D/C: I don't own Harry Potter.

Hello! I'm back with my third and final chapter! I'm glad you all enjoyed the story; your reviews made me very happy, so…thank you. I will now leave you to read the chapter. I sure do hope you like it!

Hera's Helping Hand

Chapter 3: When Gnomes Attack and Blobs Vanish

Sitting together with Harry on a bench outside the Burrow, watching as the kid ran around the front yard chasing after the gnomes, Ginny could only see something wrong with this image: her huge bump, and the insufferable heat. Together, those two made the worst possible combination. She had never appreciated how difficult it must be for a pregnant woman to carry around such a large weight along with her wherever she went...especially during summer when the weight of one's own clothes was unbearable enough.

Ginny kept fanning herself with her hand all the time in a desperate attempt to bring some cool air her way. She wished she could be inside in the living room where her father had placed a cooling charm, but he and the others were trying to fix the Time Key and the kids were supposedly providing a source of distraction. So, Harry and Ginny, being the "parents" had to take them outside so they could play.

"Ugh, I hate children," she mumbled, as she struggled to sit upright on the bench. Her bum had been starting to slide off the edge of the seat.

Harry looked surprised. "You do?" he inquired.

Ginny rolled her eyes at him. "Yes, and don't act all saintly in hopes that you'll impress me by saying that you do like children," she retorted.

"But I do like children," he replied, sounding mildly surprised.

"Didn't I just tell you not to say you are?"

"So you would rather have me lie to you?"

Ginny frowned at him. "Are you saying that you like children?" she asked.

"Was I giving an impression that implied otherwise?" he said.

"Ugh, I hate you," she mumbled, turning slightly on the bench so that she wouldn't have to look at him.

"No, you don't," he replied. "If you hated me, then you wouldn't have let our...ahem, kiss last any longer than necessary, which you did."

Ginny felt her cheeks warm up considerably. She had all but stopped rewinding their kiss in her mind. Their very first kiss. Even though it had seemed to be forced upon them, Ginny had rather enjoyed it...and she believed that Harry enjoyed it as well; she could tell from the way he had kept stuttering after they'd pulled apart. At that moment, she had really loved that little girl called Lily, even though it was purely for selfish reasons. Of course, a few minutes later, Ginny felt slightly ashamed of herself. This was a child; she shouldn't think of her as means to get free kisses from the boy she loved.

"That doesn't prove anything," she said haughtily. "I was...hormonal."

"Hormonal?"

"That's right."

Harry raised an eyebrow at her. "You're hormonal...even though you aren't really pregnant?" he questioned her.

Ginny flushed. "Pregnancy isn't the only thing which makes one hormonal," she said in dignified tones.

She met his gaze defiantly, but he was looking completely blank. It wasn't until a few seconds later that comprehension seemed to dawn upon his face, and his cheeks gradually started colouring up. He looked down into his lap and twiddled his thumbs. He stole a few glances at her, and fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat. "Oh," he murmured.

"Yes."

"It's that time of the month, huh?"

It was Ginny's turn to blush. She didn't expect Harry to come outright and say it. She had expected him to just look embarrassed and change the subject completely; she didn't think he'd actually question her about it. Even her brothers avoided that subject. She swallowed. The thing was; it wasn't even that time of the month. She had just said that so he would stop pestering her about the kiss. But he didn't need to know that. He wasn't going to go snooping around the bathroom after she was done with it...was he?

"Ginny?"

Ginny looked stoically ahead. "Just because you're my pretend husband doesn't mean you need to know every single detail about my personal life," she said sharply. "When have you become so interested in my own private matters, anyway?"

"When I found out you're going to be the mother of my children, of course," he replied, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "If you hate me now, then those children will never exist."

"Well, good," she muttered. "I hate you."

"You're just bitter because I'm not carrying a bump of my own," he said, sounding bemused.

"I'm not so frivolous!!" she hissed.

"If I asked Bill to give me a bump, would that make me feel better?" he pressed on.

