A/N: I don't own Harry Potter.
Well, those who've read A Floo Mishap and The Time Capsule V2010 will find the concept of this story a little bit familiar. I did mention I wrote three stories for the same challenge, didn't I? Hehe. I really had too much time on my hands. Well, anyway, I hope you like this one, too!
Hera's Helping Hand
Chapter 1: Boredom Paves Way for All
"Zeus, I'm inexplicably bored..."
Hera, goddess of marriage and childbirth, hadn't had her fun in years now. After one too many interferences with the mortals, her husband and ruler of all the gods, Zeus had forbidden her from getting in the way of nature's course. "Oh, sure, like you've never meddled with their affairs yourself," she had protested, and that had resulted with restrictions even more severe than the ones he'd already bound her with.
She was now gazing into her mirror at one particular house. She'd been watching it for a while now, actually. She had her eyes fixed on two teenagers — a boy with black hair, green eyes and a lighting-shaped scar called Harry Potter, and a girl with long red hair and warm brown eyes called Ginny Weasley. She had seen the way the girl kept looking at the boy, and the boy's obliviousness to her simply irked her. Hera wanted him to return Ginny's affections, but since she wasn't allowed to interfere there was nothing she could do to change his feelings.
Hera looked around imploringly at Zeus. "Come on, darling, I know you're bored as well," she said huskily. She walked up to his throne, her hips swinging provocatively as she did. She knelt down before him and traced circles on his thigh with her finger. "It's been ages since we've done something together. I know you want to play..."
Zeus sighed. "What are you after, Hera?" he said wearily.
She seemed perturbed that her feminine wiles didn't affect him the way she wanted. She pouted and pulled herself up onto his lap. She wrapped her arms around him and rested her head against his strong chest. "Well, I was thinking maybe we could have a paired activity this time," she suggested. She took his silence as a sign for him to continue. "There are two youngsters I've had my eye on. They are just too perfect for each other, love, but the boy is rather...daft when it comes to these things. I thought maybe we could help him come to terms with his feelings for the girl."
"Who is this boy?" he asked.
Hera hesitated. "You may have heard of him. He goes by Harry Potter," she answered meekly.
"Potter again?!" Zeus roared. Hera flinched. "I told you I never wanted to hear that name in my court again! You couldn't get enough of him, always staring at him in your mirror, spying on him when he's changing..."
Hera flushed. "You're not so innocent! You fancied what's-her-face Evans! You kept stopping her from getting together with James Potter," she said accusingly, causing him to falter. "Harry is hers and James's son. We owe them for all those years we've kept them away from each other. We must have him fall in love with that girl. Are you with me?"
Zeus grumbled, and she knew she had him. "Alright, fine," he admitted defeat. "What do you have in mind?"
Hera grinned mischievously. "Oh, I know just the thing..."
"Ron, I absolutely have no idea what you're talking about!"
"Of course you know what I'm talking about, Hermione. We discussed You-Know-Who's re-"
"I mean it! I really do not know what you're talking about!"
This was her queue. Ginny immediately knew when she wasn't wanted around; the stilted tones and raised voices were a direct sign that a serious discussion about You-Know-Who was about to start, one that she wasn't allowed to be a part of. What Hermione was really trying to tell Ron was, "Shut up, you idiot. Your sister's here!" Ginny glanced at the three who were grouped around the Burrow's kitchen table — Hermione was shooting discrete glares at Ron, who was trying to appear, or else being utterly oblivious. Harry, on the other hand, seemed rather weary.
"Never mind that now," he was saying. He gestured at the Wizard Chess board that was lying between him and Ron. "It's your move now, mate. You have to be careful; I think I'm about to win."
Ron's attention was immediately diverged as he sought to consider his next move, but not for long, Ginny observed, as Hermione looked more than ready to pounce on him again. Ginny pushed her chair away from the table and got up to her feet and they all looked at her with bated breath.
