Harry was a smart guy. Not book-smart, necessarily, but he got by. He could fix the kitchen sink, with or without magic depending on the problem. He could do his own taxes… kind of. Heck, he even got James and Albus through learning how to tie their shoes.
Overall, you could say that Harry was a good dad. He knew how to chase threatening monsters out from under the bed. He could count to 57 and a 1/3 during hide and seek, which always impressed Al because all he knew how to do was 'skip a few'. He also knew to answer the 'why' questions with 'why not?'
But all it took to overthrow the winning streak was one little girl, particularly one with big brown eyes and a question that every parent feared.
"Where do babies come from?"
Lily blinked back.
Harry hid behind his newspaper. "Go ask your mother."
Lily tried to catch Harry's attention. She jumped up and down. She waved her arms. She poked the paper. She huffed. Harry Potter, the Great and Powerful and Really Really Good at Getting Fanged Frisbees from Trees had disappeared from behind the newspaper and had apparently left his legs behind.
This left Lily with a problem. Daddies were supposed to know this stuff. What was a kid but a baby in reverse?
Seeing that asking Harry's legs wasn't going to work, Lily left for greener pastures.
That didn't take long. Al was a man of the world. He was strong, fearless and a whole two years older. He knew that slugs were slimy because dogs sneezed on them a lot. It was gross and not something Lily needed to know, but it meant he might know something about babies.
Lily came up to him while he was coloring. One day Aunt 'Moine gave him his own set after he had broken all of Hugo's. But when you were like Al, nothing stayed put together for very long.
"Where do babies come from?"
Al looked up at his sister. He had a blue crayon. His teeth looked blue. He must have been chewing on the crayon. "I think they come from a garden."
Lily blinked. "Why would a baby come from a garden?"
"Gran-ma and Gran-pa have babies in their garden."
"Those aren't babies," Lily said. "Those are gnomes."
"Gnomes are just really ugly babies that bite you."
"But they don't have mommies or daddies and babies do."
Evidence like that was hard to argue with. Al just shrugged. "Gnomes are better anyway. You can throw them."
Logic like that was also hard to argue with but it really didn't answer Lily's question.
So Lily left Al to his coloring and went to seek out someone else to ask.
James was smart and tall. Tall was good. He had been Lily's brother longer than Lily had been around. That was a start.
Lily found him in the backyard with a bat and his baseball. A while back, they went to America and saw a baseball game. It looked stupid and was really boring, but James thought it was really cool. So their dad bought him a bat and put a spell on the ball to make it come back whenever James was able to hit it. Then after a while, he put a spell on it so it would avoid all windows.
She sat down in the grass and watched James throw it in the air and swing. The ball didn't need to come back since it landed in the grass. So James picked it up and tried to hit it again.
He finally got it on the 3rd try, but it only got to the tree. From where she was sitting, Lily could run to that tree as fast as you could say 'noodle butt' without trying. It wasn't really that far.
But she still clapped because James liked to have people watch him practice. And she wanted to get on his good graces so she could ask her question. James smiled and tried again. This time it got to the fence. Lily made sure to clap twice as fast to make it sound like more people.
Lily watched for a while but got bored rather quickly. James had managed to lose the ball in the tree once, scare the neighbor's cat and knock the ball over the fence. But the ball had been too stupid to come back over it and got stuck between the posts. James had to go rescue it.
When he came back, Lily was squirming but still in her place. James gave her a weird look.
"What do you want?"
"What do you mean?"
"You're just sitting there."
"Like a fat hairy wart."
At that point, Lily would have run and tattled. But tattling meant that James wouldn't answer her question.
"Can I ask you something?"
"You just did."
"Well I wanna ask something else."
"Ok. What is it?"
"Where do babies come from?"
James looked at her funny. "Why do you wanna know that?"
Lily shrugged. "Cause Aunt Fleur is going to have a baby and she says she doesn't know where it came from. So if I knew, I could tell her."
James thought about it for a moment. "Salmon."
"What are you talking about?"
"Yea. A girl gets a baby from eating a salmon."
Lily didn't know what to say to that. So she threw James's ball and it got wedged in the fence again. That made up for not being able to tattle on him.
Things would have been fine since their mother had been out shopping and Lily had run out of people to ask. Ginny didn't come home until much later. Sure, it had only been a couple of hours, but four year olds tended to forget about questions if they weren't right in front of them.
The day was fairly normal. Ginny cooked. Harry did daddy things, like pay whoever that 'Bill' guy was. James did James things, like being a jerk. And Al did Al things, like be stupid. And Lily did Lily things. Like be cute and adorable and all that. And because Lily was a good little girl, she helped set the table and make the salad, even if she accidentally dumped the entire jar of dressing onto the lettuce. Ginny just laughed and scooped off the extra, because mommies were good like that.
It wasn't until they all sat down until Lily noticed what they were having.
"What is this?"
Before you could say 'pickles up your nose' three times fast, Lily was running down the hall screaming.
It didn't take long for Ginny to find Lily. Ginny had a Mommy-Radar. It was an old trick Gran-ma had taught her. Just sniff out for sugar and spice and everything nice and you find Lily Potter. Or it might have been because Lily had red hair and was hiding under the glass coffee table. Either way, Ginny didn't scold her for leaving the dinner table or knocking over her juice or screaming like a frog with a stick in its ear. Instead she scooped Lily up and blew a raspberry on the back of her neck. Because mommies are good like that.
Ginny was a good mommy. She could understand what it was like to be the baby and want to be a big girl. She knew what it was liked to have smelly older brothers who didn't pick up their socks. She knew that Lily liked strawberry jam on her toast without crusts. But most importantly, she knew that no matter how many dresses Gran-ma wanted to put Lily in, what she wanted as a pair of trousers so she could play with the smelly older brothers.
Ginny sat on the couch and held her for a while. Lily liked it. There was no noise and no smelly brothers. Snuggle time was very important to Lily. She hoped that she would always be small enough to snuggle. When she told Ginny this, Ginny had said she also wished for Lily to always be small enough to snuggle. Ginny was very warm and Lily soon got to be very sleepy.
"Honey?" Ginny asked.
"Don't you like salmon?"
"I just don't want a baby, Mommy."
"Yea! James said that girls have babies because they eat salmon and then you made salmon for dinner!"
Ginny blinked at her daughter, sweet and innocent and trusting. "Trust me, Lily. Girls don't have babies because they eat salmon."
"But James said-!"
Ginny laughed. "Since when do you listen to James?"
Lily had to admit, Ginny did have a point. "So where do babies come from?"
If this question surprised Ginny, Ginny had the good sense not to show it. Instead, she started to tell Lily very strange things, using odd words like womb, fetus, umbilical cord- Each part got weirder and weirder, and by the time it was over, Lily's eyes were as wide as saucers.
"Well," Ginny finally said. "Does that answer your question?"
Lily didn't answer for quite a while. It was a lot to take in. Maybe she should have just let it drop when Al told her about the gnomes. But Lily was a curious sort of kid, and she had something nagging at her.
"What did Daddy have to do with it?"
Ginny smiled so wide that Lily could almost count all her teeth. If only she could count that high.
"Well why don't you go ask him?"
That sounded like a great idea, especially since Harry didn't have a newspaper and couldn't hide behind it.
Lily ran down the hall as fast as her little legs could carry her.
Ginny counted down the numbers on her fingers. 'Five… four… three… two…'