"Don't be silly, Harry. You can't have a bump," she replied, rolling her eyes at him.

"I can if I wanted to."

"But you're a guy..."

"That's so sexist of you, Ginny. Who's to say a guy can't have a bump?"

"You're bonkers! A guy can't be pregnant! That has to be the stupidest thing I've heard in a while, and since I live with Ron...well, that's something!" she retorted. She was staring at Harry in shock; that was the boy she'd had a crush on for so long? She suddenly felt rather disappointed. She hadn't expected Harry to be like this. He was quite irrational and wasn't speaking a lot of sense.

She frowned when he grinned. When he started laughing she realised she had been led on and she swatted his arm. "You prat! You were just pulling my leg!" she huffed.

"No, actually, I was being supportive. Isn't that what a good husband is supposed to do?" he replied.

She sighed. "Will you stop saying that? You and I both know that once those children are sent back you're going to go back to drooling over that picture of Cho Chang Colin took for you," she mumbled.

"O-oy! How do you know about that picture?" he demanded, looking rather red in the face.

Ginny struggled to stop herself from grinning — it was an old habit of hers, poking around Harry's things while he wasn't looking. But she wasn't about to let him know that; she wasn't allow him to turn into the victim here. "That's not the point," she said, quickly brushing his protest aside. "The point is once this over, I'll just go back to being your best mate's sister, so I'd rather we keep it that way now. No need to cause any more damage, is there?"

She was trying to appear strong, but already tears were stinging her eyes. It had felt wonderful being close to Harry, even if it were for a short while. Part of her wished the children would stay so she could maintain that sense of closeness, but the other, more rational part knew that somewhere in another dimension an adult Harry and an adult Ginny were freaking out about their kids. She couldn't be selfish...

"Are you stupid?"

She looked up. "Excuse me?"

Ginny flinched when he touched her arm, but he didn't draw his hand back. "I'll be honest with you, Ginny, you're right; I never thought of you as more than Ron's sister...before yesterday, that is," he told her. "Those children put you in a completely different light-"

She scoffed loudly.

"Don't be like that," he admonished her. "I told you this morning, I'm extremely happy that I grow up to see my own kids, and if you're the one who walks with me along the way, then that's fine, too."

"Wow, that's flattering," she muttered.

Harry's cheeks became slightly tinged with pink. "My social skills need a bit of polishing," he admitted. "Really, though...you're pretty, and smart, and you obviously have lots of other good qualities if my adult self decided you're the one he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and...hey, why are you laughing?"

Ginny had doubled over her knees as much as her bump would allow her and she was laughing. She could feel Harry's eyes on her hunched up figure as he stared at her in bewilderment but that didn't help stop her laughter. She was wiping tears of mirth from her eyes when she straightened up. "You really have no idea how to chat up a girl, do you?" she mused.

Harry rubbed the back of his neck. "Well..."

"Mummy has a pretty laugh, doesn't she?"

The pair almost jumped out of their skin. They had been so involved with each other's presence that they'd momentarily forgotten about the kids. While James continued to chase the gnomes around, Lily had apparently decided to invade her parents' privacy. She stood next to them, fingers knotted together behind her back, and she smiled sweetly at them.

"You think she has a pretty laugh, too, don't you, Daddy?" Lily pressed on.

"Erm...yes, of course I do," Harry agreed.

"Daddy always tells me how much he loves your laugh, Mummy," Lily continued, maintaining that wide grin of hers. "He says it brightens his days all the time. And when you do laugh, Daddy sometimes takes you between his arms and kisses you." She sighed. "It's so romantic."

Ginny raised her eyebrow at Harry, before turning to look at the girl. "Sweetie, you know, it's not okay to look at Mummy and Daddy when they're alone," she told her gently.

Lily looked like she'd received a smack in the face. Her cheeks coloured up immediately and she looked down at her tiny feet. "I'm...I'm sorry, Mummy," she murmured. "It's just...you and Daddy look so happy together, and I just wish that one day I'll find someone that I love and be as happy with him as you two are."

