as I finally finish this fic. Thank you readers for waiting. I hope you take the extra length and the presence of a lot of characters in this chapter as part of my apology. Also, when I've wrapped up some of my other already posted works, I do plan to do a complementary one-shot fic that shows the development of Ginny and Luna's friendship because I wound up with a lot of stuff that just didn't flow with the this tale. Now, without further ado...
"So that is all Xeno knows right now. No one has heard from her in weeks and owls are returning undelivered." Ginny sighed. "I thought we were done with mysterious disappearances."
"Now Ginny, you can't give up hope so soon. Luna survived in Voldemort's lair for four months. The jungles of the Amazon will be a piece of cake."
Ginny gave a snort.
"And didn't she write to you that she had joined forces with some other zoologist? The two of them probably just got sidetracked discovering some new species of skewrt or something." Neville actually got a smile at that.
"You're probably right, Neville. I just had to talk to you because I told Xeno I would let you know what happened, and you always have a good way of looking at things."
"Yeah, well, just because we can't reach her, we don't have to jump to conclusions about something bad. She did, purposely, go into the middle of the jungle. It's not like she decided to fly around thousands of feet from the ground with charmed balls trying to knock her back down."
"Hey, I'm retired now. You two are the ones that go to the middle of nowhere for fun, like when you disappeared in Mongolia for a couple weeks…"
"I was just trying to put this in perspective. And we are nowhere near the eleven days I spent not writing. Now Hannah likes to remind me of the exact time, while you hardly remember. What is really making you worry so much? Something else you'd like to tell me?" Neville smiled like he knew something he shouldn't.
"No…What are you on about?" Ginny asked, now confused.
"I just want to know if congratulations are in order."
"I don't know what you're talking about? What tabloid rag have you been reading, so I can hex the editor into next year?" Ginny began to feel defensive. There was no way Neville could know…
"Oh, don't overreact. As far as I know, nobody has printed anything about you since the whole 'who's Albus's father' mess."
Ginny groaned. "We're not going to talk about that. What have you heard and where did you hear it?"
"Healer Strout mentioned you had been seen in the maternity wing when I visited my parents on Saturday..."
"Good to know that healer-patient confidentiality is in full-force," Ginny interrupted. "I haven't even told Harry yet."
Neville rolled his eyes. "Hallways are not confidential. And you're overreacting, worried, like your mother."
"Oh really, thanks Neville."
"Stop, what I mean is that you have never been the one to worry about things. Seems two kids and another on the way, you have grown up a little."
"Remind me why I'm friends with you?" Ginny retorted, though she smiled to let him know she appreciated his efforts to make her feel better.
Neville followed suit. "I should ask myself the same thing. It's taken you how long to come see my new office, and you still haven't even said anything about it."
Now feeling calmer, Ginny took a moment to look around the office that had once belonged to Professor Sprout, but was now all Neville's. Shelves lined the walls, holding a wide array of plants, many Ginny couldn't even name. The only thing that didn't seem to be growing was the pile of student essays and pictures of Hannah and the kids. Her eyes narrowed and she pointed to a picture of Luna and Neville pelting her with snowballs from early in her sixth year.
"Where did you get that?"
"Seamus took it and after everything, he gave it to me. I find that the kids like to know their professor was once a kid like them."
"So your students are clumsy outcasts that turn into leaders of underground resistance movements?"
"Ha ha, you'd be surprised how many first-years are convinced I will feed them to the devil's snare I supposedly keep in Greenhouse 3."
"A very real concern since one almost got Ron in his first-year. How many try to sneak in and touch it?"
"It's now in Greenhouse 5 for a reason."
"Ginny, don't you have something to ask me?" Harry said as he came downstairs from putting the boys to bed.
Ginny put down the day's paper.
"I hope the question is 'what are you talking about,' because I have no idea," she replied.
Harry laughed and sat beside her.
"I was thinking that we haven't discussed any names yet," Harry said.
"What? And why are you bringing it up? You hate talking about it," Ginny accused.
"I wouldn't say hate. And I don't know…I'm guess I'm kinda excited. We're going to have a little girl, just as beautiful, just as smart as her mother."
