Disclaimer: The rights of Harry Potter belong to JK Rowling and Warner Bros. I am making no financial gain from this story whatsoever.
The blinding summer sunlight woke Harry up early that morning. He tried to go back to sleep after seeing the time on the alarm clock, there were hours before he or his wife had to pick up the kids from King's Cross, but the light was way too bright. It felt like it was noon, when it was definitely not, with the light finding gaps on the curtains to enter the room. And worse, Harry was too tired to get up to shut the curtains, even if he did get up to do so, he'd have woken up sufficiently in the cool air without his warm blankey to be able to go back to sleep soon.
A catch-22 of annoying proportions. His wife, bless her, never knew how that felt. Harry could swear she could sleep through a stampede of hippogriffs.
Harry leaned forward to pick up his glasses from the table and then lifted the blankets to get off the bed, when he suddenly found himself unable to move as his arm was being pulled back.
"Don't...you...dare," said a tired, irritated, voice beside him, "get off this bed."
Harry grinned. There was one thing that would wake his wife up quick.
"I'm not tired anymore," he said innocently. "I'm going to have breakfast and watch the news."
Her leg wrapped around his waist, preventing him to move at all now, and she quickly climbed on top of him.
"You're going nowhere, mister," she said as she pinned his arms back. Not that he was resisting, mind you.
"Don't you think we should brush our teeth first?" asked Harry.
"No time," she said, leaning to the side to pick up her wand. "We don't have to do everything muggle-style."
With a quick wave in front of Harry's mouth, he felt his mouth clean instantly and he watched her do the same with her to herself. He made a mental note to brush his teeth afterward as this was merely a temporary spell. And a bad habit... why on earth was he thinking of dental hygiene at this moment of time?
Harry waited for his wife to lean forward, knowing her style to use speech as the first move in her many, many, talents. And without fail, her hair fell around his face as she positioned her lips to slowly brush his ears and she whispered ever so softly in them. Harry did not only say a word as she continued to blow into his ear as she spoke, and he relaxed even more into the bed, shutting his eyes to the room and the world. Nothing else mattered. He let out a low, guttural moan.
"Gin," he began, and then got interrupted by something else she said, and then finished, "ny!"
"Hold hard to your broomstick, Seeker," she whispered. "I'm going to charm you again, and again, and again, and again."
Harry could only mumble at that.
Three hours later, Harry stood at the shower as water gushed all over him. He stood there, not moving, one reason because his right leg was sore and he thought he must've pulled a muscle. He also let the warm water continue to pound his his body as he enjoyed listening to the silence broken by the gushing water. He let out a sigh thinking that this wasn't even the highlight of his day. He couldn't wait to stand in anticipation at King's Cross with all the other parents, holding Ginny's hand as she squeezed hard while they waited for Lily, Albus and James.
His heart ached out for his kids, and he knew Ginny felt even more on their absence.
He was deep in thought and wasn't aware of another presence nearby until the shower door was wrenched open. He yelped in surprise and calmed down after a few seconds of realising it was Ginny. He groaned at the grin on her face.
"Bloody hell, woman," he exclaimed, rolling his eyes. "Again?!"
"We're not going to get the chance to feel this uninhibited for the rest of the summer when the kids are back," she said, stepping in and shutting the door. "I intend to squeeze every minute out of this. So do shut up, honey, and move aside."
As Harry made the omelette, and Ginny hummed as she waited for breakfast, he was now sure he did pull his leg muscle. He didn't say anything about it, though, saving it to make Ginny laugh the next appropriate time. He finished off making breakfast, put the pan into the sink, and sat beside his wife, who stroked his leg with her foot under the table as they ate.
A knock sounded at the front door, and after Ginny waved her wand to unlock the door and shouted 'Come in," Hermione walked into the house. She looked around the living room for awhile, and then entered the kitchen to find Ginny and Harry.
"Hello," she said, putting her cloak onto the coat stand. "I parked the car right behind yours, so I hope neither of you is planning to head out for now."
Both Ginny and Harry shook their heads, while Harry pulled out a chair for Hermione. After a soft peck on Hermione's cheek, Harry got up to pour her a cup of coffee. Ginny asked her how she was doing.
"Can't complain," Hermione shrugged.
"Where's Ron?" asked Harry as he passed the cup of coffee to Hermione.
"Dunno," she said, shrugging. "He must've been sleeping or something when I left."
Harry and Ginny exchanged a look, but chose to say nothing.
"Excited about the kids coming, eh?" said Hermione, this time finally smiling widely. "Can't wait really. It's not fun without them."
"Says you," said Ginny. "They'll be waking us up early in the morning..." she giggled at the look Harry gave her at that, but continued, "whining about the other pulling... ah, I can't pretend. We should all move to Scotland and force the kids to stay with us when they finish classes."
"They'll disown us before they become adults if we dared," said Harry to Ginny, then turning to Hermione, "I bet you're most pleased at James' return. For goodness sake, he displayed some hope in the beginning being funny and all. But he slowly turned into you, Hermione. In fact, I think he's worse than you were as a kid."