"Aw, darling, come here," Harry said, scooping her into his arms. He glanced at Ginny, and quietly mouthed at her, "Our daughter has issues."

Ginny frowned at him. "Why are you looking at me like it's my fault? She's your kid, too," she mouthed back at him. She rubbed Lily's back. "You'll find your prince soon, sweetheart, and you'll both live happily ever after, you'll see," she promised her.

"I'm just saying. Either that, or we're really irresponsible parents," he retorted. He kissed the top of his daughter's head. "Yes, what your mother said. Now run along and play with your brother."

"Yes, Daddy!"

She skipped away from them, but stopped a short distance later to peer at them. A few steps forward next and she was again glancing back to where they were sitting. Ginny watched her bemusedly, wondering how on Earth she'd give birth to such an eccentric girl.

"Erm...Ginny, I think she expects to see me kissing you," Harry remarked.

"Oh."

"I guess we should...you know, so that she wouldn't be suspicious...if you don't mind..." he said quickly.

"Why do you make it sound like it's such a curse? Didn't you just say that I'm pretty and smart and funny, and that it's fine if I was one who you were going to spend the rest of your life with?" she said scathingly.

"Yes, I did say-"

"Kiss me, then, Harry, and do it like you mean it this time...and not just to satisfy some twisted fantasy of a seven year old," she said fiercely.

And so he did. He took her face between his hands, leaned down and kissed her full on the lips. Ginny was taken by surprise; she didn't think Harry would really kiss her, but he was...and she could feel the intensity of his kiss, too. He was kissing her like he meant it.

"Oy."

They broke the kiss off to find Ron standing over them, a frown crowning his face. Harry looked flustered, but Ginny just groaned. Trust Ron to be tactless enough to ruin things when they were becoming good.

"We were just...you know, because of the children..." Harry said hastily.

"They want to see you in the living room," Ron cut him off. "They reckon they've found out how the Time Key functions."

"Have they now? That's great news!" Harry said brightly. "Well, you go on ahead. We'll gather up the kids and follow you to the living room."

Ron looked suspiciously between the two of them. "Don't worry about the children, mate, I'll keep an eye on them while you talk to the others in the living room," he said firmly, as if daring anyone to make an argument. "They're waiting for you, you know."

"Erm...thank you, Ron," Harry said uncertainly. He helped Ginny up to her feet, who in turn wrapped her arms around him. As they walked into the house, Ginny turned and stuck out her tongue at her brother, in a way which said, "We're together, and there's nothing that you can do about it."

-----

When Harry and Ginny had been talking to each other, Hera was busy cooking up a punishment for a certain redhead. Having made Zeus gather around a small army of garden gnomes, she spent the rest of her time training them to attack once that specific individual approached. She looked disdainfully as he intruded on Ginny and Harry's romantic moment, before turning to the gnomes, her hands on her hips.

"Right, remember what I taught you," she said quietly. "When that redhead comes near, what are you supposed to do?"

"Attack!" they squeaked.

She grinned. "That's right," she said, clapping her hands together. "That Ronald is going to wish he never met me."

"Don't blame him, really," Zeus mumbled, as he nursed the finger one gnome had bit. "If I were in his place, I would've wished I never even heard of you."

-----

"Ron tells us you found out how the Time Key works?"

When everyone in the living room nodded, Harry imagined he'd feel really happy. Instead, he felt his heart sink. He had gotten a little used to having those children around, and had grown rather fond of them. He was even getting accustomed to be called "dad". The idea of losing them quite so suddenly was quite disheartening. He almost wanted them to stay, but he knew that would be selfish on his part, because he wouldn't be able to care properly for those children, and not give them the attention they required. There was also the fact that he knew an adult version of him was waiting anxiously for his children to return.

