A/N:Hello, everyone, I'm back after two months (not three as I had planned!!!) with the sequel you were waiting for! …or at least I suppose you were waiting for it – seeing all those reviews begging me to start posting this story… It felt really good to get so many reviews, even months after having uploaded the final chapter of The greatest scandal of Hogwarts history. (in the future I'll be referring to it as TGSoHH.)
I must tell you that you placed an enormous weight on my shoulders by your enthusiasm for TGSoHH. Yes, a really huge weight, because I had to come up to the standard of that – write something just as good or better - and I'm not sure whether I succeeded or not. That is something you will have to tell me. (this means: review, review, review! :)
I also need to tell you that this story is a little bit darker than the first one, and the emphasis will be more on emotions than on action (though I think it won't be too mushy – I hate mushy stuff!) In this fic Harry won't be the wand-waver all-saver type - there will be more depth to his character (and I hope I haven't screwed it up!:) Some scenes might be somewhere between PG-13 and R, but they will never actually reach R rating (no explicit sex or rudeness, I promise!) This story is going to be a bit longer than the first one (some of you complained that 34 chapters weren't enough! :)
I was quite in a dilemma what genre to give the fic - eventually I chose Romance/Suspense, but the fic is also going to contain almost all genres: humour, drama, angst, adventure, fantasy, mystery, etc. (more drama and angst than in TGSoHH.)
Don't forget that I'm still Hungarian (having a Horntail dragon tied up in the back garden), so I might make grammatical and spelling mistakes.
To those who haven't read my first fic but would like to read this one: I strongly advise you to read The greatest scandal of Hogwarts history, because I will be referring to things that happened in there.
To my faithful readers – a bit of reminder:
Voldemort died when Ginny sacrificed herself for Harry at Stonehenge. Harry brought her back with the Green Flame Torch that was in the Khufu pyramid in Egypt. That torch belonged to Apophys, the serpent god.
At the end of TGSoHH Ginny told Harry that she was pregnant with a second child. Fleur was also expecting a baby from Bill. Dudley married Millicent Bulstrode and Petunia and Vernon had a baby boy called David, who got listed in the Hogwarts Parchment Book.
Neville got his parents back (they aren't insane anymore) and he's become a great Quidditch-player, playing seeker for the Wimbourne Wasps.
Lucius Malfoy had been mad for a while (because Voldemort cast the Cruciatus on him), but now he's all right again.
Hermione became an Arithmancy teacher at Hogwarts and Ron opened a broomstick shop at Hogsmeade after the Weasleys had become wealthy, thanks to a niffler who found a huge crate of gold at the Burrow.
Harry and Malfoy kind of reconciled and they had to attend Hogwarts for one more year because neither of them spent their whole seventh year at the school. Harry spent his last year in Ginny's class. (During the school year Molly and Arthur took care of H and G's daughter, Lily.)
Now Harry and Ginny have graduated and they both live in Sirius' house, together with Lily.
Well, I guess that's all, I hope you remember more than just this :)
Disclaimer:J. K. Rowling is the 'mother' of the Harry Potter characters. I'm only babysitting them for a while.
I'd like to say thanks to my wonderful mother who volunteered to beta this story and gave me lots of advice.
And now, on to the first chapter – have fun and don't forget to review!
THE GREATEST SHAME A WIZARD COULD SUFFER
written by AgiVega
Three Men and a Baby
21st July 1999
"Aaaaaaaand Longbottom has the snitch!" the commentator's voice came through the magical microphone.
The Whimbourne Wasps had won the match – their fourth match with Neville as their seeker.
As soon as the young man managed to get away from his whooping fans, another young man with jet-black hair walked up to him.
"Nice flying up there, Neville."
"I already fear having to play against you." Harry smiled.
"You are exaggerating." Neville grinned. "I wouldn't have been able to perform this well if the weather hadn't been so favouring."
"The weather?" Harry stifled a laugh. "Yes, it's really nice and clear… though Professor Trelawney predicted that there would be a hail today…"
"Good ol' Trelawney…" Neville smirked. "I never thought she'd apply for Witch Weekly's part-time meteorologist job. There she cannot harm anyone or anything – she's just another meteorologist who never manages to foretell the actual weather. I was truly surprised to hear that she applied for the job. I guess she was bored to death during the summer holiday…"
"Yeah… having no one to predict their deaths to..." Harry added. "Anyone could be better a seer than her."
"Even me?" Neville asked sheepishly. "Um, when are you starting at Puddlemere United, by the way?"