"Hush," said Hermione, slapping Harry's shoulder. "That James is a wonder."
"I bet he'll ask in his third night if he could spend the night at your and Ron's house," said Harry. "Bloody hell, he must drink encyclopedias when he's there, because we sure as hell don't keep them in the house."
"He's fascinating," said Hermione, beaming. "He knows spells I've never read about."
"Worse," said Harry, "he's political. Did you know he's having long talks with Minerva? Even you couldn't talk to Dumbledore when he was Headmaster."
"And Minerva kept such a stern visage with us as a kid," said Ginny. "But James has charmed her."
"We must've failed somehow," said Harry in mock concern to Ginny. Hermione slapped him in the back of his head. "Bah!" he said to her. "You're more fond of James than anyone else in Britain, more than your kids perhaps. Wanna swap? We'll offer you James for Rose, now she knows what she's up to."
Hermione shook her head in wonder. "She got detention yesterday. The day before leaving back home. There aren't even classes then."
"I'm surprised they caught her," said Harry. "She even refused the Marauder's Map," he said in wonder. "She knows an entire alternate means of travelling through the castle and out of it too. She told me there was no point in knowing where people were if she was using passages that the map didn't have. George is stunned, I assure you. Strange, though, she isn't aware of some passages we used as kids, but she doesn't even care..."
Harry suddenly realised Ginny was shaking her head, looking away from the table. She quickly got up, took the dishes on the table, and mumbled something about washing the dishes. She didn't turn back as she took the sponge and switched on the tap and hand-washed the dishes. Harry then felt the slight courage to look at Hermione, who was livid.
"You," she said, poking him hard in the chest with her index finger, "offered Rose the Marauder's Map!"
Harry mumbled something about good fun, but it came out more of a squeak.
"You tried to give Rose, of all the children in Europe, Rose!, a bleedin' Marauder's Map," she said, her voice rising as she got off the table. "And it wasn't enough, you discussed ways to sneak around the castle and out of it?
"Harry James Potter, are you barking mad?!"
Ginny shook with laughter throughout the shouting Hermione dished out at Harry. Even she was shocked at Harry. Rose took mischief to another level. Harry, Hermione and Ron had adventures with all those noble causes, while Fred and George were just interested in having fun, candy and all. But Rose? Not only was she exceedingly intelligent, but she had her odd interests guiding her moves. Once, she snuck into the Prefects bathroom and changed it into any other bathroom the rest of the students had to deal with. As she left, and this was the only reason they knew it was her, she left a sign with her handwriting saying one word, 'Equality'.
More shocking, she did that in her second year.
In October of her third year, she got into a fight with five, five!, Ravenclaw boys and girls who were bullying a kid she never met before. Being a Weasley kid, and not a Potter kid, she resorted to wand-usage and not fists to deal with it. Even though Rose got beaten badly in that fight, she still managed to get two of the kids to the hospital for a week as the Healer tried to find the spell that caused the injuries. Rose absolutely refused to tell what the spell she used was, saying they'd be fine in two weeks and would wake up then, also firmly saying they deserved it as the poor kid they were bullying was a first year muggle-born while the Ravenclaws were fifth years. Flitwick was attending a conference in Australia and wasn't coming back for a month, while the substitute Charms teacher was bemused at the whole thing. For that, Rose was in detention for half of her year until she told Headmistress McGonagall exactly what the spell was.
If that wasn't enough, Rose then broke into the Ravenclaw common room and found the remaining three kids in the fight to the hospital wing with the same symptoms. The professors had no idea who did it based on witnesses or evidence in the scene of the break-in, but since Rose did the same spell and refused to deny it was her, there was no doubt in the culprit.
For that, Rose was in detention for the other half of the year.
They had called for St. Mungo's Healers to come when they could, who would've surely found out the spell. However, a disaster had struck and the hospital told Hogwarts that because of the demand for Healers, they would come only after four or so days as the health of the patients weren't deteriorating. However, at that time, James was deep in reading pre-Anglo Saxonic magic for "light reading" and knew the spell done when he heard the main symptoms, and proceeded to see if he could find the counter to it and after two days of full reading, he skipped classes and didn't inform the teachers (thus finding himself in detention later on too), he found the potion and arm-twisting wand-waving necessary and the time of night needed, and he went to the infirmary to magically spell them out of their coma.
Ginny grinned as before then, Rose was merely impressed with James, but after that she was in awe. Rose thought she was quite clever picking a spell from one bloody ancient Hogwarts library tome that was made around the time the Romans ruled England. The spell wasn't hard to do, but she was betting that the professors wouldn't assume a kid would go for something so obscure. But James did. Rose then proceeded to follow James to find as much knowledge as she could. James made it clear from the beginning that nothing he told her was for mischief's sake, and more importantly that she must never make a single rule-break anywhere near his presence.
