Author's Notes: Originally written for hgrhfan35 as part of the hg_seasonsfest on Live Journal. Thank you to my wonderful beta reader, r_becca.
"You want to do what?" Ginny Potter looked incredulously across the kitchen table at Harry who was casually flipping through the Quidditch section of The Daily Prophet whilst sipping his morning tea.
Harry looked up at her over the paper. "Er, I want to take the family to the States this summer for a holiday at the beach?"
"My family? Even Percy the prat?"
"Even Percy. And Teddy. Andromeda too, if she'll come, although I expect she might fancy a week to herself instead."
"Why? Have you gone completely off your nut or is this breakdown just temporary?"
Harry set down his paper and turned his complete attention to his wife. When his brilliant green eyes took on that battered puppy dog expression, Ginny was done for and Harry knew she would give in to whatever he asked of her. It was nice to have one trick up his sleeve and he wasn't afraid to take full advantage of it.
"Every year I was in primary school the teacher would assign an essay on what we did during our summer holiday. I loved hearing the stories my classmates told about trips to the continent, family outings to theme parks and ocean excursions. Well, you can imagine that to a boy who spent most of the summer as the Dursleys' house elf and staring at the inside of a cupboard, it all sounded rather enchanting. "
Ginny gave him a small, sad smile and put her hand over his. "Poor Harry." And then in a quieter voice that he wasn't sure he was supposed to hear, "Blasted Dursleys!"
"One girl in my year always told wonderful tales of summers she spent with her family on a beach in a place called Florida," Harry continued. "All of her aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents would let a big house right on the ocean and would spend their days playing in the water, building sand castles and collecting shells. Of course, I didn't even have a family and if the Dursleys were to take such a vacation, they certainly wouldn't take me along, but I used to think about it sometimes. If ever I were to have a family of my own…" He trailed off, lost in thought for a moment.
"And now that you have a family of your own, you want to take them to Florida," Ginny picked up for him.
"That's exactly it." He looked up at her with pleading eyes.
"You can stop with the puppy dog eyes, Potter. I may think you're absolutely mental, but I'm in."
Harry reached for his wife and pulled her onto his lap. "It's going to be brilliant, Gin. You'll see."
"I'm sure it will be," she said in a tone that indicated she was less than convinced. "So where is the Wizarding beach in Florida?"
"There is one in Miami, but that's not what I had in mind."
It took Ginny a moment to catch on and her eyes went wide. "You want to take my family on holiday to a Muggle beach?"
"Merlin help us."
"Merlin help Florida, you mean."
Nine weeks and a significant amount of cajoling, scheduling and exchanging of galleons later, Harry and Ginny found themselves in the sitting room of an enormous home situated serenely on a quiet strip of beach on the Gulf side of Florida. They were accompanied by Ginny's entire family, their significant others as well as their godson Teddy and niece Victoire.
The room was abuzz with excited chitchat as everyone took in their surroundings.
"Harry dear, it's too posh," Molly exclaimed. "You really shouldn't have."
Harry just smiled. He could tell by the gleam in her eye that Molly had spied the huge kitchen with all the latest in Muggle appliances.
George let out a low whistle. "Not bad Harrykins."
Ron stretched his long arms out and sighed. "Well, it's not much, but I guess we'll just have to call it home for the week."
"Prat," Ginny said as she gave his shoulder a shove.
"Can we go see the ocean now?" Teddy was jumping up and down with excitement as he looked out the floor to ceiling windows showcasing an incredible view of the coastline.
Harry scooped him up and ruffled his hair. "In just a minute, mate. I think Hermione has room assignments for us and then we can put on our bathing suits and hit the beach!"
When Harry had first recruited Hermione to help with the logistics of the trip, he had thought his idea was inspired. Whereas Harry had pretty much abandoned Muggle life the second he left the Dursleys, Hermione still kept a big toe stuck in that world in order to have some common bond with her parents. That, alongside her penchant for jumping head first into a project, in Harry's mind, made her the perfect accomplice to help coordinate their travel.
Knowing Hermione the way he did, he shouldn't have been surprised that she had embraced the project a little too enthusiastically. So instead of checking out the ocean or exploring the house as he was itching to do, he was stuck in the living room with Teddy wiggling in his lap, half listening to Hermione whilst she distributed the timetables she had prepared for each family member.
Obviously, they interpreted the term "holiday" quite differently. Whilst he was anticipating a relaxing time enjoying the beach and allowing the family to entertain themselves as they saw fit, Hermione had seemingly scheduled them all down to the last second with activities ranging from dolphin cruises to museum visits.
Ginny must have been using legilimency on him because at that moment he could have sworn her heard her mutter, "Did Hermione really just hand me a color coded timetable for our holiday?"
He knew he wasn't imagining things when Ron shook his head and said, "It's just like O.W.L.s all over again."
"Do they even have museums at the beach?" George asked.
