All the Small Things
For VintageConspiracy

Sometimes, when he thinks she's too preoccupied to notice, he'll watch her. He doesn't stare for too long, just in case she catches him, but it's enough time to count the freckles on the bridge of her nose or the way her mouth crinkles in the corners when she laughs. She doesn't have flecks in her eyes, and he's glad because it's a little cliché and overdone, but if the sun angles in the right way her eyes shine just a bit brighter, which he supposes is a cliché anyway. He found that if you caught her at the right moment after someone cracked a joke, the millisecond of time just after the confusion of not knowing and before she worked it out, you could see the laughter in her eyes before it was released. Or maybe that was just Harry over analysing things (he adopted some of Hermione's traits).

At first, Ron had been the protective big brother he'd always wanted to be. He'd even threatened Harry with the typical threats and the serious 'if you hurt her I'll...'. But the big brother act had failed when he started laughing because this was his best friend, not his sister's boyfriend (he doesn't want to admit they are the same person, because then he's admitting that Ginny's grown up and then who's he meant to protect other than Hermione?).

Years later, when James is two years old and curious about everything and anything, Harry walks in on his wife reading his son a bedtime story. It's a muggle book, one Harry never got the chance to read as a child, but the sight of his family together makes him smile and its okay for a while. He forgets about the war and the battle scars and Ginny's tears when she thinks he's asleep. He focuses on the words as his (pregnant) wife reads, and before he knows it he's focusing on his son, who looks like Harry but has Ginny's temper (and eyes). And Harry hopes that the new baby will have his eyes so that he doesn't need to worry about protecting the only thing he has left of his mother.

When Albus is born Harry is concerned for a long time because his new son isn't much like James at all. Ginny assures him that it's because things switched – he gained Harry's personality and eyes, and Ginny's freckles (and the scrunching up of his nose when he thinks). Albus doesn't like bedtime stories from his mother, but instead likes to hear real stories about Hogwarts and magic and the pranks his Uncle's played on unsuspecting teachers.

Then Lily is born and the boys have to learn to play fair because this is a little girl, and even though hitting your brother is wrong it's even worse to hit a baby. Lily is different because she has Weasley hair and Harry's eyes and isn't stubborn and doesn't cry much (it's a nice change).

"This is your new baby sister," are six words he never thought he'd say but he's saying a lot of things he'd never thought he would, such as "stop hitting your brother" and "James, do your homework!"

Being a father is not something you can learn straight away - just another lesson he's learnt ever since James was born. Lily is lucky because he never almost-dropped her (not once), and he's glad he doesn't have to teach another child how to play football ("Dad, football is a icky boy sport! I'm a girl!") because, let's face it, the windows have been broken too many times.

And he knows it's a sappy love story (three children, beautiful wife), but he's glad because he's happy, which was something he'd never dreamed of being when he was nine and stuck in a cupboard under the stairs.