To everyone's shock, Rose actually mellowed after that. After months and months and years of Hermione and Ron trying to get her to cut out the mayhem, her observing of James in his infinite calmness actually provided Rose an avenue to put her energies. It wasn't uncommon to see Rose seated with James, even during the summers, with thick books around them. However, she didn't completely change, note her ability to get a detention after the school year had finished.
Rose was a loner, and until she found James as someone to emulate, the only person she interacted closely with Albus, but the fact that Albus was in another house limited their interactions. Neither would dare enter the other's common room (not out of the past rivalry between houses, but because students simply never brought friends into one another's common room as an unspoken rule). So whenever Rose was in the Gryffindor common room, she'd deal with James whenever he was free, and she'd roam around the castle and Hogsmeade with Albus, or sat beside him at any classes they happened to share.
At this point, Ginny realised she ran out of dishes to wash, and had no choice but to turn back to the table, where the Rose topic was finished and Harry and Hermione were discuss something else. Hermione was still glaring at Harry, and he was leaning back. Ginny moved to stand behind Harry and played with his hair as Hermione then looked at her watch.
"I've got a few supplies to pick up," said Hermione as she stood up and picked up the cloak from the stand. "Anyone wants to tag along? Ron hates those muggle stores, like you know."
"Nope," said Harry. "We've bought a few things last week and we're fine now."
Hermione kissed Ginny and Harry and left the house. They heard the car start and drive off. Ginny and Harry looked at the time, and didn't know what to do for now. They each took the day off today, while other parents simply picked up the kids after coming out of work. Harry never planned what to do for now. Ginny sat on his lap and leaned back onto Harry, and he took a big breath of her hair. He loved it when her hair smelled of his shampoo. It felt strangely right.
They sat like that as time passed, without care or need. Harry put his arms under Ginny thighs and lifted her up and carried her to the living room. He sat on the couch, with her still in his arms, and then lay back as he used one hand to reach for the remote on the table and switched on the television. They continued to say nothing as they watched the news and when the sports started, Harry raised the remote to change the channel, but Ginny grabbed his hand.
"Wait," she said. "I want to know the football news."
Harry rolled his eyes, but remained silent. Bloody football. Rugby, now that he appreciated of muggle sports, but football? And not to mention having Quidditch available? Harry and Ginny lived with alot of muggle lifestyles, but Harry drew the line in sports.
"Oh bollocks," she said, when the news presenter said that a team she hated just acquired a new talented player.
"You really are Arthur Weasley's daughter?" said Harry, whispering into her ear. "Bloody hell, woman, you've adopted muggle sports. Ron disapproves greatly, I must remind you."
"Oh sod off," she said, still peeved at the news.
Harry started to kiss her ear and approach further, when a knock sounded at the door. Ginny got up to the door, and in walked Ted after her.
"Teddy, my boy," said Harry, who got up to hug the young man. Right after hugging Ted, Harry pushed him back to the door.
"Wha?" asked Ted in shock, and Ginny was confused.
"Out, man," said Harry. "I was about to have my way with this redhead vixen, and your presence is most unacceptable."
Ginny pulled Harry's arms away, and looking at Harry half-wanting to slap him, the other half to laugh - and was there a glint in her eye which Harry took that she was turned on? Harry wondered - and lovingly pulled Ted back to the living room, and asked him if he wanted anything. Harry grinned as Ginny's mother mannerism kicked in within seconds and she left to make something for Ted to eat.
"Seriously, Harry," said Ted, whose smile indicated anything but seriousness. "What does too much information mean to you? You take open relationships to a whole new level."
"I have needs man," said Harry. "And I won't have my way on that couch you're seated on until September because some rotten monsters who happen to be my children may be scarred for life if they witness anything."
"And what about my scars?" asked Ted angrily as he jumped off the couch. "Why would I want to know what you've done on this couch?!"
Standing, Ted looked at the other couch, and Harry nodded his head with a wider smile. He then tentatively looked at the three cushioned seats that stood separate from one another with extreme caution. Harry bared his teeth with the smile.
Ted decided to merely stand in the living room as he didn't want to ask anything about the floor, in fact he made sure not to look at the floor in case his godfather should notice it and tell him of an answer. Harry let out a snort when Ginny walked in and Ted looked away, a blush in his face. They were too serious with one another at times, Harry felt. Ginny set the food on the table, looking from Ted to Harry in bemusement.
"Teddy?" she asked cautiously. "You know you don't need to be asked to sit here."
Harry savoured every second that passed, as Ted didn't have the heart, nor the backbone, to tell his beloved Ginny why exactly he wasn't seated. But Ted didn't seem to have the will to sit on the couch with Harry and Ginny watching him.
"What in the blazes did that nitwit tell you now?" asked Ginny in a huff. While Harry and Ginny had a rather conventional manner in raising the kids, with Ted, though, it was almost a comedy team; Ginny the straight person, Harry the slightly crazed one. And Ginny never failed to swear, insult, curse (both verbally and with magic) and hit Harry for anything he did regarding Ted, in front of Ted.