Whilst Percy's wife Audrey was nodding her head enthusiastically as Hermione ran through the finer points of her schedule in excruciating detail, a quick glance around the room told Harry that mutiny was inevitable amongst the rest of the family, more than likely led by his wife.
Harry was just working up the nerve to intervene when Ron blurted out, "Hermione! Shag lessons?"
Suddenly there was renewed interest in the timetables as collective "What's?" were uttered around the room.
"Right, here." Ron pointed to his timetable, his ears growing redder by the second. "On Thursday at eight p.m. It says," he gulped. "Shag lessons."
The room suddenly exploded with chatter. Unfortunately for Ron most of it was at his expense.
"Is there something you need to tell us, Ronnie?" Bill sat up and slapped him on the back.
"Yeah, if your wife thinks you need shag lessons, perhaps we haven't fulfilled our obligations to you as older and more experienced brothers." George said with a wicked gleam, which earned him a jab in the ribs from Katie.
"Sod off." Ron was not amused.
"You only have to read Witch Weekly to know that Harry and I have no need of shag lessons, so I think we'll opt out of that one," Ginny casually buffed her nails against her shirt and gave Harry a wink.
"Hermione, if you're not satisfied…"
"Charles Weasley!" Molly scolded. "I'm sure your guest does not appreciate your vulgar humor. I know I don't." Something about the way she turned up her nose when she said "guest" made it seem like she had smelt something unpleasant.
"Sorry, Mum," said Charlie, trying to look repentant. The effect was ruined when he aimed a lascivious look at his 'when it's convenient for both of us' companion, Gwenog Jones.
By this time, Ron's face had left red and was heading towards purple. Hermione, resembling an exasperated schoolteacher, entered full lecture mode. "The Shag is an American dance that originated in the Myrtle Beach area of the state of South Carolina and is popular along the southeast coast. One of the Muggle resorts is hosting a Family Shag Night on Thursday with free lessons and I thought it would be a fun family outing."
"If there's one thing I don't want to participate in, it's a family shag with you lot." Besides laughter, George's comment earned him another poke in the ribs from his wife and a glare from his mother.
"I wanna learn to shag," piped in Teddy.
The whole room burst into laughter at that, even Hermione and Molly.
Harry patted his godson on the back. "All in good time, son. All in good time."
After twenty more minutes of listening, or not as the case the may be, to Hermione drone on about room assignments, meal responsibilities, the non-magical emphasis of the holiday and scheduled activities, they were finally set free to explore. Harry quickly stashed his and Ginny's belongings in their suite and Teddy's in the room he was sharing with Bill and Fleur's daughter Victoire. Then, as promised, he changed clothes and after he helped Teddy into a swimsuit, they raced out of the house and down the walkway to the warm white sand and beautiful blue water of the Gulf of Mexico. Ginny was not too far behind and soon they had waded out into the water with Teddy between them.
"I have to hand it to you, Potter," Ginny shouted over Teddy's gleeful laughter as they lifted him up so he could jump the incoming wave. "This is unlike any beach I've ever seen in England."
"So perhaps I'm not altogether off my nut?" he asked.
"Oh I still think you're completely off your nut, but the beach and the house are both quite lovely." She gave him a cheeky grin before diving into the approaching wave.
Slowly but surely, the rest of the Weasley clan made their way out to the beach. Ginny's giggle got Harry's attention and she pointed towards the walkway where Percy and his wife Audrey were cautiously approaching the sand. Audrey was covered from head to toe in a loose fitting, gauzy gown and a huge floppy hat. She was holding on to Percy for dear life and looked to be quite uncertain about the whole sand and water business. But Percy was the real spectacle. His swim trunks were big and baggy, landing just above his knees and were an obnoxious blend of electric pink and green. Very un-Percylike. Without a shirt, Percy was the palest person Harry had ever seen and that was saying a lot since he lived in England and had married into a large family of redheads.
"Hey Perce," Ginny called out. "You're looking a bit pasty even for a Weasley. When's the last time your bod's seen the light of day?"
"You know I am far too busy at the Ministry to have time to engage in outdoor activities, Ginevra," Percy's tone was far too serious for a man wearing such a ridiculous bathing suit.
Ginny opened her mouth to make another crack at Percy's expense, but thought better of it and returned her attention to her two favorite men.
Harry was having a grand time splashing around with Teddy and Ginny. It seemed like they had only been at it for a few minutes when Hermione appeared on the beach with her hands or her hips. "Harry and Ginny, why are you in the water? Did you even look at your timetable? You both were clearly scheduled to accompany Ron and me to the store to stock up on provisions and pick up some takeaway pizza for the evening meal, ten minutes ago."
Harry was a firm believer that soul bonds were the stuff of fairy tales and romance novels, but he could swear that at times he could read Ginny's mind and she could read his. For example, at that moment he knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was thinking 'deal with your friend and her bloody timetable soon or I will' just by the scathing look she shot his way. And he knew that she clearly understood his silent reply of 'yes, dear' by his sheepish expression.