"Next summer. I have lots to do before starting a career as a professional Quidditch player."
"Lots of things, huh?"
"Yeah… first of all: my family."
Neville nodded with a wistful smile. Deep in his heart he still felt something for Ginny Weasley - correction, for Ginny Potter – but he was aware that she only could be happy with Harry. And Neville, being Neville, wished them all the happiness of the world.
"When is the youngest Potter due?" he asked.
"In about a month." Harry beamed at him. "Can you believe it, Neville? In ten days I'm going to be 19, and soon I'll be father of two!"
"Well, no one can blame you of not being fast enough…" young Longbottom remarked with a hint of sarcasm. "Your son… um, he was also conceived before the wedding, wasn't he?"
Harry's lips tucked in a smirk. "Is it so obvious?"
"Herbology might have been the only subject I was good at, but I can add up and subtract… though I wouldn't suggest you ask me anything about logarithm…" he put the snitch back into the crate that already contained the Quaffle and the two bludgers. "So, are you going to play with Oliver Wood again?"
"It seems so." Harry nodded. "Ron was a bit disappointed when I rejected Chudley Cannon's job offer, though."
"Ah, Ron." Neville nodded. "Living happily with his bossy little wife?"
"Yeah, fortunately. They are constantly arguing, but you know them… they couldn't even exist without arguing."
"Is Ron's shop running well?"
"Very much so. Half of Great Britain's wizarding population buys or has its brooms repaired at Ron's. Hermione says he is overworking, and she might be right. I was happy when she managed to talk him into going on holiday for a week… but guess what he is doing during his holiday?"
"No idea." Neville shook his head.
"Trimming the hedges at Black Manor."
"What?" Longbottom's eyes widened. "Gardening?"
"Uh-huh. Gardening, and going home every day like he had been wallowing in mud… at least Hermione can tell him over and over that 'you've got dirt on your nose, by the way, did you know?'"
"Huh?" blinked Neville, who hadn't been in their compartment on the Hogwarts Express when Hermione criticised Ron's looks for the first time. Now it seemed like ages ago… like it had happened a lifetime earlier…
Eight years had passed since Harry Potter had got to know that he was a wizard. Eight years of adventures, dangers, sorrows, laughs and loves followed… and now he was a full-fledged wizard. A wizard, whose 19 years of life had made him much wiser than other people were at 70.
After the loss of his parents, after having grown up as an orphan, after having been pursued by Lord Voldemort for eighteen years, Harry Potter's life seemed to have come to a point of… peace. Peace?
Sure, he had friends, the job of his dreams, thousands of admirers and most important of all: he had a wife and daughter to care for.
Life seemed to be perfect. Too perfect.
With a loud pop Ron apparated next to them, wearing a pair of gardener's trousers and a woven hat, holding a shovel in one hand. "Harry!" the yelled. "The baby's coming!"
"What? He isn't due until the middle of August!"
"Come and tell him!" Ron said in a sardonic tone, madly swinging the shovel.
"Hey, point that thing somewhere else, I'm going to need both my eyes to see the snitch!" Neville said.
"Sorry." Ron wiped his left hand on his trousers, turning to Harry. "Care to come or shall we stay here and chat?"
"Oh, of course, um, Neville, gotta go, bye!" Harry replied hastily and they both disapparated.
Neville heaved a sigh and returned to the changing room.
* * * * *
As Ron and Harry apparated at the hall of Black Manor (a huge and elegant Victorian building that had been in the possession of the family Black since the end of the nineteenth century), Sirius ran down the stairs to meet them – with a rather desperate expression.
"At last you've arrived! C'mon!" he grabbed the sleeve of Harry's robes and started dragging him upstairs, not stopping talking for a single second. "I though you'd got lost again, Ron was looking for you for such a long time, but thanks God, you're here, you are the father, after all, you help her with the delivery…"
"WHAT???" Harry's eyes widened. "Help – her – with – the – what?"
"The delivery, Harry, the delivery!" Sirius said.
"Why me? Why not take her to St. Mungo?"
"Because there's no time for it! Everything started so suddenly and there's really no time to take her to the hospital. We cannot make her sit on a broom now, can we? And you know that apparating is extremely dangerous for pregnant women – they can splinch the child! Portkeys aren't preferable in her condition, either."
"I know, I know, but… where's Hermione? She could help Ginny!"
"She got an urgent owl from Russia and had to go. She won't come back till tomorrow, and the baby isn't likely to wait for her to return!"
