Harry shifted awkwardly in his seat, glanced sideways at the baby sleeping in his basket. Ginny was slumped on the sofa, asleep herself. Her clothes were spotted with milk and baby sick, her hair mussed half over her face, but he didn't wake her. Any rest was precious lately.

James wasn't much of a sleeper.

Now, though, the dark-haired infant was sleeping, and Harry found himself unable to. And so he had decided to do what he'd been putting off for almost a fortnight now, what he felt he ought to do.

He smoothed the parchment, dipped his quill, then began to write, without pause or hesitation.

He'd already planned what to say.

Dear Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and Dudley,

I hope you're well. I'm writing just to let you know I have a son. His name is James Sirius and he's now two weeks old.


They'd know it was him without the name; who else would send owl mail to Privet Drive? But he signed it anyway, rolled and sealed it, and attached it to the family owl, which soared out of the open window.


Petunia Dursley flinched when the owl flew through her open kitchen window. It dropped its letter, then flew out again, as though not expecting a reply.

She'd gotten used to the lack of owl mail. The last owl to approach to Privet Drive had held a wedding invite. One that had been refused, but saved.

She lifted the parchment, knowing the sender would be the same. And unfurling it, she saw she was right.

"Don't tell me the boy's written, after all these years?" Vernon asked from the kitchen table. Petunia nodded.

"He...He has a son. James." She held out the note for her husband to read, but kept hold of it, knowing he would throw it after reading.

She waited until he'd left the kitchen before going upstairs, to her room and her dresser, and opening the bottom drawer. Moving some things aside, she found Harry's wedding invite, laid the letter on top. Then she replaced the clothes, closed the drawer, and left.


At Christmas, a muggle postman fought his way through the snow to the Potter's house, and knocked at the door and handed a card and package to the women who answered.

If not for the heavily falling snow, and his own desperation to get home, he might have noticed the little magical things in the garden, the odd plants, the tiny gnome which ducked behind a rock at his approach. But he didn't.

Ginny looked down at the card and package in vague interest, her son on her hip. Carrying it back into the living room, she passed it to her husband, who read the addressee with surprise.

"Harry Potter and family?" He said, then tore it open. The card was a normal Christmas card, a usual message printed inside. His aunt's neat handwriting was also inside, reading simply "To Harry, Ginny and James Potter. From Petunia, Vernon, and Dudley Dursley."

He set the card down, tore the wrapping from the parcel. A simple, baby sized red-jumped was neatly folded, a small muggle rattle nestled upon it.

"I assume they're for James." Harry managed finally. Ginny lifted the rattle, studied it.

"His magic ones are more interesting." She said, but handed it to James, who examined it with fascination.

Harry unfolded the tiny jumper. From the age of about five, the Dursleys had stopped getting him real Christmas or birthday presents.


James was tugging on his sleeve, obviously wanting attention, but Harry wanted to get the letter written now. Somewhere behind him, Ginny was feeding baby Albus, so Harry balanced his eldest son on his knee as he began to write.

Dear Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and Dudley,

Again, I hope you're all well. Just thought I'd write, tell you I have another son now. Albus Severus, we've named him.


He lifted it away from James just before he could set a sticky hand upon it. Then he rolled it, sealed it, and sent it with the owl.


Petunia Dursley jumped when the owl rapped on the glass. It was winter; the window was closed. But Vernon, after a hesitation in which the owl rapped again, got up, opened the window, and let the owl drop the scroll into his hand. He unrolled it, read it, and looked up.

"Boy's got another one." He said flatly, and handed the note to his wife. She read it, tucked it into her pocket.

And later, she stored it away with the others.


That Christmas a package arrived with the muggle postman, who, due to the lack of snow, noticed a gnome and had to have his memory charmed.

"You were supposed to de-gnome the garden weeks ago." Ginny commented, as Harry carried the parcel inside.

"Did. Must've come back." Harry replied, in what he thought – but didn't know for sure – was a lie.

"Uh-huh. Is that from...?"

Harry opened the card first; it was, again, a normal muggle card.

"To Harry, Ginny, James and Albus Potter." He read aloud. "From Petunia, Vernon, and Dudley Dursley."

This year's parcel contained a small blue jumper – for Albus – and a T-shirt for James.

"Remind me to write a thank-you note later." Harry murmured.


"Dadadadadadada!" James yelled loudly, causing Harry to wince.

"One minute, James." He called, scribbling quickly.

Lily, the one in the basket now, began to cry.

Why had he chosen to write this letter while his wife wasn't home? When he'd began, Lily was sleeping, and the boys were playing quietly. But past experience should have taught him that it wouldn't last long.

A part of him thought he shouldn't bother writing. They'd not replied to any of his other letters, after all. But they'd sent presents, even last year when he hadn't written, another present had arrived for the boys. So, after picking up his daughter and trying to soothe her, he read over what he'd written.

Dear Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and Dudley,

Hope you're all well. I have a daughter this time. Her name is Lily.

He paused there, wondering how his aunt would feel at that. Sad? Indifferent?

He shook his head a little, signed the letter, and sent it.


Petunia and Dudley were alone in the house when the owl arrived. Without any emotion on her face, Petunia unrolled the letter, read it, and then felt sudden tears gather.

Her name is Lily.

Her hand trembled slightly; she steadied it.

"Mum? What is it?" Dudley asked. Forcing an almost smile on her face, she handed him the note. Dudley read it, looked up, and without knowing Lily was named after his dead aunt, decided he must have imagined the tears in his mother's eyes. She looked fine now.

Later, she stored the letter with the others.


That Christmas, the card had Lily's name added on, and a dress added in with the two small toy cars for the boys.

"Do you think she'll send presents every year?" Ginny asked, as James and Al tried to figure out why the cars weren't moving, like their others did.

Harry shrugged. "Maybe. Maybe not."

"Do you want to...Go visit them or something...?" Ginny asked carefully; Harry shook his head.

"No. No, I really don't. I don't think they'd want to see me, either."

Ginny simply nodded, and turned to the dress. "Frills." She sighed. "And pink. Why do people give pink frilly dresses to girls? You know how many of these I used to be forced into?"

"Yes. I've seen the pictures."


Dear Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and Dudley,

Merry Christmas, and thanks for the gifts. This time, I enclose a photo, as we finally have one that isn't magical. Best wishes.

Harry and family

Petunia read the letter, and almost smiled on the bit about the photos. She remembered Lily's pictures, black and white and moving. Then she reached into the envelope, withdrew the snapshot.

Two small boys; both looked like Harry, with differences. The baby was between them, her hair already turning red, her eyes full of wonder as she looked into the camera, half-smiling.

Harry, older than she remembered him, stood behind them, and his wife – she'd been only a girl when Petunia had last seen her, too –was beside him, one hand supporting her daughter.

Vernon looked surprised when he arrived home to find a framed picture of Harry's family on a side table, but didn't comment on it, just like he hadn't commented on his wife's compulsion of saving the boy's letters.

But Petunia caught herself looking at that picture often, until the children's faces were memorised in her mind.