"Give us a minute to dry off, Hermione," Harry said as he reluctantly headed to the shore with Teddy in tow.
"Molly and Arthur want to tag along. Molly wants to supervise selecting the food and I think Arthur is almost beside himself at the thought of visiting a Muggle superstore."
Both Harry and Ginny laughed in spite of their frustration at being dragged off the beach so quickly.
"I think we'll need to take two vehicles, so Ginny will need to drive as well."
It was a bit of a fluke that of all the Weasleys, Ginny was the only one that could properly drive an automobile. One of her Harpies' teammates was Muggleborn and had taught her to drive on a lark during downtime at training camp. Harry wasn't sure if Arthur was prouder of Ginny for her many Quidditch accomplishments or because she had a driver's license.
"But I want to jump more waves," whinged Teddy, who had stopped before they reached the sand and crossed his arms. His mouth took on a stubborn expression that looked suspiciously like a pout.
Ginny kneeled down so she was eye level with Teddy. "Me too Teddy Bear, but right now Uncle Harry needs your special help at the store to pick out some toys for our trip and some tools so we can build a huge sand castle tomorrow."
"Exactly like Hogwarts," promised Ginny.
"Can Tory come too?" he asked hopefully.
"Of course Tory can come. I'm sure you blokes will need a woman's input."
That settled it for Teddy and he was off as quick as his little four-year old legs could carry him to find Victoire.
Harry smiled. He was grateful everyday for the easy way that Ginny had with Teddy. As much as his first priority after the final battle had been getting things back on track with her, he took his responsibility to his godson very seriously. Some girls might not be too chuffed about sharing so much of their man with an infant, especially early in their courtship, but Ginny had taken to Teddy like a grindylow to water. She was an outstanding godmother and he felt sure she would be an outstanding mum when the time came.
The trip from the beach house to the Wal-Mart Supercenter was harrowing to say the least. Neither Ginny nor Hermione were used to the especially large vehicles Hermione had procured for their use during the trip. Plus, it would take a while to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road from the wrong side of the car. Molly was white as a ghost by the time they reached the parking lot of the huge store and Harry was surprised her fingers were not permanently embedded in the seat cushions. For his part, Arthur entertained himself by moving his seat back and forth and pushing any button within reach until Ginny finally snapped at him for distracting her from driving.
To say that the Weasleys were overwhelmed as they approached the store would be an understatement. Molly seemed a little frightened, but Arthur's face was lit up like his finest dream was laid out before him.
"Why do I think this will be the highlight of Dad's trip?" Ginny whispered to Harry as they trekked through the parking lot.
"Don't think for a second that it won't be." Harry pulled her into a side hug and kissed the top of her head. He was sure he was going to enjoy this.
Arthur, anxious to get in the store, had picked up the pace. He reached the entrance first, and stopped in front of a pair of closed doors. He looked around. There was no knob. Then he looked from side to side. Other doors were opening and closing whilst people shuffled through.
"Harry, I thought you said this was a Muggle area," he said.
"But the doors. They must be magic, but I don't see any wands."
Hermione stepped up. "Just walk up to the door Arthur. When you cross the invisible beam of light, a signal is sent to the doors to tell them to open. It's a common Muggle technology."
He did as Hermione said and his eyes got huge when the doors opened before him. "And do they operate on elektrocity, Hermione?"
"Ah," Arthur said. "Ingenious. Would anyone mind terribly if I tried it again?"
Arthur went in and out the automatic doors three more times whilst the rest gathered carts and divided assignments. Ginny seemed a little put out when, at Hermione's insistence, she got stuck shopping for groceries with the women. Harry knew she really wanted to go toy shopping with him and the kids, but she was a good sport about it.
Harry and his crew made quite the picture when they finally met up with the rest of the family, save Arthur, near the registers forty-five minutes later. Victoire was attached to his right leg causing him to walk like a zombie whilst Teddy was riding piggyback. Harry was doing his best to navigate two carts, followed by Ron with another, all overflowing with every beach toy imaginable.
"I haven't seen that many shovels since the reconstruction of Hogwarts," Ginny gave Harry a knowing glance.
He supposed some men might take offense at the indulgent look his wife was giving him, but Harry was glad she understood that sometimes he just needed to be a kid. He didn't need a mind healer to tell him that in some way he was trying to make up for his rotten childhood. He got that and so did Ginny, which in his mind was just one more reason to love her.
And if Uncle Harry had a reputation as a pushover when it came to his godson and his niece, he was okay with that too.
"Well, we've got castles to build, don't we kiddos?" Harry responded to his wife's teasing.
"Uncle Harry's going to help us build a castle tomorrow, just like Hogwarts!" Teddy said with great enthusiasm.
"And bawwy us in the sand!" added Victoire.
"Well then I guess we need all that stuff," Ginny tousled Victoire's hair and then Teddy's. "Where's Dad?"