"I think I'll just go to bed now," she announced. "Good night. See you in the morning."
She could feel all three pairs of eyes on her back as she walked away from the table. She knew they would start talking as soon as they made sure she was out of earshot. They had been like that ever since summer started. If the whole family was sitting in the living room, they would excuse themselves to Ron's bedroom. Gatherings such as the one they were having right now would conclude with them gradually getting up from the table, or else they'd throw clear hints at Ginny asking her to leave. She wished she knew what they were up to, but they never let her in on their conversations. Obviously, she was still a kid compared to them, which was a load of crap; she was only a year younger.
However, she had barely reached the staircase which led up to the bedrooms, when they heard a loud pop-like explosion coming from the living room. The hairs on Ginny's neck prickled. Were they being attacked? Another thought then crossed her mind — the rest of her family was in the living room.
She joined the trio as they rushed for the living room. Already a hundred images were whizzing around in her head. She tried to push them out, but they wouldn't let her be, and visions of her family's blank, dead expressions kept swimming before her eyes, encouraged by the absence of all sounds from the house. The four had almost reached the doorway when…
"Now look what you've done. Mum is going to punish you for a week!"
They halted at the door. Ginny's idea of several Death Eaters standing in the middle of the living room while the lifeless bodies of her family lie strewn about the place quickly crumpled under the sight before her. Two kids were standing in the middle of the room — one had messy black hair and brown eyes which twinkled with mischief, and the other had long red hair that reached the square of her back and bright green eyes. The girl's hands were on her hips, and she was tapping her foot impatiently against the floor while the boy seemed to be fidgeting with a strange object held between his hands. They seemed utterly oblivious to the people who were standing around them, their wands raised, their expressions ones of complete shock.
"Me?" the boy retorted, his face a mask of indignation. "I haven't done anything! You were the one who suggested we try the Timekey!"
"I only said I wonder what would happen if we tried it! It's your fault for being so stupid, James," she said haughtily. "You had to go and play with the dial!"
"Don't call me stupid!" he huffed.
"I will because you got us into trouble!" the girl snapped. "And you got us here! Where is here, anyway?"
She looked around for the first time and as she glanced at the occupants of the room recognition appeared on her face. Ginny, still standing at the door, looked in wonder at the children. There was something about them…something familiar. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but she felt like she knew those children. When the girl's eyes met hers, she felt some sort of connection build up. Maybe it was the fact that the girl had red hair that looked like hers; maybe it was her stance, maybe…
"Mummy!" the girl cried, rushing forward. Mummy?! The girl's arms wrapped around Ginny's waist and her upturned face regarded the older girl pleadingly. "I didn't do anything! It was all James's doing!"
"What? No! Dad, Lily's lying! She put me to it!" the boy protested, stomping over. Dad? Ginny's head swivelled around and she stared as the boy tugged at Harry's shirt. "I told her we shouldn't be touching anything, but she wouldn't listen. She never listens."
"I do listen!"
As their banter continued, Ginny glanced over at Harry and saw that he was looking utterly flummoxed, and how couldn't he? Here were two kids who looked no older than seven years old, claiming to be their children. What made this so uncanny was that the children looked remarkably like the two of them. Ginny really didn't know what to make of this situation — could these kids really be hers and Harry's children? But how?
The girl, apparently called Lily, brought up another issue. "Mum," she said, her voice shrill with alarm. "What happened to your tummy?!"
Ginny looked dazedly at her. "My...tummy?" she repeated.
"Yes! Isn't the baby there anymore?" Lily demanded. "I thought you said a baby was going to come out of your tummy!"
The dull thud in the background indicated that Mrs. Weasley had fainted. In the eccentricity of the situation, however, no one rushed to her aid. Ginny clutched the door frame in an attempt to stop herself from following her mother's suit.
"Mummy?" the little girl said uncertainly. "What's going on?"
I only wish I knew.