"It's quite easy actually," Hermione informed them. "It's not surprising that the children managed to use it on their own. See this dial here? It has twelve marks around it, and each mark identifies a month. There are also miniscule marks between each other mark, and those signify the days. I would say the kids turned the dial around anticlockwise eleven times for it to transport them here."

"So, we just have to turn the dial clockwise eleven times from the mark they stopped at, and we'll have them transported back home," Bill carried on. "If we do it correctly, we can get them back to the point where they left, and this way their parents won't have to deal with the anxiety of losing them."

"We just turn the dial and the children are gone?" Ginny said dubiously.

"That's all we need to do," Bill said, nodding. "I'm sure you're eager to get rid of that bump of yours, eh, Gin?"

Ginny huffed. "Had a big laugh about me, did you?" she said scornfully. She patted her bump. "I won't be sad to see this go, but I will sort of miss those kids. They were fun to have around, if even for a short while. Right, Harry?"

Harry took her hand in his and squeezed it gently. "Never mind, we'll be able to see them in a good few years," he assured her. There was a loud hiccup, and Mrs. Weasley was blowing her nose into her napkin. Harry coughed embarrassedly. "Where are those kids? Ron's taking an awfully long time to get them in."

There was a howl of pain from the kitchen, and moments later the children came running into the room and into their parents' arms. The adults were in the process of drawing out their wands when...

"Bloody...effing....gnomes!!" Ron yelled. "Gerroff me, and stay out!"

A door slammed, and a rather dishevelled Ron came into the living room stormed into the living room. He had scratches all over his face and arms, along with an occasional mark indicating rows of sharp teeth. He glared at everyone with a look that clearly said, "Comment, and you die."

Hermione's face was gleaming with suppressed laughter. She took a tentative step towards him. "Umm...Ron-" she started.

"Not now, Hermione," he muttered.

"Yes, I understand, but there's a..." she said, giggling.

"Hermione, please!" he said, exasperated. Harry, though, noticed what Hermione was getting at, and Ron did, too, when the gnome that had been clinging to his back climbed up and bit his ear. He yowled in pain, and uttered a word which Harry deemed horrible enough that he had to clamp his hands over his daughter's ears, while Ginny did the same with her son. Ron then tossed the gnome out the open window. "I swear, those gnomes have it in for me for some reason!"

"That's ridiculous, Ronald," Mrs. Weasley said reproachfully.

"I mean it! They really did yell, 'Attack!' when I went to fetch the children! There were at least fifteen of them!" Ron exploded.

"It has to be a coincidence, Uncle Ron," Lily said, smiling sweetly. "They were acting rather normally before you came along! Weren't they, Jamie?"

"Sure were," Jamie agreed, bobbing his head.

Hermione quickly spoke before Ron could argue any further. "Harry, do you think we should...?" she said, and nodded towards the Time Key.

"Yes," Harry said, after exchanging a quick glance with Ginny. He leaned down and placed a hand on each of his children's shoulders. "Alright, children, we're going to play a little game now, what do you say?"

"Yes, Daddy!"

"See that Time Key over there? Well, we've decided all to play a game with it," he told them in his most gentle tones. "We're going to place it in the middle of the room, and we're all going to run at the same time towards it. But we're going to divide into pairs — you and James will be one pair, Mummy and I will be another pair, Hermione and Uncle Ron will be another pair..."

"Well, it's only natural since they're married!" Lily chirped.

"W-what did you say?!" Ron blurted out, while Hermione seemed to go into a state of permanent shock.

"We saw that coming, didn't we, Fred?" George said, grinning.

"We sure did, George," Fred agreed, sharing an identical grin.

Harry didn't find this quite surprising. He, like the twins, saw it coming as well...what with all the bickering and the blatantly obvious jealousy? However, it was crucial not to make the children realise how surprised everyone was, and he hastened to bring the conversation back to the Time Key and the "game" they were going to play. He kissed his daughter's forehead and turned her face back to him.

"So, we'll play together, alright?" he told them. "The winners get a bowl of ice-cream!"