"Er, we lost him about twenty minutes ago," Harry confessed.
"Yeah," said Ron. "We couldn't get him away from this little box that kept spitting out shiny pieces of parchment. Every time he pulled one out, a light would flash and another one would pop out. He was acting like he was confunded or something. When we went back to get him, he was gone."
"Sounds like a coupon dispenser." Hermione observed Molly meticulously placing the groceries on the conveyor belt. "Arthur's going to hate that he missed checking out. Ginny and I will go look for him. Ron use your card to pay for the groceries and Harry can pick up the toys."
"Bossy much?" Ginny whispered to Harry before dutifully following Hermione on her quest to find Arthur.
Ginny was making jokes now, but Harry could smell trouble brewing. Ginny and Hermione were the best of friends, but they approached life very differently. Sometimes Ginny buckled under Hermione's innate bossiness and rigidness whilst Hermione occasionally got frustrated with Ginny's more carefree attitude. The way Harry had it figured, Ginny would play along and make wisecracks at Hermione's expense for a day or two, but if Hermione wasn't careful, she'd be beating off bat bogies before the week was out.
Twenty minutes later everything was bagged and paid for and there was still no sign of Arthur. Hermione went to the service desk to have him paged whilst the rest headed to the cars to load up their haul. They found him back at the automatic doors jumping forward just enough to get the doors to start opening and then jumping back and starting again.
Arthur started when he heard, "Arthur Weasley, please report to the Customer Service Desk." He looked up from side to side utterly confused.
"Arthur, there you are," scolded Molly. "Where have you been?"
"I just heard my name coming from the ceiling," he said, clearly bewildered.
"Yes, dear. Hermione had you paged, whatever that means, so that we could find you."
"Ah," he said the smile returning to his face. "Brilliant, those Muggles."
By about eight thirty the next morning, the kitchen was beginning to fill with various Weasleys of all shapes and sizes. Harry and Katie were at the stove giving Molly a hand with breakfast whist helping her adjust to the Muggle appliances. Katie was Muggleborn and Harry was certainly no stranger to the workings of a Muggle kitchen having cooked for the Dursleys since he was wee. He was actually impressed at how quickly Molly was catching on to cooking without magic.
Ginny and Gwenog entered the kitchen from the outside door, both sweaty and panting heavily. They were clearly dressed for exercise in running shorts, sports bras and trainers.
"Looks like you two were up and about early," Katie said.
"You think?" Ginny shot a withering look towards Gwenog. "What I'd like to know is how I've wound up on holiday not only with my entire family, but my boss as well. No offense intended."
"None taken," Gwenog smiled. "I can't help it if your brother finds me irresistible."
Molly pursued her lips, but didn't speak so Ginny continued, "Instead of a much deserved lie-in on the first day of my holiday, I was roused out of bed at seven o'clock in the morning for a training run by this lunatic, even though the season just ended three days ago."
"You'll thank me when training camp starts."
"It's bloody hot out there." She pulled two bottles of water from the refrigerator and tossed one to Gwenog. "My knickers are soaked through and not in a good way I might add."
Harry looked over his shoulder from the stove and raised an eyebrow at his wife.
Ron choked loudly and spewed a mouthful of juice across the table. "Did not need to know that Gin." He looked at her with mild disgust. "Especially not before breakfast. And I don't see what Muggles see in this orange juice by the way. It's got nothing on pumpkin juice."
Ginny volunteered to help Molly take care of the dishes after the fry up was devoured whilst the men were set the task of hauling all the gear to the beach.
After spending an hour setting up beach chairs and umbrellas, lugging coolers full of Muggle beer and soft drinks and all the beach toys down from the house and erecting a tent to keep Audrey sheltered from the sun, Harry was beginning to question the wisdom of the Muggle holiday concept. The whole ordeal would have taken less than five minutes with magic.
He didn't have a chance to brood about it for more than a moment because every coherent thought flew out of his head the second he laid eyes on Ginny sauntering down the walkway in a tiny blue bikini.
"That bathing suit should be illegal, Gin." Harry whistled and gave his wife a not so subtle once over; appreciating the way the bikini showcased her assets.
"You like?" she asked smugly. Harry was certain the little minx had known precisely the effect the suit would have on him when she purchased it.
"Let's just say I'm glad you're related to every other wizard here or I might get myself in trouble." Harry grabbed a bottle of suntan lotion from the closest beach bag. "Let's get some sunscreen on so you don't burn."
"You know there's a charm for that Harry."
"Ah, but this is a strictly non-magical vacation. Besides, this is one thing where Muggles have it all over wizards." He poured some lotion in his hands and then rubbed them together.
"And why is that?"
"A sunscreen charm wouldn't give me a legitimate reason to get my hands over all this glorious skin in broad daylight without getting me hexed or arrested." Harry began to gently rub the lotion onto her back, starting at her shoulders and working his way down, careful to work it underneath the straps.
