It was nearing lunchtime by the time the four children had cleaned the kitchen floor and surfaces of the worst of the mess. It had been a quiet morning with all four warriors maintaining an indignant silence. However, all good things must come to an end and at midday, the peace was broken by Kreacher entering to inspect the kitchen.
"Hmm..." he muttered running a wrinkled hand across the worktop and sweeping his eyes across the floor. The four children stood to attention in the centre of the room whilst Harry leant back in his chair. He was quite content to let Kreacher take control of discipline here – the kids needed two parental figures so why not an ageing elf? Well except for the fact that he was ageing and a house elf… At least he had experience with children!
"There will be no more fighting in my kitchen," Kreacher growled out as the children all nodded earnestly in unison. Harry had to crack a smile at the sight of the old elf marching in front like a drill sergeant when he was only as tall as Octavia. "Very good, dismissed. Go get clean"
With that the children scarpered from the room and Harry could hear them scurrying up the stairs to their bedrooms. He lazily stood up.
"So your kitchen, huh?" he teased Kreacher whilst waving his hand over the room and cleaning all the remnants left behind by the somewhat haphazard job.
Kreacher sniffed. "Kreacher's job, Kreacher's kitchen," he said. "Children will bankrupt family with food costs."
"You're changing the subject! Hopefully this'll be the last food fight though. And all six kids can't eat as much as Ron can on a bad day so I think we'll be fine," he laughed. "So, how did it go with Mrs Weasley?"
"Blood Traitor was displeased and wished to let me know. Kreacher may have silenced her in order to deliver his message. Kreacher may also have forgotten to unsilence her when he left."
"I'm so going to pay for that aren't I?"
"Kreacher apologises. Kreacher is old and forgetful." Kreacher's tone was sincere but the smile on his face was anything but. Harry tried not to laugh, even despite the ire he knew he was going to face from Molly and the rest of the redheads. Although George would probably get a laugh out of it. And certainly Fleur would appreciate it as she had never really become close to Molly. "Kreacher be cooking lunch now whilst Master be going shopping."
Harry, taking the hint, saluted Kreacher's back and left the kitchen.
"When you've finished getting clean, can you come to the library please?" he shouted up the stairs to the first floor before heading to the library himself. He dug out another catalogue he had picked up for a toy store and put that with the one the elves had marked their preferred furniture choices in. He didn't have to wait long before the kids all filed in.
"Octavia, Ursula can you look through this catalogue and pick out the furniture you want for you room," he said handing them the book and a pen. "Boys, have a look through this and pick out some toys you like. Just draw a circle around anything you want."
All four children set eagerly to the task. Most of the things in the toy catalogue were circled whilst the girls were a bit quieter. Ursula had picked a pink four poster bed whilst Octavia had chosen a white sleigh bed. Harry guessed he could work with that in a room. When they had finished, he got the kids to swap. The girls were less enthusiastic in their circling but both picked a number of things each. Harry was somewhat unsurprised by the furniture choices of the boys – both went for racing cars.
"Great job guys, I'm going to go out and get that sorted. Please behave for the elves and no more food fights okay? I'm not sure I could afford to keep buying so much food!"
The kids laughed but promised Harry that they would behave. He didn't really trust them alone although he knew that Kreacher would keep them in line whilst he was gone and he could hardly take them with him. It was going to be suspicious enough buying seven new beds without dragging the children in tow.
"I'm off Kreacher," he called into the kitchen. "I'll be back later."
Going shopping was still a novelty for Harry. As a child he had always been left at home and as a teen he was hiding from a homicidal maniac trying to kill him. His first stop was the furniture shop after a subtle glamour to make himself look older. With that ordered, it was off to the toy store. He wasn't gullible enough to buy everything that the boys had circled but bought an equal amount for both. He concentrated mainly on things which would encourage their imagination – dolls, cars and other 'make believe' items. He also bought some board games so that they could play together as a family. There were a few battery operated toys so Harry made sure to stock up on enough batteries. He hoped that there wasn't enough magic in Grimmauld to fry them all and it would give him a project to work on if it did. Arranging for delivery rather than risk being caught on CCTV shrinking his packages, Harry decided he'd spend a bit of time shopping for clothes and generally having a look around. He was torn by the thought of a TV but in the end decided to wait until he knew electrical items would work. Besides, unless he found a way to run electrical things off magic then he'd have to get the house hooked up to the national grid before he could use the TV anyway. He bought some more clothes for everyone including himself before heading to the bookshop.
Having never really had the inclination to look around a bookshop – muddle or wizard – Harry took the time to browse around the store. He started in the children's section and soon had a range of books for all six of the kids as well as a few teen fiction novels for himself. The science fiction and fantasy section made him laugh and he bought a few books that promised dragons and magic for a laugh. The non-fiction section was where Harry bought the most books – an encyclopedia, study guides for muggle courses, learning to read and write workbooks, a DIY manual, books on how electrical items worked and a whole host of other things which he thought might turn out to be useful. He also couldn't resist buying a selection of cookbooks with different cuisines for Kreacher. Paying for his selection, and being unable to get them delivered home, Harry decided to head back to the house and see what chaos had occurred whilst he was out.
Harry returned to the house to find the kids quietly eating lunch in the kitchen. The three new elves were helping their charges but Kreacher was nowhere to be found. Going over to the door to Kreacher's room, Harry knocked three times before the door swung open.
"Bought you a present Kreacher," Harry said handing over a shrunken pile of books. The elf took them carefully and sat them on the side table next to his bed. Harry leant against the door frame as he watched Kreacher resize them and undo the ribbon holding them together.
"Master is too kind to Kreacher" the old elf said breathlessly as he read the titles. He pulled out one on Indian cooking and started to flick through. "Kreacher will be trying out new recipe now."
Harry moved aside as Kreacher tottered over to the pantry and started to float food over to the counter top.
"Master should be back in twenty minutes for lunch,"
Harry took that as a dismissal and left to put the rest of the books in the library.