Ted mumbled something, but it was utterly incoherent. Harry wished he could bottle this moment and take a sip of it whenever needed. Ginny turned and huffed towards Harry.
"Well?" she asked.
"Haven't the foggiest," said Harry. "Ol' Teddy seems to have an issues. Perhaps he should lay on the couch?"
Ted sputtered. "Harry went on about what you-you-you were doing on the couch," he finally croaked.
"Harry Potter!" screeched Ginny. "He's your godson, for Merlin's sake!"
"He's old enough to know the truth," Harry said.
"He's bloody lying, Ted," Ginny sighed. "We haven't touched the living room. He's having you on."
"You sneaky..." said Ted, sitting down swiftly.
Ginny raised her hands and walked out of the room to get something for herself to drink. When Harry cheekily asked if she could get something for him while on the way, she made an obscene gesture. Harry heard the phone ring as she was there and heard her pick it up.
"Ted, Ted, what are we going to do with poor, gullible Ted?" said Harry in mock-sadness as he sat down in the other couch and nicked some of Ted's food on the table. Ted only glared at him.
"You know," said Harry, after swallowing his first bite, "Fred and George would've eaten you alive if you were in my place in Hogwarts."
"Yes," said Ted sarcastically, "because I didn't think my godfather would joke about something like that?"
"The others mother and father you," waved Harry aside. "Hermione, Ginny and even Ron. You don't need another person asking you if you need toilet paper. You need me."
Ted just shook his head.
"I guess you think you're funny?" said Ted. "The way you drive Ginny furious whenever I'm around. Pretty brave."
"I'm Harry Potter, mate," said Harry, showing two fingers at Ted. "Not one, but two times Voldemort defeater. If I'm not brave, nobody is."
"I see," said Ted. "I've received an odd letter in my mailbox, the other day. It was a Ministry report on damages I made in your house. And I thought to myself that I never had a duel during a party in your house."
Harry stopped smiling immediately. "Now hang on, Teddy, I've been meaning to get to talk to you about this," he said. "Ginny was going to spend the night with her mother, and I didn't have a party. I called some friends over for some fun and relaxation. Bill, though, brought this git of the highest proportions who was aggressive with everyone. Apparently his girlfriend had ended their relationship right before he came, and Bill in his infinite wisdom assumed that having a good time with some new people could be helpful. After he mocked me for the fourth time, I wondered aloud to him which quality drove the girls away from him.
"Now he throws a spell at me," said Harry, raising his hands in shock. "He throws a spell at me, in my house."
"What did you do to him?" asked Ted, very curious.
"I whipped him to three different counties," said Harry, "that's what I bloody did to him."
"And the damages?" Ted asked.
"To scare him, I threw a massive spell right by him," said Harry. "It blew out the wall behind you."
Ted groaned. "And you said it was me?!"
"Obviously," said Harry. "The Ministry sent Obliviators. I told Ginny I spent the night with Ron, and Ron was going to back me up as he told Hermione some odd fib that he was going to a symposium of wandmakers, for what reason I wouldn't know. I told Ginny I slipped up and told you the house was free and that you used the spare key and made a spell that James told you about which blew up the wall. Thankfully, we have a person ready to be the next Dumbledore in magic as a child otherwise it would've never worked."
"Oh Ginny?" called Ted.
Harry's eyes widened. "You wouldn't dare, you snot nosed face-changer," he growled. "She'll kill me if she knows I framed you." Ted shrugged.
"What Ted?" called Ginny.
"I never had a party in this house," Ted said loudly. "Ever. Honest."
A long pause ensued. Harry could almost see Ginny's face in that cute look as she tried to remember something or figure something out. He heard Ginny say she had to go on the phone, and heard her footsteps approaching.
Ted looked at Harry with a victorious grin, which fell as he saw Harry stand up quickly and jump on top of Ted. Harry waved for his shoes to fly to him, and the moment Ginny's furious face went around the corner into the living room, Harry spun while holding Ted.
Ted's eyes opened and they found themselves in downtown London.
"You coward," he said as Harry let go of him.
"When you get married," said Harry, getting to his knees and now putting on his shoes, "then come and call me a coward."
As they sat in a nearby fast food area, Harry asked Ted how his job search was going.
"Not bad," said Ted. "I've got an offer overseas with an international group, but I want to stay here for now. There's a job in the Ministry that seems interesting."
"Oh, where?" asked Harry, smearing ketchup all over his chips.
"A few departments," said Ted. "Magical Law being one."
"Hmm..." said Harry.
"You don't have an opinion?" asked Ted. "Ginny, Hermione and Ron all have one each."
"Pick what you like," said Harry. "Either way, I'm going to personally come with Ginny's packed lunches to work to bring them to you."
"You wouldn't dare," said Ted.
"Of course I would," said Harry. "I sent you a pink lunchbox in your fifth year to the Great Hall. Do you still doubt what I'll do?"