"I feel like I should be lying down for this."
"Lie away." Harry gestured to the beach chair he had set up for her. Ginny lay down on her stomach and Harry continued his ministrations. When he reached her lower back, she began to moan ever so softly. After a quick glance around to make sure no one was looking, Harry let his hand dip under the waistband of her bottoms.
"Harry!" Ginny hissed. "My mum is just two chairs over!"
"Sorry, but it's important to get all the nooks and crannies. You never know which little bit will burn."
"My bum is perfectly safe from the sun." She took the bottle of lotion from him and tweaked his left nipple for good measure. "I think I'll take over now."
"Spoilsport," Harry laughed.
As soon as they were properly greased up and protected from the sun, Harry and Ginny took Teddy out in the water and went about the serious business of testing the boogie boards Harry had procured on the Wal-Mart excursion. Teddy was adorable waddling about in his mask and fins. He squealed with delight when he and Harry caught their first wave.
Ron, Charlie, Gwenog, George and Katie joined them in the water. It took some cajoling from Bill before Fleur allowed him and Victoire to give it a go. Harry thought he heard her mumble something about not being ladylike.
"Hard to believe she was a Tri-Wizard Champion," muttered Ginny, snatching Teddy for another ride.
As often happened when there was more than one Weasley involved in an activity, the wave riding quickly turned into a competition. Challenges were issued and bets were made as to who could catch the biggest wave and ride it the furthest.
Just as things were starting to heat up, Hermione, who had been chatting with Molly and Arthur and reading, stepped to the edge of the water. "We'll need to go in and get cleaned up for lunch soon."
"Hermione, we just got out here," Ron whinged. "And it took us a bloody hour to get all this junk set up."
"And Mum and I put some sandwiches together before we came down," Ginny pointed towards where Molly was sitting. "They're over there in that basket by Mum's chair along with crisps and biscuits."
"Well why didn't you say so?" Ron forgot all about the competition at the first mention of food and trotted off towards the sandwiches.
"That wasn't on the schedule," said Hermione thoughtfully. "I guess it gives us a bit more time before we need to be ready to go to the aquarium."
Ginny shot Harry a look that made it clear it was time for him to speak up.
"Er, about that Hermione," he said cautiously. "I sort of promised Teddy we'd build a sand castle this afternoon. We already had to beg off yesterday to do the shopping."
"The trip to the aquarium was clearly marked on the timetable for this afternoon."
Ginny pulled a face at him over Hermione's shoulder and was making big eyes at him, obviously trying to communicate something. Oh, puppy dog eyes.
"It is our first day here and well, I've never actually gotten to build a sand castle before." Harry pulled out the big guns and gave her his patented wounded puppy face. "Couldn't we go to the aquarium another day? "
Even Hermione's logical and well-organized mind was not immune when Harry turned on the charm, not that she would let him know that. "Humph, you know this means I'll have to redo the entire timetable." And with that she huffed off.
Ginny wrapped her arms around her husband and whispered, "You weren't almost sorted into Slytherin for nothing, Potter."
Harry just smiled.
After she got over the disruption to her schedule, Hermione embraced the sand castle project with gusto. She divided the area up into quadrants and assigned each individual a section of the castle to recreate. Harry and Teddy worked on Gryffindor Tower whilst Ginny set to work on Hagrid's hut. They used shovels and buckets of various shapes and sizes. Harry even broke his no magic rule and waved his hand a time or two to help the process along and make it more realistic. No one seemed to mind and the kids were thrilled.
When they were finished, Teddy broke out into the Hogwarts song and was soon joined by Harry and George.
Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something, please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
"Teddy, you already know the Hogwarts song," Hermione said. "That's impressive."
"Harry's been singing it to him to put him to sleep since he was a baby," Ginny said.
This caused a collective "Awwwwww" to rise up from all the women.
Harry shrugged his shoulders and muttered, "It was the only song I knew all the words to."
No one dared to argue with Hermione when she announced it was time to get ready for dinner. Harry guessed he would have to fulfill his promise to bury the kids in the sand tomorrow.
At the designated meeting time, Harry and Ginny came bounding down the stairs swinging Teddy between them.
"We're all sand free and ready for dinner," Ginny announced to the family who were gathered in the sitting room.
"Who died?" Obviously she had noted that everyone else's attire was far more formal than the shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops she, Teddy and Harry were sporting. Fleur was dressed for a night on the town in a form fitting silver dress and heels. With his blue blazer, white pants and shoes; Percy resembled the captain of a ship. All he needed was the hat.
Audrey looked scandalized at the sight of the happy trio and the room went dead quiet.
"Percy and Audrey are taking us all out for a nice dinner tonight," Hermione said nervously.
"We know," Harry said. "That's why we got cleaned up."
"If you'd only pay attention to your timetable, it specifically noted that everyone was to dress for dinner this evening." Hermione gestured to her ever-present schedule, which she had taken to carrying on a clipboard with a pen attached.