Ginny gave a noncommittal groan as Harry continued.
"I also have a name in mind, but you probably already know that."
"Oh. What is it?"
Harry stopped short in leaning over to kiss his wife's cheek. "OK, what's wrong?"
"I'm just not in the mood for talking about this right now."
"You've been quiet all night. What happened today?"
"Nothing…just, I talked to Xeno," Ginny said sighing.
"No news then?"
Ginny shook her head. "She doesn't even know about the baby. And she said after she missed Albus's birth, she'd be here in person for the next one."
Harry pulled her close and rubbed her back. Eventually she leaned her head back to look up at him.
"I like it." He almost didn't hear her.
"Lily. I don't have a middle name, but I like Lily."
"Fine, fine, we'll have plenty of time to talk about it later, plenty of time." He continued holding her until she fell asleep.
When the Potters finally flooed home from a day at the Burrow, Harry carried the boys upstairs and put them to bed. Ginny sat down on her own bed wondering if she had overreacted earlier. Her sisters-in-law had suggested the name Nymphadora, but in the moment it was hard to remember that they didn't know Tonks like she had. She would have to find some way to explain the problem to them.
A soft knock interrupted her thoughts. Harry wouldn't knock, Albus and James were too asleep…
"Teddy, it's open," she said as she leaned up from the headboard. The boy was spending time with his god-family while Andromeda took a much deserved vacation. Ginny noticed immediately how upset Teddy was and how hard he was trying to hide it. She patted the mattress beside her, beckoning him to sit. "What's wrong?"
He sat down, but stiffened as she put an arm around him. Was he mad at her or just at that age when he didn't want to be touched?
"Whatever it is Teddy, you can tell me."
She was slightly surprised by his answer. "You were upset today."
She had half-hoped the kids wouldn't notice.
"It had nothing to do with you."
He chewed his bottom lip. He could be very contemplative when upset. Even with blue hair, the look on his face made him look exactly like Remus. Her thoughts were interrupted when he finally spoke.
"You don't want to name the baby after my mum," he said, slowly and carefully.
"What do you mean? Where did you hear that?"
"I heard Aunt Hermione telling Uncle Ron that you had went crazy when she suggested the name Nymphadora… You don't care about Mum!"
The accusation took her by surprise. She took a deep breath before speaking, reminding herself that he was only nine.
"Your mother was like a big sister to me. She was there for me when the rest of the family was busy with the war. She always made time for me. What would make you think I didn't care about her?"
"She's a war hero, but you don't want to name the baby after her."
"Whoa. That isn't it at all…"
"But Aunt Hermione said…"
"I don't care what you overheard Hermione say. Do you want to know why I'm not naming the baby Nymphadora?"
His eyes narrowed in frustration, but he still nodded yes.
"Your mother hated, and I do mean hated, her first name…"
"What does that…"
"Let me finish. She hated the name Nymphadora. When she first found out she was pregnant and I asked her if she had any names, she told me anything but Nymphadora. 'There was no way she would pass such a name on to any other poor, unsuspecting, helpless child,' she said. Your father disagreed, but then, well, you turned out to be a boy and it wasn't a problem."
"But what does that have to do with you naming the baby?"
"Everything. If I wanted to honor your mother, then why would I name the baby the one name she wouldn't give her own child?"
"But you told Uncle George that Snape was rolling over in his grave because you named Albus after him."
She hung her head in frustration. "No, no, no, I wasn't trying to make Snape happy. I respected your mother too much to do something that would irritate her like this would. Does that make any sense?"
She could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he tried to make sense of it all. Ginny hoped for both of their sakes he could understand.
"Yeah…but I…er…but Aunt Hermione was right that you should have a baby named after my parents. I mean, James is named after the other two marauders and…"
"Teddy, did you think maybe we already had a son named after your father and with a name your mother would have loved?"
He scrunched his face in confusion and shook his head. Ginny pulled him close.
"You, silly. Teddy Remus Lupin."
"But…" his eyes began to tear up, even though he was trying to hide it.