"I'm going to have to get you back more then," said Ted.
"Hermione's bloody excited over James coming back," said Harry. "Seriously, she should adopt him."
"How's the Slytherin?" asked Ted.
"He sent me an owl asking me if there was a way to block Hermione's owls with all their study advices in anticipation for the O.W.L.s," grinned Harry. "He didn't want to offend Hermione by saying to cut it out. He's wondering how she'll harass him next year if she's so bad when he actually has to take it."
"I heard Rose merely made a bonfire of the letters," Ted said. "Is it true?"
"Hilariously, yes it is," said Harry. "Don't know what Hermione is worrying about. It's not for another year. Rose will pass them with ease."
"And Albus?" asked Ted.
"He'll do fine, I'm sure," said Harry. "I mean, it's bad enough he's green-and-silver in this family. To have to be compared to James' O.W.L.s is just cruel, and then be Harry Potter's son. I don't think it's easy."
"He's holding himself well, though," said Ted.
"Yeah, he is, I think," Harry said rubbing his chin. "He does keep things in the chest, though. I hope he opened up a bit more since Christmas."
"That's Rose's job," said Ted. "She doesn't take his quiet nonsense and peels it out as long as it takes. He likes to pretend it bothers him, but Rose means the world to him. Even when she started chasing James like he was Merlin's reincarnation, she never reduced the fondness she has for Albus. I think she keeps him grounded."
"Who says loud and brash is the only way to go?" said Harry. "Albus reminds me a bit of Dumbledore, oddly enough. He always seems to know more than he lets on. And he never lets on more than he needs to."
"That's a politician in the making," noted Ted. "And a damn good one too."
"So Ginny told you that the Ministry advised him to take a few courses to make sure his path to the Ministry went smoothly?" Harry said. "Bloody hell, he's only fifteen. But, naturally, he took the courses. Why he should take Muggle Studies, though, I'll never know. He didn't even open the book for the test, he's been living like a muggle at home for years."
Ted looked at his watch. "I've got to go," he said. "I've got to head to the library to finish off some law books."
"And I have to go back to Ginny," said Harry. "When she's done with me, she might need a lawyer."
Ted laughed and they walked out of the place after paying. Harry told Ted he was expected for dinner with them.
"I don't want to hear you were at Hermione and Ron's again," said Harry sternly. "I asked you first and by Merlin, you're going to say no to Hermione."
"But she knows how to ask and twist you to say yes," whined Ted. "She already tried it yesterday, throwing the guilt-trip that you have three kids while she and Ron have two and for their first night back, she'd like to have me there to be three."
"If you don't come," said Harry with a swear, "I'm going to storm that house and take you out myself."
"Okay," said Ted, but Harry wasn't convinced and he said with more effort, "Okay!"
With a turn, they left one another to each go to different places.
Harry apparated in a secluded corner down the street from his home, and walked all the way back to the house and opened the door with a key. He saw Ron lying on the couch, lazily eating a few fruits left on the table. The TV was off.
"I was looking for you," said Ron.
"I was with Ted," said Harry, taking a seat opposite Ron. "He's thinking of taking a job with the Ministry."
"Yeah," said Ron. "Magical Law, though, pretty much forces you to deal with the Ministry either way."
Ginny entered the room, and raised an eyebrow at Harry. Harry looked at her square in the eyes attempting to seem nonchalant, while furiously wishing in his head that he had learned Occlumency. With a knowing smirk, Ginny sat on Harry's lap and hiding her whisper from Ron by giving a kiss to Harry's ear, she told Harry they were going to deal with it later on. Ginny smiled when Harry gulped at that.
"Hermione wants Ted to come to our house for dinner tonight with the kids," said Ron, tentatively.
"Not going to happen," waved Ginny. "She got Ted on Christmas, New Year's and the first day back from schools in the past two summers."
"Listen to this woman," said Harry, rubbing Ginny's abdomen in languid concentric circles. "We're storming your house if Ted doesn't eat tonight. We asked first."
"Why don't you have him tomorrow?" asked Ginny.
"It's the first day with the kids back, you know," said Ron.
Harry and Ginny knew exactly what Ron meant, but they weren't going to let Ted stay there again.
"You up for some Quidditch in the weekend with the kids?" asked Harry. Ginny simply nodded her head, her cheek rubbing against Harry's. Her eyes were closed then.
"Sure," said Ron. "Let's see how good Hugo and Lily are now."
"Well, they got whipped in the final," noted Harry, "by Ravenclaw, so they'll be up for proving themselves."
"Lily doesn't need to prove anything," said Ginny, eyes still closed and her face pointing upwards as she rested on Harry's shoulder. "She got into the Gryffindor team in her first year. Considering, of course, that six other Beaters got injured that year, but even then, what a Beater she is."
"Well, granted," said Ron. "But that doesn't mean Hugo isn't clearly more talented just because he had to wait one more year to get in."
"Yes, I'm afraid it does," said Ginny. "Accept it Ron, your niece is a better player than your son."