Ginny growled and took a deep breath before speaking, "We are dressed for dinner. We're at the beach for Merlin's sake."
"I think Audrey had something rather posh in mind," Charlie offered.
"I packed us for the beach." Ginny gritted her teeth in an attempt to control her temper. "We didn't bring anything posh. We've got collared shirts, but I didn't even bring long trousers."
If anyone was thinking they could just transfigure something, they weren't brave enough to say it aloud and risk Ginny's temper.
"That will have to do then," Audrey huffed. "But Teddy will need to change his hair to something more normal."
"No," said Harry as he ran his hand over Teddy's blue locks.
"No?" Percy was taken aback.
"Percy, you know we don't ever ask Teddy to hide his abilities." Ginny said.
"But ze Muggles, what weel ze zink?" said Fleur.
"I don't give a rat's arse what the Muggles think." There was solid steel behind Harry's voice. "I'll confund the lot of them if I have to. Teddy is a Metamorphmagus, not a freak. I won't allow anyone to make him feel like one nor will I ask him to change to fit anyone's definition of normal."
Harry had relaxed so much after he recovered from spending the bulk of his life being hunted by a dark lord; his family sometimes forgot what he had been through and what he was capable of. At times like this, he reminded them.
"They didn't mean anything by it, Harry," said Bill. "You and Hermione were clear that we were not to use magic. That's all."
"You're right, but this one thing is non-negotiable, Muggles or no."
"'Sides," said Ron. "This is America. No one will think twice about a kid with blue hair. George and I saw a dog wearing a bathing suit on the beach this afternoon, didn't we George?"
That broke the tension and Harry was thankful to his friend for bailing him out of that one.
They did change into collared shirts before loading up for the trek into town for dinner. Ginny could barely contain her glee when it was obvious that Itheir/I attire was more suited to the seafood restaurant Audrey had selected and everyone else was far over dressed.
Over the next two days, there was an ebb and flow of relaxing on the beach and enjoying the family whist accommodating Hermione's schedule and the plethora of events she had planned. They managed the trip to the aquarium all right. Harry thought it was fine, but figured if he wanted to look at fish he would do a bubblehead charm and swim with them. Teddy and Victoire enjoyed watching the colorful fish for a bit, but they soon lost interest, which was to be expected at their ages. Hermione and Audrey, of course, wanted to read every placard and discuss each specimen in detail. It made for a long afternoon, although Teddy was thrilled with the stuffed octopus Harry bought him because it reminded him of the Giant Squid.
Molly sent a steady stream of disapproving looks Gwenog's way. She clearly did not approve of her as a companion for Charlie and was scandalized that they were sharing a room. This didn't faze Gwenog in the slightest, but it did put Ginny on edge.
One night after dinner, Harry found his wife curled up in a hammock on the far side of the porch. She appeared to be deep in thought and for once was blessedly alone. Harry took a moment to appreciate how the setting sun played over her face and flickered over the multitude of highlights in her gorgeous red hair.
"Budge over," Ginny looked up at Harry's request and shifted to make room for him in the hammock. He barely managed to join her without toppling them both over.
"You're hiding out here." It was a statement, not a question.
"I suppose," she said pensively. "Between Mum shooting daggers at Gwenog, Audrey attempting to add some culture to our lives and Hermione trying to schedule when we're allowed to use the loo, I just needed a moment."
"What else?" he asked and began rocking them in the hammock.
"I'm also trying to figure out how it is that we've been on holiday for three days… I mean we've actually slept in the same bed for three consecutive nights and we've not managed to shag once!"
"Believe me, I know."
"We have more sex working in different countries than we have had on this holiday."
"Well, having Teddy sneak into our bed every night hasn't helped. Not to mention Mum popping in our room at odd times trying to collect laundry and dirty dishes."
"Or Hermione busting in on us with revisions to her bloody timetable. I'm about ready to shove that blasted thing right up her uptight little arse."
"How do you think I feel? You've been scampering about in that bit of fabric you call a bathing suit. I've had a stiffy since we got here and haven't managed to get you alone for five minutes to take care of it."
"I hope it will take longer than five minutes." Ginny's smile was beginning to take on a wicked quality he knew well and both her hands were slowly making their way under his t-shirt and up his torso.
Harry sat up suddenly and managed to dump both of them out of the hammock and onto the porch on their arses.
"Ouch!" Ginny scowled and rubbed her bum.
Harry stood up quickly and offered her his hand. She was still scowling, but took it tentatively.
"Come on," he said as he pulled her toward the back door. "We're going for a walk."
"On the beach. Alone." His raised eyebrow was the only hint Ginny needed to cotton on to his intentions.
"I think I'm up for a walk."
Harry stuck his head through the back door and into the kitchen. "Mum, will you keep an eye on Teddy for a bit? Ginny and I are going to go for a walk on the beach."