Ginny pulled him into a hug.
"Your mother named you after the two most important men in her life, your grandfather and your father. She agonized over your name more than anything she had ever done before. The only way I know to honor her memory with my kids is to make sure you know that as much as you are your mother's son, you're mine too in every way that matters."
The tough act melted away as he wrapped his arms around her.
"I love you Teddy, just as much as I love Albus and James. I love you, and the new baby who won't be named Nymphadora."
"So what will she be?"
"That's a good question. Your godfather wants her to be Lily. More than that, I just don't know, Teddy, I just don't know."
Ginny had trouble concentrating on her work of writing up the new player transactions as she thought back to the letter she had received from her best friend. Apparently, Luna and some other zoologist named Rolf had gone out together and gotten so wrapped up following some creature that they went in too far to be able to communicate. According to Luna, they were never in any danger. Sometimes Luna's assuredness could get on Ginny's nerves.
"If it isn't my favorite journalist! I come bearing gifts."
Ginny looked up to see her former captain plop down in the empty chair next to her desk. Gwenog was now the owner of the Hollyhead Harpies.
"Oh Gwenog, please tell me you've uncovered a potion-taking ring or something. I need something to liven up the section," Ginny told her old boss.
"Thankfully for me, no I haven't, but can I start a rumor about the Tornados anyway?" Ginny mock-glared. Gwenog sighed in disappointment. "Oh well, even if that's the case, you can still have your present. I even wrapped it."
"I'm intrigued…" Ginny said as she took the present from her friend. She unwrapped the snitch-covered paper to reveal a small baby shirt in Harpies colors. It was like the ones found in stores, but this one had the name Potter stitched on the back.
"Aww, it's wonderful. Thank you," Ginny said.
"You're welcome. We're all thrilled that one of our greatest chasers is finally having a girl," Gwenog replied.
"That's nice. The baby doesn't even have a name yet, and you're already beginning the recruitment pitch."
"The key to recruiting is start early."
"She might not inherit my flying skills…"
"Shh, don't say things like that. Combining your genes with the youngest Hogwarts seeker in a century…oh…I'll take half that in a player. Oh, it's going to be great."
Ginny laughed. "Love the gift, but please wait until she has a name before you start clearing places in the trophy cabinet."
"OK…but how is it that she doesn't have a name yet? You and Harry usually have like one quick conversation and done."
"Yeah, well, as you and my sisters-in-law have pointed out, I've only had boys. Apparently, girls' names are beyond my ability."
"They didn't really say that?" Ginny nodded. "They're wrong."
Ginny rested her head in her hands. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, but Harry's come up with a name, and every day that passes without me having an idea, I start believing it more and more."
"I think your problem is a bit more."
"Really? And what, oh wise captain, is the problem?"
"You've run out of dead people."
Ginny quickly sat up straight. "What?"
"You heard me. All that names you've done so far have been dead people. I get the importance of the war for both of you, but I think, deep down, you know you've run out of dead people."
"Gwenog! I don't regret any of my children's names. You've really lo…"
"Hold up, kid. I didn't say you had regrets. I just think the same thing won't work for your little girl. Surely you know some war heroes that didn't die. You shouldn't feel obligated to name your kid after someone dead."
Ginny exhaled. "Maybe... I don't know..."
"Just think about it."
Ginny sat on the bridge she and Luna used as a meeting spot when they were kids. She knew she would need to return to the Burrow soon, but really she needed a few minutes away.
She turned her head as a burly redheaded broom rider landed at the end of the bridge.
"Don't tell me the search party has already been sent out."
"No, I told them I would come get you, so just me, but I can bring the party."
Ginny grinned. "Oh Charlie, just how did you know where to find me?"
"You used to sneak out on our brooms and come here to meet Luna," Charlie answered, quite sure of himself.
"How did you know that?"
"I'm your big brother. It's my job."
"When I made the quidditch team, everyone else acted surprised I could fly, so how did you find out about that plus this old place?"
"No one touches my broom without me knowing. And the Christmas break after my seventeenth birthday, I was finally able to put a tracking charm on you and followed you here. You having someone other than Ron to play with, and a girl at that, seemed like a good idea, I let it go."