"Lily's a Beater," said Harry. "How can we compare her with a Chaser in Hugo?"
"Fine, better flyer," waved Ginny. "Whatever you wish to call it."
"Where's Hermione?" asked Harry.
"Don't know," said Ron. "She left in the morning somewhere."
Ginny's eyes opened then. Harry could feel her somewhat more alert.
"She came here, Ron," she said. "Surely you knew that?"
"Wha-?" said Ron. "Oh... I was sleeping when she left. Heard her leave, though."
"Right," said Harry, but didn't want to push it further.
"I'll go and get ready to pick the kids up at King's Cross," said Ron, getting to his feet. "I'll see you there."
He got his coat and stood in the living room, and...
"No apparating in the house," said Ginny, with an exasperated tone.
"Bloody hell, Ginny, I'm going to have to reach the end of the road so no muggle sees me," said Ron. "What difference does it make? The kids aren't even here."
"Me and Harry like it this way," said Ginny.
"She got the muggle appreciation from your dad, no doubt," said Harry.
Ron, grumbling all the way to the door, left the house, and heard him take a number of steps until his footsteps no longer were audible. Ginny leaned forward over to pick up the remote and switched on the TV. Harry leaned back to pick a magazine in arms-reach on the bookshelf and quietly read it.
"What are we going to do about Ron and Hermione?" said Ginny.
"Nothing," said Harry, not looking up from the magazine.
"There's clearly something going on," said Ginny.
"Yes, it seems to be obvious," said Harry.
Ginny waited for Harry to continue, but he didn't. After a moment, she huffed.
"Well...?" she said, slapping the back of his hand.
"Well, what?" asked Harry.
"We can't not do anything," said Ginny.
"Double negative confused me," said Harry, shrugging.
"Oh come off it!"
"Look," said Harry, lowering his magazine finally. "Your Ron's sister. You won't seem impartial."
"Of course I would," she said. "I care about Hermione."
"Yes, you do," said Harry. "I said you won't seem impartial. Whatever you say, you'll be Ron's sister saying it, and it'll be taken as such."
"And what about you?" asked Ginny.
"I'm friends with both of them," said Harry, "for far too long. Each will think I'm taking the side of the other, and neither will feel better."
Harry quizzically looked at Ginny's frown of confusion.
"That makes no sense," she said in disgust. "Preposterous. I can't speak to them because I may not seem impartial, but you cannot speak to them because you'd seem too impartial?"
"Not the words, I'd use," said Harry, "but yeah."
"Do you have sand for brains?" asked Ginny. "Both cannot make sense."
"Look," said Harry. "We can't say anything. They've been married for fifteen years. What can we tell them they haven't tried before."
"But Harry," she said. "Things have been getting more awkward by the day. Even Mum's concerned now."
"I'm telling you Ginny," said Harry. "There's nothing we can do here but meddle."
"And if things worsen even more?" asked Ginny.
"Then they worsen," said Harry with conviction. "We cannot make things better, only worse. They either have to solve it or..."
He didn't have to finish, and went back to reading. After about half an hour of silence, Ginny shook Harry's leg below her.
"Let's go pick up the kids."
Harry stood there near the tracks, whistling softly to himself. The train was running a bit late, but nothing was wrong as far as he heard. Ginny was pacing around the station, getting impatient with the wait. Ron and Hermione stood with them, but he noticed they each stood so Ginny and Harry would be between them. He saw Malfoy with his wife far ahead, Bill and Fleur were just arriving to pick up Josephine, along with Percy and Penelope waiting for Arthur, Margaret and Anthony. Charlie couldn't come in time, so Alice was there alone to pick up Marissa.
After a time, the large train arrived and Ginny's pacing finally stopped. Through the smoke, the crowd of kids running about, the suitcases, the animals, the parents and familes, Harry simply decided to stay back as Ginny made the error of diving into a crowd. Ginny came out of the crowd, with great annoyance in her face and here hair messed up, brushing dirt off her clothes. Lily followed her through the crowd. Upon seeing her father, Lily dropped her suitcase and ran towards him. Her red hair bounced as she swiftly hopped around a standing muggle, her cheeks red and a glowing smile on her face.
"Dad!" she squealed as Harry lifted her off the ground, it was getting difficult now as Lily was no longer a little child, being a second year and all.
"Lil," Harry yelled even louder. "Why are we shouting?" he asked with a mischievous grin, and Lily giggled. Ginny rolled her eyes.
"I couldn't find the two," Ginny said.
"I'm surprised you found one," said Harry, still holding Lily, and then appraising Ginny. "You look like you were run over by a stampede."
"Some parent shoved me aside and I lost my footing," snarled Ginny. "Once you get down in a crowd, it really is hard to get to your feet."
Harry looked at Ginny with sympathy, but when Ginny turned away to look for the two boys, he made a face at Lily, who laughed this time. Ginny looked back, but both Harry and Lily stared at her expressionless. Harry put Lily back to her feet, saying he'd now have to look for the boys. But before he took a step, he saw them come through the crowd. He tapped Ginny's shoulder and pointed.