"Certainly dear," Molly called out cheerfully. "Enjoy yourselves."
Ron, who was propped up on the kitchen counter stuffing biscuits into his gob, held a hand up and called out after Harry once he managed to swallow. "Hold up for a minute mate. I'll grab Hermione and we'll join you."
"NO!" Harry and Ginny shouted together before stepping off the back porch and disappearing into the approaching darkness.
Ron looked at Molly, shrugged his shoulders and returned his full attention to the biscuits in front of him.
What started as a playful jog to put some distance between themselves and the house soon turned into an all out game of chase. Ginny took off after giving Harry's bum a squeeze and he was quickly in full pursuit.
"You're getting soft on me, Potter." Ginny called out over her shoulder from several yards out in front. "Spending too much time behind your desk, I think."
His eyes darted back and forth to assess their surroundings before Harry put on a sudden burst of speed and chased Ginny up towards the dunes and tackled her beside a small sailboat.
Before Ginny could let out an "oomph," Harry had settled on top of her and his hands were suddenly wherever he could find bare skin.
"I. Am. Not. Soft," Harry emphasized each word as he attacked her neck and pressed his hips into her to prove his point.
"I'd say not." Her body thrust back against his hardness automatically and her hands fisted in his hair.
Harry paused his attack on her neck, sat up and wandlessly cast a few charms to ensure their privacy.
"What happened to no magic, Mr. Muggle Holiday?" Ginny teased whilst tugging his shirt up over his head.
"I said no magic unless it was an emergency and this is definitely an emergency," Harry returned his attention to her neck and his hands made their way to her waist and the hem of her sports top.
"Still, a bit hypocritical don't you think?"
"Shut it, you!" Harry laughed and in a split second, Ginny's top was up around her neck and Harry was latched onto her left breast. That quieted Ginny save a near constant stream of moaning and cursing.
In the time it took Ginny to slide off his shorts and free his erection, Harry had worked her shorts down and plunged two fingers into her center. He found her wet, hot and ready.
When they finally came together it was fast, frantic and over far too quickly. They lay together panting for a moment as they both came down from their individual highs. Ginny giggled to break the silence. "I hope your charm work was up to par, love. We'd make quite the spectacle if any Muggles were to wander by."
Harry laughed in agreement as he took in their appearance. He was bare-chested and his shorts and pants rested just beneath his bare white bum, which was wedged tightly between Ginny's naked thighs. Her shorts and knickers were around her ankles and her breasts poked out beneath her top, which was still hiked up around her neck.
They held each other, laughing together before Ginny started to wiggle out from under him.
"Wait, don't move," Harry pleaded. "Give me a minute and I'll be up for another go."
Nearly an hour later, Harry and Ginny returned to the beach house to find rest of the family involved in what appeared to be a Muggle card game around the dining room table. All were present and accounted for from the youngest to the oldest. Molly had even stopped fussing in the kitchen long enough to play. George had Teddy on one knee and Victoire on the other, helping both sort through their cards and probably teaching them to cheat.
Harry smiled as he took in his family's laughter as they enjoyed the game and each other's company. This was exactly what he'd had in mind when he arranged this holiday. His smile faded quickly though as Ginny stepped in front of him to take her place at the table and he noticed that her back was covered in sand from head to foot.
"How was your walk, dears?" Molly inquired from behind her hand of cards.
Harry tried to get Ginny's attention with a jerk of his head.
"It was lovely," Ginny raised a curious eyebrow at Harry. "The sunset was gorgeous. I hope we can enjoy a repeat performance before we have to go home."
Harry looked intently at Ginny and began brushing the back of his head and shoulders in an exaggerated motion. His eyes were huge and he jerked his head again trying in vain to get her attention. So much for that soul bond thing, he thought.
"What are you on about, Harry?" She looked at him like he was mad.
George, Charlie and Gwenog all burst out laughing at Harry's antics and Ginny's complete obliviousness. For his part, Harry sighed and rested his head in his hand.
"What Harry is not so subtly trying to tell you Gin Gin is that you forgot to shake the sand out of your hair and off your bum after your 'walk'." George was grinning ear to phantom ear when he made quote signs with his fingers to emphasis the word walk.
The adults at the table burst out in laughter as it became clear just exactly what Harry and Ginny had gotten up to on their "walk." Teddy and Victoire laughed loudest of all even though that didn't know exactly what they were laughing at.
"Did Uncle Harry bury you in the sand too, Aunt Ginny?" Teddy asked with a giggle.
The table erupted in laughter once more at his innocent remark.
"I think he buried something alright, but it wasn't Ginny. I think he might have buried something in Gin–" Charlie started with a smirk.
"Charles Weasley!" Molly interrupted. "Between your language and your shacking up with that, that…" She looked at Gwenog before continuing. "Well I won't have that kind of talk at the table. Especially not in front of the children."