"Yay! Ice-cream!" James said, clapping.

Ginny knelt down next to Harry. "Be careful...not to trip," she said quietly. "...while running that is. I wouldn't want you to get hurt."

"Yes, Mum," they intoned.

"How about you give us both a hug...for good luck?" Harry suggested. When they nodded, he and Ginny both pulled them into their arms and hugged them. When they released them, he smiled at them and said, "Make me proud and win, alright?"

Everything that happened next seemed to go slowly before Harry's eyes. He watched as Hermione discreetly set the dial, he watched as everyone gathered in pairs (Ron and Hermione hesitated before grabbing each other's hands), and then he watched as everyone ran for the Time Key, his children in the lead. Time seemed to freeze when together they touched the device. He caught a brief glimpse at their laughing, victorious faces before they vanished on the spot along with the device.

He staggered to a halt, and so did Ginny. They both stared silently at the spot where the twins vanished for a couple of moments, and then Ginny slipped her fingers through Harry's hand and leaned against his shoulder. "We'll meet them again, Harry," she whispered in reassuring tones. "You'll see."

However, several years later, after Voldemort had been defeated, the world had been rebuilt and Harry and Ginny had gotten married, a hospital in Eastern London found the happy couple sitting in a room, waiting to see their first image of their babies. The sonographer had already applied the transparent jelly on Ginny's round tummy, and now she and Harry were looking excitedly at the screen.

"I imagine you must be quite curious, Mr. and Mrs. Potter! This is your first image of your child, and you must know whether you're having a single baby, or if you're having twins!" the sonographer said cheerfully.

"Oh, we already know," Ginny said with a quiet giggle, and Harry squeezed her hand.

"You do?" the sonographer asked, looking puzzled.

"Never mind," Ginny said hastily. "Let's carry on with the sonogram, shall we?"

The sonographer places the ultrasound probe on Ginny's tummy and starts moving it around. Harry and Ginny gazed expectantly at the screen, waiting to see a fuzzy black and white image of their two children. Even though they knew what was coming, it didn't stop either of them from being completely excited.

"Well, there we go, there's your child," the sonographer announced. "See that tiny blob over there? That's going to be your future child. You won't be able to distinguish any of its features this early on in your pregnancy, of course, but...that's your child. Everything seems wonderful."

"Where...where's the other one?" Harry croaked.

"The other one?" the sonographer repeated.

"We're just having one child? Just this one child?" Harry demanded.

The sonographer looked taken aback. "Erm...there will be a chance for you to have more children in the future, Mr. Potter," she hastened to assure him.

"You don't understand! There has to be another blob!" Ginny cried, sounding scandalized. She tried to yank the ultrasound probe from the woman's hand to place it on her tummy again. "You have to check again! I'm sure we're having twins!"

"Mrs. Potter, I'm really sorry, but you are not having twins!" the sonographer stated.

Ginny was close to tears. "Harry, where is he?" she asked.

"I have no idea, Ginny, I have absolutely no idea," Harry murmured.

Somewhere above, Zeus stood peering down at the scene. He had a sort of exasperated look on his face, as if he knew that something of the like was going to happen sooner or later. He turned around to his wife, who was lounging lazily on a love seat, gazing into her mirror.

"Hera, you've messed up again. What are you going do about this? The Potters look terrified," he told her.

"Haven't I done enough for them already, Zeus? They can't expect me to do everything for them!" she replied.

"Hera, they're going to think they killed their second child! You're the goddess of childbirth, too, for goodness sake!" he admonished her.

"Oh, fine, I'll just cast a simple memory charm on them and everyone else," she drawled. "Just after I make this kid realize how absolutely irresistible his French cousin is and that he must find a way to kiss her..."

"You just don't give up, do you?"

---

A/N: Done! I'm sad to say that this over. You can't have too much of a good thing, I guess. Hehe. So, what did you think? Was it a good ending? Again, thanks for all the reviews you've sent.

- S.N.B.