"Then… Mrs. Weasley? I… I could go to her and ask her to come, and…"
"No, she can't. Bill and Fleur's child has been taken ill and she is with her at St. Mungo, right Ron?"
"Yeah…" Ron nodded. "She sent an owl in the morning saying that something was very wrong with Yvette. Mum is at the hospital with her, she couldn't even notify Bill and Fleur, who are… ah, who the hell knows where they are now? France, maybe, or Peru?"
"That leaves Dinky." Harry said. "She's a female elf, she could…" he didn't finish the sentence when seeing both Ron and Sirius madly shaking their heads. "What happened to her, too?" he groaned.
"Left for Hogwarts two hours ago. Visiting Dobby. They're cousins, you know." Ron shrugged.
"Oh, no…" Harry sighed. "That leaves…"
"The three of us." Sirius nodded nervously. "At least Ron's an expert, aren't you, Ron?"
"Ron?" Harry raised an eyebrow.
"ME?" Ron blinked.
"Yeah, you." Sirius said. "You said you were there when Lily was born."
"That's true, but… I wasn't actually looking, you know… I was just encouraging Ginny…"
"Then do the same now, and Harry'll do the rest." Sirius concluded, opening a door and shoving Harry into the room.
"At last you deign to put in an appearance!" a furious Mrs. Potter yelled at Harry who tripped over the curb and fell facedown onto the floor.
"Um, Ginny, dear?" Harry, on all fours, said, lifting his head to meet her glance. "You all right?"
"Oh, sure, all right, never felt better!" Ginny spat, leaning to the window-frame, squeezing her eyes shut as a contraction hit her.
"Oh, my, can… can I help somehow?" Harry approached her.
"If you can speed up time and get this over with… or just magic the baby out of me…" she replied, letting him pull her into his arms and carry her over to the bed.
"Sorry, darling… even a wizard has his limits." Harry tried to smile at her, but only managed a smirk.
"Don't you grin like that, Harry Potter! You got me into this condition… for the second time!" she leaned back into the pillows. "I don't even understand why I let you do it again… Ouch!"
"Heavens, aren't the pains coming a bit too frequently, sweetheart?" Harry frowned.
"A bit too frequently, huh? They come in every minute now! Your son seems to be a bit impatient."
"He's your son, too." Harry smiled.
"Like I wouldn't remember…" she gritted her teeth in pain.
"Ron! Sirius!" Harry hopped up and ran to the door. "What the hell are you doing out there, when human lives are at stake in here?"
"Human lives?" Ron blanched. "You don't want to tell that Ginny's in peril again?"
"Not her – me! She is close to killing me!" Harry shouted with such a terror on his face that Sirius had to laugh.
"You are laughing at me???" Harry gaped.
"No, not really…" Sirius tried to hide his smile.
"Good. Then get hot water, and towels, and… what the heck is used in the delivery wards?" the young father-to-be was about to freak out.
"Dunno. Never been a midwife." Ron said.
"Then go and clean yourself, 'cause I won't let you near my wife in this big heap of dirt!" Harry yelled and slammed the door shut at his friend and godfather's face.
"A bit nervous, isn't he?" Ron grimaced. "I don't even want to imagine how he would have behaved, had he been there when Lily was born. I think he'd have driven Madame Pomfrey crazy."
"Uh, yeah, could be." Black nodded. "I guess I'll get that water before he puts a curse on me…"
"Okay, and I'll…" Ron began, but couldn't finish when they heard a child cry. "Lily's awake! I'll go and get her, you just go and… oh, bloody hell… do whatever you want!" and he ran off towards Lily Potter's room.
"It's okay, Ginny… it's okay…" Harry cast a cooling charm on his profusely sweating wife.
"No, it's NOT okay!" she moaned. "Rub… rub my back, Harry, it'll help."
He started massaging her with such fervour that he also started sweating. "Now I guess I also could do with a cooling charm." he grinned.
"Harry… change my night-gown, it's all soaked." she breathed, wiping her forehead. He ran to the wardrobe.
"Night-gown, night-gown… where's a bloody night-gown?" he started flinging things out of the wardrobe. "Panties, socks, a bra, a… I don't know what this is, a shirt, oh, here it is!" he hurried back to his wife and helped her out of her clothes, then helped her into the dry night-dress. "Whew, giving birth is more tiring than I thought!" he wheezed, dropping himself down on a chair.
"Water! I need water! I'm dying of thirst!" Ginny yelled.
Harry jumped up, ran into the adjacent bathroom, then hurried back to her with a glass of water.