Ginny leaned into Harry who had taken an empty seat at her side and groaned. "Please tell me that in addition to getting busted shagging on the beach by my entire family that my mum did not just call my coach a scarlet woman."
"I won't tell you then. Besides, Gwen doesn't seem too put out about it."
Ginny gave Gwenog an apologetic look, but she just winked and smiled at her. "Probably not. It's tough to get under her skin. Merlin knows I've tried over the years."
Ginny shifted uncomfortably in her seat for a moment and then whispered in his ear. "And for the record Potter, next time we shag on the beach, I call top. I have sand everywhere."
"Everywhere?" He raised an eyebrow and contemplated just how quickly they could manage next time.
Things came to a head the next morning when Hermione, clipboard in hand, jumped on Ginny and Gwenog the second they returned from their morning run. "You two only have thirty minutes to eat breakfast and get ready. You're to be at the cars at nine or we'll be late for the museum." She pointed to where this was noted on the timetable.
Harry had been expecting this for days. Apparently he wasn't the only one as he heard George say, "Time to relax and enjoy the show."
Ginny stood and with a murderous look on her face pointed at Hermione's clipboard. "I don't like that thing. And here's what I'm doing with it." With a wave of her hand and a charm Harry couldn't quite make out, Hermione's clipboard burst into flames and then vanished, timetable and all. Apparently Harry was not the only Potter with a penchant for wandless magic.
Hermione was outraged. "How dare you? I've worked hard to keep us on schedule and make sure that everyone has a good time on this trip and you've just ruined it."
Ginny was not to be cowed. "We'd all be having a great time if you'd leave us the hell alone and let us enjoy our holiday."
Harry could tell from observing Ron that he was torn between being angry with Ginny for upsetting his wife and cheering her on because he secretly agreed with her. Not that he was going to tell Hermione that.
Hermione's anger was dissipating and she was getting teary. When the first tear fell, Ginny's temper quickly turned to regret.
"Oh Hermione, you know I love you, but I'm afraid we are not compatible travelers."
"I just wanted…" she blubbered.
"It's okay," Ginny pulled her into a hug. "We all appreciate your hard work. It's just that I'm coming off a long season and Harry just closed a case he's been working on forever. We need some down time. We're busy all the time. So when we're on holiday, we just want to relax. My idea of the perfect holiday is to build sand castles with Teddy, catch an occasional wave, take long walks with Harry and soak up some sun in my lovely chair whilst I read the three trashy novels I brought from home."
Harry had to give her credit for holding her own so far. Ginny was usually as helpless as he was around crying females.
"But we've come all the way to America. We need to absorb some of the culture."
"Absorb away. That's the beauty of this trip. You can absorb the culture to your heart's content. We can relax to ours and still enjoy some fun time together. We don't all have to be together every minute of the day. I would suggest letting everyone decide what activities they want to participate in and then letting us do the things we enjoy. And for the record, I'm not going to the museum this morning."
Harry wasn't sure that Hermione was totally at peace with it, but she and Audrey went the museum together without making too much of a fuss when everyone else elected to stay home.
The rest of the trip went by quickly and a bit more peacefully. For their part, Harry and Ginny stuck close to the beach house and enjoyed the relaxation they were so desperately craving. They did, however, think the day spent at the water park was brilliant and made sure to let Hermione know they appreciated her arranging it.
All too soon the trunks were packed and it was time to head home. Everyone was crowded around the beach float Harry had converted to a Portkey.
"Everybody hold on. The Portkey leaves in seven, six, five…" When he hit four, Harry gently, but firmly pulled Ginny away from the raft.
"Harry, what are you doing? We've missed the Portkey!" She said as she watched her family disappear before her eyes.
Harry placed his arms around her from behind and rested his chin on the top of her head. "I know you thought I was off my nut when I suggested this holiday."
"I think this holiday has proved emphatically that you are completely off your nut."
"Let's just say I had a suspicion that we would need a holiday from our holiday when all was said and done. So, I booked us for an extra week. Just us."
"Nope, color coded or otherwise."
"No godson crawling into our bed every night?"
"No swotty sister-in-law trying to make us dress up for dinner?"
"I hope to see you in cut-offs and a bikini top or less for the next week!"
"Perhaps you aren't a complete nutter." Ginny turned in his arms and began fiddling with the hair at the nape of his neck. "Still, it's an awfully big house for just the two of us."
"I think we'll manage. If we start now we'll have plenty of time to explore every inch of it." Harry's hand around her waist began to caress the bare skin between her jeans and top.
Ginny pulled herself in even tighter and brought her lips to his ear. "Harry?"
"Yes Love?" Harry's voice was low and sultry.
"We're never doing this again, right?"
"It wasn't all bad was it?" His hands were creeping their way up her torso, underneath her shirt.
"I guess it had its moments," she admitted.
"You've already booked the house for next year, haven't you?"
Harry just grinned as he picked her up, threw her over his shoulder and carried her to the nearest bedroom.