James came out first, deep in conversation with Rose, who was staring at him with vivid attention. Albus look disinterested, and the moment he saw his father, he nodded his head at James and rolled his eyes. Harry stifled a laugh. How they change in school, he though. Albus couldn't get far from James, because Rose had her arm wrapped fondly, but unfortunately firmly, around his waist.
Upon seeing his parents, James stopped speaking.
"Rose," said Ginny warmly as she enveloped her in a deep hug. "It's so great to see you."
"Same here, Aunt Ginny," she said. "Hi, Uncle Harry."
"It's the Chosen One for you, missy," said Harry, who hugged her tight as Ginny went to hug her boys. "How was your year?"
"Can't complain," she said, before, "much."
"You'll tell me all about it," he said. "But your parents are looking for you."
With a hand-wave bye to James and Lily, and a peck on the cheek for Albus, Rose left them to go to her parents.
"Minister Potter, good to see you back," said Harry to James, in what appeared to be absolute seriousness were it not for the twinkle in his eye.
"Dad," James sighed, but he was smiling.
"Stop teasing him, Harry," said Ginny, with a mischievous grin. "Especially considering he's a Head Boy now."
"Mum," said James. "They don't tell you if you're chosen until early August."
"If you're not Head Boy," said Harry, "I streak down the Ministry corridors."
"And I'll join him," said Ginny, nodding.
"Mum, Dad," said Albus. "Does the phrase 'too much information' mean anything to you?"
Harry tapped his chin as he was thoughtful. "Hmm," he said. "Never heard of it."
"How was your year?" asked Ginny to Albus, while they took the suitcases and made way to the car park.
"Quieter than usual, since Rose has calmed with the madness," he said. "Not that I was complaining when it was going on."
"How's the dungeons?" asked Harry.
"Not bad, as always," replied Albus. "You keep asking this trying to boast you've been there."
"Yeah," agreed Lily. "Just because you have been to three house common rooms..."
"Doesn't mean there's anything to boast about," finished James. "Besides, the Hufflepuff one is the best located. Right beside the kitchens. Imagine all the eclairs one can get in the middle of the night."
"Don't tell me Rose has been there too now?" sighed Ginny.
"Twice," said James. "One to get a look around for me. I wondered how it looked like. I got the Ravenclaw's description from Dad, Slytherin from Al, and there was one left."
"And you didn't go in yourself?" asked Harry. "What kind of Gryffindor are you?"
"Rose suggested it would be interesting," said James. "And I didn't say I never went later on."
"James Potter," Harry whistled. "And here I thought Hermione gave birth to you while Ginny and I were Confunded. Wait, hang on."
But James continued to walk further on as if the conversation was finished, with his father chasing him for information.
As they reached the car, Harry threw the keys to Ginny, who caught it in mid-air, and lifted the kids' bags and cases into the boot of the car. Harry got in the front, Ginny started the car and they were off.
"Dad," said Lily. "Is Ted coming for dinner tonight?"
"Yes," said Harry.
"Yeah right," said Albus with a snort. "Not while Aunt Hermione draws breath."
"Indeed," said James. "Dad... newspaper."
Harry threw the paper at him.
"Haven't had muggle news in months," said James. "An island could've sank and who would've known up there?"
"We send word when something big happens," said Harry.
"Yeah, but..." said James.
"You got the paper," said Albus. "Read, enjoy it and pass me the sports section. I want to see who Fulham bought."
"Nobody yet," said Ginny with a huff. "We've been linked with a couple though."
"Puddlemere United," groaned Harry. "Chudley Canons, Tutshill Tornadoes... doesn't anyone watch Quidditch in my ruddy family?!"
"No," was the chorus of the kids and Ginny.
"Honey, I love playing it," said Ginny. "Watch it? Yeah sure, sometimes. But to follow it?"
"I'll go with you though," said Lily diplomatically.
"Good," said Harry. "The Falcons are playing the Tornadoes a couple of weeks from now. We'll go there. I'll see if we can watch Toyohashi Tengu play their friendly against Puddlemere United. I hope they tear a new one into Puddlemere."
"You're going to Japan?!" asked James in shock. "And you're not taking us?"
"You just said you didn't like Quidditch," said Harry with a grin. "Now you're wondering why you aren't coming along?"
"Yeah," said Lily, folding her hands, imitating her father's grin. "Why come if you don't like Quidditch?"
Albus and James' moaning, pushed on by Harry who took out his wand and waved it tauntingly, got Ginny to step in loudly.
"Stop whining like babies," she snapped, and they became silent quickly, but their faces were still mutinous. "And cut it out, Harry," she said to her husband who was at that moment looking gleefully at his sons. Telling the two boys, now, Ginny said, "We're all going to Japan. It's a treat we've been planning for awhile. We'll be there for a month."
The kids whooped and cheered at that.