A few minutes later, the situation had only improved by the revival of Mrs. Weasley after several shots of brandy. The children, named James and Lily, were sandwiched between Ginny and Harry on a sofa, while the rest of the Burrow's current occupants huddled together across from them, watching them warily. Ginny felt like she was being tried for some sort of crime. The children seemed quite pleased that they weren't being scolded for whatever it is they did, and they just contented themselves by nestling close to their parents.
It was Fred who finally broke the silence. "This is priceless," he said, chortling. "Absolutely priceless."
Mrs. Weasley was distraught. "I do not see why you should be making a joke out of this, Fred!" she shot at him. "This is not funny!"
"Lighten up, mum," George piped up. "So Gin and Harry are married with children, what's the big deal? Weren't you always saying how you wanted Harry as a son?"
It wasn't clear who was feeling more embarrassed: Ginny or Molly? Or was it Harry, who hadn't said a word since the beginning of this mess? He was looking stunned, to say the least. He didn't even twitch at George's remark.
"Don't be ridiculous, George. Harry and Ginny are not married and they do not have children," Hermione admonished him. Though, she failed to anticipate what kind of outburst that remark would earn her from the children a little too late. She chanced a look at them and saw that they were looking quite upset. "Erm...I didn't mean-"
"Of course mum and dad are married, Auntie Hermione!" the girl cried tearfully.
"And they do have children!" the boy insisted. "We are their children! You have children, too, Auntie Hermione!"
Hermione's cheeks coloured up immediately, and Ginny thought she saw her steal a glance in Ron's direction. Ron, on the other hand, looked rather livid. "What are her kids like? Are they dark with a thick accent?"
Hermione glared at him. "And what exactly is that supposed to mean?" she snapped.
"Oh, you know perfectly well what it means," Ron shot back.
"Enough!" Mrs. Weasley barked. She looked like she'd recovered completely from the shock, and she now strode towards the couch on which Ginny and Harry were sitting along with the children. She smiled warmly at them. "James, Lily, it's getting late. Why don't I take you up to bed? Mummy and Daddy will come to tuck you in after a few minutes, alright?"
They protested a little, but she wouldn't take no for an answer. Molly took each of them by the hand and led them out of the room, but not before she shot a meaningful look at Arthur, who promptly took reign of the situation as soon as the children were away. "Well...you definitely know what this means, don't you?" he said to no one in particular.
Hermione picked up the device the children had called the TimeKey and turned it about. "If I'm not mistaken, this is a cross between a Time-Turner and a Portkey...hence the word TimeKey," she declared. "My guess is that those two kids played with it, and it somehow brought them here...from the future."
Bill, who had just dropped by for dinner and hadn't known he was in for a shock like this, frowned. "So, you mean that the children are really...?" he said, letting his voice trail off.
Hermione met Ginny's eye as she spoke up next. "Ginny and Harry's?" she finished Bill's sentence for him, and nodded. "My guess is as good as yours, but if this device is really a what I think it is, then those children may just be Ginny and Harry's kids in the future."
"Bloody hell," Ron whispered.
"But what if they are Death Eaters?" Charlie suddenly interjected. "What if they've come here disguised as children so that they could kill us when we least expect it?"
Arthur Weasley shook his head. "I've set up wards on the Burrow against any sort of outside intrusion, and I've set them up against all known methods of intrusion, like Apparition, Portkeys...I've even barred the fireplace," he said. "There is no way a Death Eater could've made his way past those wards. This TimeKey is obviously a device from the future, and the kids are real."
"Bloody hell," Ron whispered again.
As everyone erupted into babbles of conversation around the room, one single thought buzzed in Ginny's head. She could barely contain her joy and excitement, and had to purse her lips together tightly to stop herself from squealing: Harry and I are going to get married!! She dwelled so much on the thought, trying to imagine how they'd hook up, and how their first kiss would be and how their wedding would be, that she didn't hear Hermione calling her name right away.