"I always like it when you are surprisingly observant."
"I don't know why it's always a surprise. I have a dangerous job where I have to pay attention or the rest of me will match my hair. And you're avoiding what we should be talking about which is why you felt the need to run away from the family."
Ginny let out a sigh.
"Everyone keeps offering their name suggestions, which really aren't helping."
"You could call her Charlotte and everyone would leave you alone."
Ginny glared at him. "No, I am not naming any of my kids after any brothers. I'm not opening that can of worms."
Charlie snorted. "I was joking, but why did you walk all the way out here when a well-aimed bat-bogey hex would have made everyone leave you alone?"
"I just thought being here might help. I mean, I'm glad Luna's not lost anymore, but I wish she were here. I need her because I've been feeling like I'm missing the obvious."
"And you think Luna could help?"
"Yeah, she always says something or does something that helps bring perspective."
"Perspective is one word for it…"
"I know I don't know her that well, but after those bridesmaid dresses… I don't know what to think…"
"I liked them. They were unique. And she is my best friend, so you should shut up now."
"OK, but you still need to come back. Mum is going crazy about where her pregnant baby girl ran off to."
"You would think by my third pregnancy she wouldn't worry so much, especially considering she did this six times."
"Yeah, she'll probably stop worrying when you get to your seventh."
"Do. Not. Ever. Suggest. That. Again."
Ginny sat with Luna and Neville at a table in the Leaky Cauldron. Luna had arrived back in the country the week before, and Neville had slipped away from Hogwarts to enjoy lunch with them.
"Everyone has all these ideas, but none of them seem to fit," Ginny complained as she sipped a glass of ice water.
"I'm sure it will come to you when you need it. You just have to relax and the naming spirits will give you a name when they are ready."
"Luna, you know I'm not the most patient of people."
"That's true, but Luna's right. You need to relax," agreed Neville. "Besides, if it's such an issue, you could name her after this really awesome woman I knew who led an army during the Second War and took on one of the most feared Death Eaters…"
Ginny rolled her eyes at the underlying suggestion of Ginevra. "Real funny… though… actually…" Ginny leaned back in her chair, considering Neville's words. Then Gwenog's words came back to her. I shouldn't feel obligated to name my kid after someone dead. She stared for a minute at Luna. "That's it! Neville you're a genius." She got up and kissed him on the cheek. "I have to go tell Harry. I'll see you guys later…Hannah, you have a wonderful man!" she called towards the bar before flooing home.
"Harry! Where are you?" she called the minute she stopped spinning.
"Right here," he whispered from the coach. Ginny's mind slowed down to notice her husband lying on the couch with James sprawled on top. "I finally got him to nap," Harry added as he maneuvered himself from under the sleeping three year old. Harry kissed her cheek and led her into the dining room.
"So, what as you so excited that you came in yelling at naptime?"
"You got them to nap?"
"Why are you so surprised? I'm getting the hang of this father business."
Ginny looked questioningly at her husband. "That's true, but something seems off…Are you up to something?"
Harry shook his head in confusion.
"Oh well, just forget it. Let's go in the kitchen. I have something to tell you," Ginny whispered.
Harry took a seat at the table next to his wife and waited for her to speak.
"I came up with a name."
Harry's eyes widened. Ginny had been so touchy about the subject of names that he had purposely not mentioned it around her.
"Really? Well what is it?"
"Sure you're ready?"
"Yes… And don't worry. I trust you. I'm sure it's great. Now can I hear it?"
Harry cocked his head to the side for a second before answering. "Perfect, I love it."
"You aren't just saying that because I finally suggested something and you think I'd feel bad if you didn't like it, are you?"
"No, I really like it. I know how much Luna means to you, and goodness knows she's been there for me in her own unique way. I like it," Harry explained.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, of course. She's always been great; she always trusted me throughout the war and remember her maid of honor speech? I like it."
"So, we're good?" Ginny gave him a questioning look.
"Yes we are," Harry agreed. "Lily Luna it is."