"Huh… Lily's calmed down at last." Ron entered. "I fed her and lulled her into sleep, now she won't…" he couldn't finish the sentence, because the little girl started crying again. "Oh, no! What's the matter with her again?"
"Maybe…" Ginny gasped for breath, "… you forgot to change her diaper. Go and do it!"
Ron made a wry face and left.
"The cooling charms aren't enough, Harry." she said after a couple of minutes. "I need a wet pack on my forehead!"
"Aye, aye, captain!" Harry dragged himself to his feet and left for the bathroom again.
When he returned with the wet towel, he saw Ginny's face contort in pain.
"Oh, Harry, I guess…" she breathed, "…oh-oh… he's most definitely coming…"
"What?" Harry jumped to her, having no idea what to do. There was blood everywhere… He barely heard the door creak and Ron come in. "Just in time, Ron… I guess I'll faint." he said and blacked out.
"HARRY!" Ginny screamed and tried to sit up, but simply couldn't.
"Don't care for him, he's all right!" Ron hurried up to her. "Oh, my gosh! Very close, aren't we?"
"Seems so… help, Ron!" his sister whimpered.
"But I have no idea how…" he began, only to be silenced by Ginny clamping her hand on his mouth.
"Just do it!" she growled.
"Oooooooh… what happened?" Harry sat up slowly, rubbing his head.
"Nothing yet, but it will, soon." Ron commented, seeing that his friend was close to fainting again. "Oh, come on, Harry, be a man!"
"I'll try. Oh, sod off, Abu!" Harry yelled at the monkey who happened to jump through the open window.
Abu gave him an infuriated series of squeals and disappeared the way he had come.
"Blimey, I've hurt his feelings." Harry pouted.
"For heaven's sake, man!" Ron howled, "Care for Ginny now!"
"Oh." Harry nodded and stumbled to Ginny. "What do I do?"
"Hold her hand." Ron grunted. "That's all you can do, as it seems."
"All right." Harry reached out for his wife's right hand. "Just squeeze it, if you want to."
She did. Harry thought at least two of his fingers had broken. "Sorry."
"Never mind… just squeeze." he said.
"And push." Ron added.
She did both.
Sirius was about to enter the room with a basin full of steaming water when he heard a baby's cry. It wasn't Lily this time.
"Where have you been with that water?" Ron demanded, while pointing his wand to the umbilical cord, cutting it with a severing charm.
"Got to heat it…" Sirius mumbled. "How are you?"
"Well… apart from having a couple of broken fingers…" Harry massaged his hand.
"Not you! Ginny!" his godfather said.
"Fine, thanks." she smiled, watching as Ron washed the baby in the basin Sirius had brought. "It wasn't that terrible after all… it would have gone much easier if you had helped me quicker, guys." Harry and Ron exchanged sour looks.
As Ron handed the baby to his mother, Fred and George Weasley burst through the door, heavily panting. "GINNY!" they cried.
"Hello, boys." the young mother greeted them with a radiant smile.
"Just got to know… met Neville… told us that the baby was comin'…" George gabbled.
"And he has arrived, as I see." Fred commented, ogling the small bundle in the crook of Ginny's arm. "Awwwww… how cute… you know what, little one? When mommy and daddy won't have time, uncles Fred and George will take care of you…"
"…and train you to become the greatest Magical Mischief Maker Hogwarts has ever seen!" George added.
"Don't you dare…" Ginny knitted her eyebrows. "My son won't be running around the corridors alone at the dead of night, making mischief!"
"'Course he won't go alone… he'll go with your daughter!" George grinned.
"Do you hear that, Harry? They are already planning to corrupt our children!"
"I don't really mind." Harry replied. He still remembered Lupin's words at the end of third year: 'James would have been highly disappointed if his son had never found any of the secret passages out of the castle.' Somehow Harry felt the same: he felt he'd be disappointed if his son wouldn't be as big a troublemaker as he and Ron had been. "I really don't mind."
"And what's the name of this handsome young wizard?" Fred asked.
Harry looked down at his newborn son. He had agreed with Ginny that he would name the baby – since Ginny had named Lily. Though he was a bit premature, the baby looked totally healthy and had a strong voice. *I guess, we'll have to give up sleeping for a while… with this volume of voice he surely won't let us have a minute of peace… just like a little roaring lion cub… His star sign is also Leo…* his glance met that of Fred and a big smile spread on his face. "It's Daniel. Daniel Leonard Potter."
A/N2: yes, I named the baby after Dannie Radcliffe! I hope you liked chapter one – the next instalment is coming soon. And now: review, please!