Ginny blushed. "Yes?" she asked, sounding rather meek.
"We need to get you pregnant," Hermione informed her.
Harry spoke up for the first time then. "What?!" he yelped, looking stricken at the idea. Ginny didn't appreciate how scandalized he looked, but she didn't think she liked Hermione's idea either. She was only fourteen after all! What would everyone at Hogwarts say?
"Weren't you listening?" Hermione admonished them. "The future Ginny is apparently pregnant at the moment, so in order to avoid exposing the children to any sort of trauma; you must play the role of a pregnant woman, until we figure out how to return them to their time, anyway."
Ginny felt somewhat relieved, but she was disappointed at the same time; for the briefest of moments she had imagined that Hermione really wanted her to get pregnant. "So what are you suggesting?" she asked.
"A simple Engorgement Charm would do the trick," Charlie ventured. "We just need your tummy to swell up a bit while we try to understand the mechanism of this TimeKey. So, if you'll let me..."
Ginny automatically recoiled away from him and her arms wrapped protectively around her stomach. "You keep your wand away! I haven't forgotten the time you tried to enlarge Errol! The poor thing hasn't been normal ever since!" she cried.
"I'll do it, Ginny," Bill offered. He pulled out his wand and pointed it at his sister.
"This is so wrong," Arthur was muttering, and Ginny could just begin to imagine what her father was thinking. "This is just too wrong..."
"Engorgio!" Bill said firmly.
Ginny gasped as the spell struck her lower abdomen. At first, she felt it convulsing, and then she experienced the weirdest sensation as her belly started bulging against the fabric of her blouse. To her horror, she saw that the strain of the expansion threatened to pop out the buttons and she instinctively yanked the draping on the couch from underneath Harry, causing him to topple over, and used it to cover her self up just as her buttons did indeed pop.
"You cost me my favourite blouse!" she said crossly.
"Our little sister is pregnant!" the twins intoned. "Oh, mum will be over the moon!"
Ginny caught Harry staring at her "bump", but he quickly turned the other way. She felt humiliated; she wanted to smack him around the head or something. The way he was acting made it seem as if he weren't pleased at all by how things were going to turn out in the future. It was as if he didn't like the idea of being married to her, or having kids with her. This made her quite sad. She had hoped this would change the way he thought of her, but apparently not.
...or at least, not if she could help it.
"Hera, this is not what I had in mind."
Hera giggled and snuggled under the duvet. "Oh, don't be so childish, Zeus. I know you're having fun," she whispered.
"My idea of fun does not involve me being stuck in the body of a scrawny seven-year old," Zeus grumbled from somewhere on the other side of the girl called Ginny. It was a little past midnight, and Ginny and the rest of the family had just gone to bed. Zeus and Hera didn't care to sleep, but they still squeezed eyes shut when their "mother" had come into the room. "Couldn't we have just sent some puppets to do the job? And a TimeKey? Couldn't you have been more original?"
Hera propped herself on her elbows so she could peer over Zeus over Ginny's bump. It was taking every ounce of effort not to jump him at the moment, especially with him looking so adorably cute in the body of "James Potter". She chuckled. "You suck at lying, sweetheart," she teased him.
This idea of hers was pure genius. In truth, "Lily Potter" and "James Potter" did not exist, but Hera decided that if she were to convince Harry that he belonged with Ginny, then this trick would most definitely work. The TimeKey was just a useless object, as well. When the others finally got around to figuring out its "mechanism", she and Zeus would just need to pop back to Mt. Olympus with it and that's that. However, with the boy's current attitude, she was having her doubts. On the other hand, she was quite pleased with their acting abilities. Those silly humans had completely bought the Time Travel theory.
"That boy is a real dope. This Weasley girl is too beautiful," Zeus was now murmuring.
"Will you quit groping her?! For goodness sake, she's only fourteen!"
A/N: So…like it? Hate it? Please review!