"Though if any of you gets into trouble," continued Ginny. "I'm going to leave you with Aunt Hermione and will ask her to give you some summer school-work."
"You..." said Albus, "wouldn't dare."
"Yeah," said James. "I'm going into my N.E.W.T.s next year, and Al is going to do his O.W.L.s. She'll murder us."
"Let that be incentive to not get into trouble, then," said Ginny, with a smirk.
"Dad," said Albus, his father turned around in his seat, "I read about an Auror assault a week ago in the Prophet. Were you in it?"
Harry, looking at his son's brilliant green eyes, said, "No, I had no..."
The many years of Auror-work had further enhanced Harry's reflexes, and when the flash of a large red appeared in the corner of his left eye, he instinctively waved his wand which he already had in his hand, mouthing a shield spell which covered his body.
The last thing he could remember was the brilliant green eyes locked in his as he became unconscious as his head slammed into the shield in the midst of a ear-shattering crash, before all was black.
Harry woke up surrounded by white. After wondering if he died, again, he saw he was in a hospital room in St. Mungo's. He shook his head, and saw his glasses were left in the table beside his bed. He tried to get up, but failed his first time. He got up in his second try.
Apparently a spell was on the bed, because before Harry could reach the door, a Mediwizard rushed into the room.
"Mr. Potter," he said in concern. "Please get back to your bed. You're not healed yet."
Harry stood there. "What happened?" he said. "Why am I here?"
"You don't remember?" asked the Mediwizard, waving his wand an a sheet appeared with a quill, and he quickly wrote that down.
"No," said Harry, looking at the sheet cautiously. "The last thing I remember is me making a shield spell... and green."
"Never mind that," said Harry. "What happened?"
"I'm not the best to tell you," said the Mediwizard. "Please sit and we'll get you Mrs Weasley, who's the person in the waiting room."
"I don't care who is in the waiting room," snarled Harry. "What in the blazes happened? And where are my children?"
"Sir, please," said the Healer. "Sit down for now."
"What happened?!" said Harry, even angrier. "Tell me now."
The Mediwizard poked his head around the door, and called, "Get Mrs Weasley in here. Quick."
The Mediwizard approached Harry slowly, and took his arm. "Mr. Potter, please get back to bed."
"Where are my kids?" Harry asked again, pushing aside the hand on his arm.
"Calm down, sir."
"Do I look like I want to be calm?"
"Harry!" said a third voice to the conversation.
"Hermione," Harry said, speaking in what was now quite a loud voice. "Hermione, what is going on? Why am I here?"
Hermione looked at him with great trepidation, and Harry couldn't take it no longer.
"WHERE IS MY WIFE?!" he roared, and he didn't like it when he saw Hermione crying.
Harry sat down, losing feeling in his legs.
"Where are they?" he whispered, looking at the ground, and every second that passed he dreaded with stomach feeling worse and worse.
"Mr. Potter," said the Mediwizard, when nobody spoke. "The vehicle you were in was in an accident. A large muggle vehicle had struck if from the side. The person controlling it had moved too fast to stop."
Harry didn't say anything. He was still looking at a speck on the floor, his eyes not wavering.
"You survived because of the shield you made," continued the Mediwizard. "Even then, you were unconscious for two days, and it was a struggle to get you healed. The car you were in was wrecked completely."
"Where are my children?" said Harry one more time.
Hermione went and sat beside Harry, but he shrugged her attempt at a hug, quite violently too.
"Where?" said Harry, his eyes fixed on the floor.
Hermione couldn't form the words, and the Mediwizard, taking pity on her, said them, "Sir, they did not make it. Upon arriving on the scene, you wife and two of your children had already passed away. Your daughter passed away during the trip to St. Mungo's.
"I'm deeply sorry for your loss."
Harry couldn't feel his stomach now. Where before he yelled, now he could not speak. His chest constriction made it difficult to breath and his eyes lost all focus and control. He looked around the room, waiting for someone or some thing to say this wasn't so. He looked at Hermione for a moment, who was devastated and could only whisper, "I'm sorry," to him. Sorry? For what?
Harry's hands shook as he tried to clench them, his breaths coming out in short gasps. And to the Mediwizard, and Hermione's surprise, he got up to his feet, walked to the door and stormed out the room.
As the door slammed very loudly behind him, Hermione's tears turned in sobs.
A/N: I post the chapters as I write them. As such, and given this is more drama and especially angst, I could use some feedback in how I portray the characters if I get a bit weird or off in the plot. Feel free to be as critical as you please if I take a character far beyond the realms of believability in their words or actions. I'm trying to do something different, but not ridiculous.
I'm going to give my own takes of how they act. Almost every character in canon will act to a degree differently in the books. It's been over twenty years since Deathly Hallows occurred. They've changed over time. What I don't want to do, however, is rip apart the entire fabric of their characters; there are certain things that define the characters that will be a stretch if changed radically.
By the way, I bet you won't guess when the next scene will begin.